Many of us are lucky. Sure we might not be as lucky as the “next person”, but many of us were born in a time/family where the way that we start doesn’t necessarily have to be the way we finish. The past few months, after my travel adventures, I’ve been on this path to figure out what does “happiness” mean to me and how can I have it regardless of life circumstances or annoyances. So much so that I read a book called The Happiness Equation. The book goes over a number of secrets to having everything (having everything = want nothing + do anything). Based on the “secrets” and the equation itself I’ve realized that what I’ve been doing and how I’ve been feeling while doing it (get your mind out of the gutter) has been producing this euphoric feeling that I presume to be happiness.
I can think back to a time when this euphoric feeling was nothing more than a fleeting feeling that I would only get during certain acts (going on a streak in CoD, again get your mind out of the gutter). At the tender age of 25 I can recall sitting in my living playing Call of Duty when I received a text from my uncle saying that my grandmother had passed away. That hurt, my last grandparent and the woman I think I get my humor from was gone. She had been dealing with alzheimer’s after my graduation and I knew that during that last holiday season that that was probably the last time that I was going to see her alive. There I was sitting in my living room shedding tears while playing Call of Duty thinking, is this what life is about? At that time I had a pretty simple routine, get up in the morning and go to work, come home to make dinner, play video games. The gym would be inserted before or after work depending on the day. Outside of the occasional Taco Tuesday and the weekend turn ups I lived a pretty predictable life.
I lived a simple, not really fulfilling, life. I thought to myself, is this really it? I do the same things every day/night, work for however many years, retire, and then die. That really shook me. I was living a life waiting for things to happen or some external force to nudge me into things I might enjoy. From the standpoint of Napoleon Hill’s Outwitting the Devil, I was a drifter, a slave to my own routine and just waiting for whatever was next. I would love to say from that moment on I changed my life entirely to what it is today, but that would be a fairy tale and I don’t really believe in those. Something did stick with me though, the fact that one day I will no longer have the opportunity to do things in this lifetime that I have now. What happens when we die? I don’t know, but what I can bet is that whatever is next won’t be in this current body that I have now. When I was a kid I was confronted with the concept of death. I remember a family member that I knew of as “Auntie” wanted to have a private talk with me when I was in kindergarten and she told me to make sure I take care of the women in my family, my lionesses, she later passed away. A few years later a friend of mine, Lorenzo, was hit by car while he was riding his bike, and as a kid you kind of grasp things, but it doesn’t fully make sense to you. I can remember thinking, wait… if I die, I won’t be here to be able to play with my toys.
I’ve since grown from that younger me and have a great appreciation for death. Nothing lasts forever and that’s a good thing. If everything lasted forever then how would anything new have an opportunity to enjoy its time in the spotlight. How do I live my life? I live it knowing that one day I won’t have the opportunity to explore the world. One day I won’t be able to see the people I love. One day I won’t be able to practice my Spanish or kick it with my friends. One day when my day comes just know that I won’t have any regrets. Are you drifting? If so, I implore you to stop. Jump into that hobby you’re afraid of trying because you don’t want to look “foolish”. All the things we’re good at now we were at some point not really good, but we usually don’t remember that phase of getting good because we were kids then or somehow successfully blocked that point in time out of our memory.
Life life to the fullest, jump into the unknown, get uncomfortable, live without regrets.