This life is not a trial.
Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash
There’s something I’ve said dozens of times in my life. It’s something like this: “I will not leave this Earth without having written a book”.
It has always been evident. Something lodged deep inside me. When you know, you know. When something has always been in you, you know. When you have a goal, a dream since you were a kid, and your whole life revolves around the same passion, you know.
And yet. I never seriously started writing this book. I never started doing the work. I’ve done many other things in my life, but I’ve never worked on my biggest dream.
That brings to light a major problem.
We keep beating around the bush and putting our time and energy into incidental things while leaving aside the things we really want to do when we could very well die tomorrow. I think there are two reasons why we do this. The first: to unconsciously prepare ourselves to do those things that we know are our real goals. Except we will never be ready. The second: for fear of failure, we prefer to miss out on incidental things rather than things that give meaning to our lives.
When I took a moment to think about how I would feel if I were lying in bed tomorrow, knowing that I only had a few hours to live, two things instantly appeared in my mind: horrible regrets and a new sense of purpose.
If you know what you would regret, then you know what you should do today.
If there is a purpose in life, here it is
This life is not a trial. It’s the real thing and, until someone proves otherwise, the only one you’ll have. And the only thing we can be sure of is that we are going to die one day.
Have you ever wondered what the purpose of life is? I have. Life a very strange concept. You, a small, thinking, breathing, mobile creature, have been parachuted into an unknown world, without any game rules. You are left alone and get caught in a whirlwind by people who have been here longer than you. They give you things to do, rules to follow, and they structure your whole little blank page.
Our human activities are just things we invented to keep ourselves busy. Work is the most significant example of this. At the end of the day, we just have a bit of time to fill. And we fill it with all kinds of pretext activities when in reality we should be spending it discovering our dreams and goals and pursuing them.
So, if life has a purpose, here it is. Working on what makes sense for you. Working on what you will regret not having done when all this is over.
You still need to know what it is that you would regret not doing. Sometimes it’s not easy. For me, writing a book has always been obvious, but it’s not the only thing I would regret if I died tomorrow. As time went by and I questioned myself, I realized that I would also regret all the barriers I had put in my way. Or my excessive seriousness at times, on certain aspects of my life, which prevents me from fully enjoying it.
If you’re reading this, I guess you’re not dead yet
“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”
– John Barrymore
There’s something I can’t stand to hear: people telling me, with a note of resolution in their voice and a touch of regret in their eyes, “it’s too late”.
As long as you’re here, it’s never too late. To say it’s too late is to be lazy. It means that you don’t have the energy and courage to pursue your goal. You don’t have the will to give yourself the means to do so.
I will not leave this Earth without having written a book. So I am going to get to work. This is a commitment.
What about you? What dream has always been in you?
Seriously, do it. The easiest way is to block 30 minutes a day to work on it. More if you can. More as you progress. Don’t turn your back on the obvious. Don’t spend your life eating dark chocolate when you prefer milk chocolate. Stop lying to yourself. And get to work.
“You could be good today, but instead, you choose tomorrow” — Marcus Aurelius