Wednesday, July 1, 2009
80 years - that's what we have - a flash in the pan? An eternity? Let's investigate...
Einstein once explained relativity like this:"When you are courting a beautiful woman, one hour seems like one second, when you are being tortured with hot coals, one second seems like one hour." 80 years is just a random number, and what it means is all relative - some of us may not even have that many, all we know is that its a number between one and eighty. I mean, we have 80 years, that is 2.5 billion seconds. The "experts" think the Earth is around 4 billion years old. If you could travel at the speed of light, it would take 26,000 years to get to the center of the Milky Way, our galaxy. 26,000 years, and you would be travelling at 186,000 miles per second!
Our lifespan is defined by this highly relative term of 80 years. I am already almost halfway through, and it seems like a twinkle in time. Sure I have a lot of great memories, lots of great travels, lots of great experiences, lots of bad experiences, but from the halfway point, they all condense into a few moments in time. Even if your memories seem longer than this, they most probably don't feel like 40 years worth. And when we are 80, I bet they won't feel like 80 years, maybe a few months at best. Months!!!! So, if we are living, and we know we have this "relative" lifespan that may as well be a week or a month, why wouldn't we spend every day doing everything we need to do? When we are sitting at work, or watching a movie, or walking outside, we can catch ourselves wondering, what is happening? Moments are going by, am I engaged? Am I on Earth do do these tasks? Am I doing these tasks the way I was meant to be doing them? Or when I am angry with someone, or dreaming about something, or wanting something that I don't have...am I on Earth to be doing this? Are we on earth to build a house? Buy a car? Earn social security? Make a million? Are we here to judge? To hate? To fight? To get up on Monday morning? To get 2 WEEKS of vacation per year(that would be 160 weeks per life, or one half year off per life, not counting weekends and retirement!) What would I be, if I had one year? Or one week? Or one DAY?
We don't always get to choose what happens in life, but we have a lot more choice than we give ourselves. Bad things may happen, we may get angry, but life is too short to worry about any of it. Don't let something like the magic number 80 make all your rules, that is just living by the clock and calender, stuff we made up in the first place.
Everyone has their very own reason for being here. We can spend our time any way we like. We may have strict requirements, responsibilities, and rules that we created out of thin air about how we spend that time, but those are just blinders and excuses we give ourselves for not owning up to our reason for being here. Why wait? Why delay? We know it in our hearts, so why are we embarrassed, or scared, or worried. In the blink of an eye, the snap of your fingers, it will be gone, so lets get on with it. If we can learn to live and spend our "time" on that, then we may be onto something. Otherwise, we are just living the dream, and in 80 years, or tomorrow, we are going to wake up and rub the sleep out of our eyes, look around, and say to ourselves:"hmmm...that was interesting."
Travel is a great metaphor for this idea. We plan and plan and plan a trip, maybe two weeks, maybe two years, and once we get on the plane or train or bike, everything becomes dynamic, our plans are out the window, we get curve balls, we get lost. We deal with new faces, new sensations, new surroundings, new everything. We can be ourselves, or anything we want to be. We can bring our baggage along, or leave it at home, we can worry about money, about food, about doing it right, about being lucky, or we can just sit down and enjoy it. We can drop all of our preconceptions and preferences, and get our hands dirty, wake up and become alive, or we can sleep away the day in the air-con, in crisp sheets, watching CNN, eating scrambled eggs and biscuits. It is all up to us, and is always up to us, maybe with a little fate and faith thrown in depending on how you see the world. We may be on a two week vacation, or an 80 year life, but it is every moment that counts. Travel on!