~ Toasting To A Life Well-lived ~
“What is terrifying to me is not death, but the thought of facing it unfulfilled and full of regret. I recently started working in a bar which is frequented by old retired men who spend their day drinking alone in silence. Many of these are people who have spent most of their adult life working and saving for retirement, only to find themselves sitting alone, drinking beer and descending toward death in a depressing manner. I can’t help but think to myself – is that what retirement is for some people? Is that what we human-beings get after spending all our lives toiling away in some time-consuming, unfulfilling job? There is one guy in particular who comes in about 10 am every day and drinks until he falls asleep or unconscious in his chair in the corner. Sometimes right before he falls asleep, he stares solemnly into the bottom of his glass and there almost seems to be a silent recognition – a sort of unspoken acknowledgement that he missed the point of life the whole way along.
Perhaps I’m just another idealistic youth, but to me there is no thought more depressing than the one of never experiencing the wonders of life in our one ticket on the roller-coaster – the thought of missing the music because you were too busy playing life safe and following a tedious script. So many of our homes and buildings are already populated with the ghosts of the lives that were not really lived. Our culture has managed to condition us to a belief that life begins somewhere in the future – right after school, right when you get that promotion, right when you get that shiny car, right when you retire. This toxic philosophy that pervades our culture has already robbed many millions of time that can never be bought back. So, it’s important to realise this sooner rather than later so you don’t allow yourself to also be fooled by the madness. The time you have on this earth is your greatest treasure. You need not spend all your time chasing material wealth and security and retirement. By all means, do that if that’s what you truly want and it makes you happy – but if it doesn’t, then just don’t participate in the insanity that mindless mass society produces. You are a goddamn human-being – you already have the diamonds in your eyes, the gold in your heart, and the wealth in your spirit. Nothing you save up for to buy is more valuable than time. Remember: your life is now. Don’t keep perpetually postponing plans to some mythical future. Don’t allow yourself to become the person who spent their best years toiling away in a job they didn’t like just so they could earn the right to sit around in silence waiting to die. This world is a playground; the present moment is a gift. So, live your life fearless and free. Live a life you can go happily to the grave with. Live your life to the full and make sure those final drinks are toasted to a life well-lived.”
(taken from my book ‘The Thoughts From The Wild’ available here)