Not too long ago, I told you that you are going to die. People die. There is nothing we can do to stop it. No matter how much science improves, no matter what magic pills we invent, and no matter what we learn about our bodies, we cannot live forever. We will always eventually die. When you stop and think about, though, would you really want to live on earth forever?
Seize the day. It’s a popular phrase. It has the power to inspire and motivate. No doubt it is a powerful mindset. But it’s not everything. Getting the most out of life doesn’t always have to mean taking the bull by the horns. Sometimes, just a knowing glance from a person you love is enough to fill you to the brim with happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
I’m all for doing everything in this life that is humanly possible, especially if those actions are ones that you really want to take. I don’t agree, however, with people that force themselves to take drastic actions just to feel better about their own lives. I love the movie The Bucket List. As a matter of fact, it’s probably one of my newer favorites. The adventure of traveling the world is obviously present in the film. But (spoiler alert here for those who haven’t seen it), the end of the story teaches us a deeper lesson. It teaches us that the people in our lives matter more than the adventures we take.
Loved ones and the time we have with them is much more important than climbing Mt. Everest. Everest is an awesome notion, and if I’m being honest, it’s something I’d love to do myself, but it’s not the driving force in my life. I don’t want to be remembered as the wild, adventure seeking, thrill man. I want to be remembered for my passionate love of people, and for inspiring others to be great. To do that, I have to be around people. I have to learn from people, and I have to share what I learn with others. Sometimes that will be on the face of a mountain, other times it will be sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch.
Seizing the day is recommended, but a plan for a future is also recommended. I’m all for jumping out of airplanes, and bungee jumping from bridges, or surfing 100-foot waves. But I also have learned that the 5 minutes I spend with Caden throwing the football is just as much fun as street racing with my buddies when I was a teenager. I want to be around for all the adventures in his life, so I can share in the joy that comes from his adventures.
There’s Only So Much “Living” One Can Do
Short of inventing new planets to live on, after a while, there are only so many adventures one can go on before we hit the end of the list. Ask people that have lived to old age if they want to keep living, and a lot of them will probably say they are ready, it is their time, and they lived their life. Sure, there are always going to be those that feel like they didn’t get the most out of life, especially the ones that didn’t make it a habit to spend quality time with the people in their lives that mattered.
When we’re young, we want to conquer the world. We’re full of spunk, attitude, and stupidity. We disregard the importance of relationships, and we put too much weight behind the relationships that aren’t nearly as positive or important. Those that have lived full lives usually proclaim that the best way to get the most out of life is to spend it with those that truly mean something to us; the people that we love, and care about. By the end, we should have no regrets, and interestingly, the thing most people regret, when they have regrets, is that they didn’t make the time to spend with those around them that mattered the most.
The People Around Us Impact Us The Most
Regardless of who it is, their attitude, or how you perceive them, the people we are around the most matter the most. When I first figured this out, my reaction was denial. “No,” I thought, “I don’t care about my boss who is a jerk and doesn’t give a crap about me.” Sure, I thought that person didn’t matter. The reality is, however, that because I was around him 12 hours a day, sometimes much more than that, his influence on my life was undeniable – even if it was a negative one.
I have since learned that it doesn’t matter who I’m around, they have an impact on my life. Knowing this provides great liberty. I am more comfortable with the idea that if I don’t want to be negatively influenced, I simply need to not be around negative influences, even if those influences are people I’m supposed to deal with even if I don’t want to. I don’t deal with that anymore.
I’m no longer afraid of what it will mean if I have to not be around someone that is a negative influence in my life. I used to worry that I was supposed to keep certain people close, and that if I didn’t, I was doing something morally or ethically wrong. I wasn’t supposed to turn my back on people that have been around for years and years. What a ridiculous notion. If the people I’m around obviously don’t have my best interests in mind, and I can’t get myself to care enough to keep their best interests in mind, then there is absolutely no reason to force a situation where we are in close contact with each other.
The True Thrill of Life Comes From Sharing
Without someone that matters and provides a positive influence to share with, life’s victories no longer seem to matter. If I surf a 100-foot wave with no one there to share in the adventure, sure it will be one hell of a thrill – especially because I haven’t even surfed a 10-foot wave since I was 13 – but it certainly wouldn’t matter as much if I couldn’t share in the glory with someone else.
Some people might argue and say that if we have to have someone around for us to be adventurous, we’re missing the point. I disagree. I think that by sharing the adventure, we increase the life of that same adventure. It lives longer through more stories being told, more connections being made.
I have started to understand that life isn’t just about the adventure, but it’s about having the adventure while others that I love and care about have the same adventure. Sharing in the excitement, the thrill, the fear, and the success of doing things together. That’s the real thrill; even if it means lying in bed watching the same movie together. Of course, I’m still for the more adventurous stuff, too, when it makes sense :).