The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.
"You got a lifetime. No more. No less".
Neil Gaiman* said this.
For me it carried profoundness in its simplicity, which I intuitively felt but could not quite articulate. It wasn't until the celebration of two birthdays, a first and a forty-first, that Neil's words finally became clear - Our lifetime; this grand adventure, is "finite". It wasn't an epiphany so much as it served as a wonderful reminder. Admittedly, I sometimes assume this adventure will all last forever, and take it for granted.
As I smiled at myself for taking so long to catch on, I also reflected on what I have learned so far, and how this would serve me as I continued my adventures over the next forty years. I will tell you this comes from personal experiences, and humbly, this is what I have so far:
- People will shape your life... today, tomorrow, and tomorrow's tomorrow. You may know them intimately or only from afar, but they will teach and inspire; you will talk with them, hear about them or read their history. All of them influencing... good, bad or indifferent. Sometimes you will get it right, and sometimes not so much, but in the end every person will impact you; choose who you associate with carefully and decide if you want them influencing your life. And remember this is a two way street.
- You can do much in a lifetime, but sadly you cannot do it all. When you look at your life the question to ask yourself on a regular basis is, "Am I satisfied?" If the honest answer is "no", you must ask yourself why and fix it. It's not just about asking the question itself, but rather asking it on a regular basis... and I mean daily. Leaving this question for years or even decades will not only make it more difficult to fix, but may profoundly impact those people around you.
- You will get scared, and that is very human. When you are scared you need to recognize it, understand it, and not let it stop you. It is never as bad as you think it is, and you will get through it. Being scared is never a reason to not do it, particularly when it comes to satisfaction.
- Comfort level is deeply personal, and is not relative to anyone else but you... one person's comfort is another's risk. I have discovered some of the most wonderful aspects of life are found outside what you define as your comfort level. If it scares you a little, it's probably a candidate for the to-do list. Celebrate bravery at any level!
- Do not take it for granted! It may last a lifetime, or gone in the blink of an eye... appreciate it when you have it, and cherish the memory when it is gone. You will be richer for it!
I'm satisfied with my list so far... but again, I still have a lifetime. No more. No less.
* Neil Gaiman is married to Amanda Palmer, and if you have read any of my earlier blogs, you know I'm in love with her. No disrespect to Neil intended.