If youâ€™re reading this post, youâ€™re not dead.
That means that you are the recipient of the best gift that the world has to offer – no, not the lottery, but the gift of being alive.
As I covered earlier in my post on gratitude, itâ€™s imperative that we recognize our lives for what they are – a gift.
A gift with incredible potential. A gift that weâ€™re free to use, however we wish. A gift that captures all the beauty there is to be had in the world.
But are we maximizing our giftâ€™s potential? Why do we let day after day after day pass by unceremoniously, without being thankful for what it brought us? Why do we let the days pass without capitalizing on the opportunities within us to experience true emotion, from soaring joy to gut-wrenching sorrow?
Donâ€™t Betray Your Gift
Itâ€™s hard not to feel like Iâ€™m betraying my gift when I get too caught up in thinking about â€œproductivityâ€ and â€œworkâ€ and how I need to do A, B, C, D, and every other letter of an alphabet on a given day. And if I donâ€™t write that blog post, do those calculus problems, review economics, read 50 pages in some book, and spend some time connecting with people on twitter/skype/facebook, I feel like a failure.
Thatâ€™s nonsense. Failure to get all of those things done doesnâ€™t make me a failure. No, whatâ€™s making me a failure (if I am one at all) is hinging my self-esteem on a particular day on whether I get all those things done. Itâ€™s the workaholism, not the failure to get everything done, that is a true betrayal of the gift of life.
After all – if youâ€™re going fast in order to get everything done â€œefficientlyâ€, youâ€™re not taking the time to slow down and actually enjoy doing the things youâ€™re supposed to be getting done.
To not take the time to slow down and savor every breath, every bite, and every step you take, no matter where you are or how you feel, is to betray the essence of the gift that youâ€™ve received.
Why do we all – myself included – want the minutes to go by faster so we can reach the future so quickly? What are we trying to escape? When it comes, we think the future is going to be better, so we will want it to go by faster as well. And on and on the cycle goes, with us trying to continually escape the present so we can reach a future that might not be better at all. In fact, most of the time, it feels the same as the present when it comes.
At the same time, I think weâ€™ve also placed ourselves in situations that betray the gift of life.
Working a job you hate is better than not working at all, but I think we should all strive to finding a job that we love. And if we canâ€™t find it, we should make it. Your gift is too precious to waste half of your waking hours doing things you hate.
Your gift is too precious to waste on being petty, unloving, and inflexible. When others make a mistake – even if it hurts you – take the high road and forgive them. Take the time to truly appreciate the ones you love – and let them know you appreciate and love them.
Your gift is too precious to waste on revisiting the past and speculating as to what the future might hold. The only life youâ€™re guaranteed is the one you have right now, in this moment. Each breath you take brings you one closer to your last. Remember that.
Your gift is too precious to waste on being â€˜averageâ€™. Who wants to be average? Use your gift to explore uncharted territory, to take risks, to get hurt and rise from your own ashes. Having an extraordinary life has nothing to do with your abilities and talents. It has everything to do with your desire to create a life that is fulfilling, interesting, and dynamic. If you want it badly enough, go and get it. Inspire others to do the same.
Donâ€™t betray your gift.
One day, it will be taken away from you, and all of this will be nothing but a distant memory. Remember that.