When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now? — Max Lucado
The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been. — Albert Einstein
It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Almost a week ago, I posted this picture to my social networking profile.
It’s caption read: “Post-work commute anyone?”
Barely more than a week before I took this photo, I relocated to Colorado to work at a mountain resort for the winter – not something I would’ve guessed was in the cards just a few months ago. But why not?
After riding the GDMBR and then taking part in the Mototaxi Junket, this move seems tame by comparison. But I still consider it to be an adventure. This was the first time I had moved to a different state, and to a place where I knew no one. Why not? That’s the spirit of adventure.
One of the people who commented on the photo said they loved that I was out there “looking for adventure while looking for [my]self … “
Yes, I am looking for adventure … that has become something of my modus operandi. However, this adventuring has nothing to do with “finding myself.” That was something I got out of my system some time ago.
See, finding yourself implies that you’re searching for something within yourself. Searching feels like an eliminatory process … a limiting process. And the word itself — “search” — has such a passivity to it, a desperation — like a failed attempt.
If the search was successful, people would speak in the past tense and say “found” or “discovered.” To search is just to continue the failure. This is why I’m not searching, but creating …
For me, adventuring has become the means by which I create myself. Intentionally doing something I’m not comfortable with is how I ensure I’m taking an an active role in my own personal development – thereby creating myself (and — I’d like to think — a pretty interesting life at the same time).
So … my recommendation: forget looking, searching, discovering (etc.) yourself. Just envision what you want to be and start creating yourself. You are an artist and your life has the potential to be your greatest work of art.
So yes, this winter is my current adventure … but instead of it being a way to find myself, it is instead the way in which I am creating myself.
“Live your life to the fullest.”
How can such a simple, idealistic statement be so wrong?
We are being commanded to “live.” It seems as if we are being told which option is the most favorable… like a friend is signing to us — while the teacher is turned away — the correct answer on our multiple choice test.
We haven’t yet realized that this isn’t a multiple choice test though. There is no choice; “live” is the only option we have (suicide aside). Why emphasize something we have no choice over? I would argue this emphasis creates the illusion of choice… “Well, I could live, or I could…” Nothing! There are no other choices!
On top of this, “live” is a verb — we are the subject performing that verb. Life is the subject that verb is acting upon — but life is a condition of living. So, we’re suppose to perform a verb on a condition of the verb itself — we’re supposed to live our activities of living? Wait… what? There has to be a logical fallacy in there somewhere, right?
Now that my head’s spinning, let’s move on…
What about “fullest,” this valuation of life? How exactly do you valuate life? Money? Material possessions? The quantity of experiences? The impact had on other lives? Would a field mouse valuate it’s life at less than yours?
My point is this: We are more than just alive. We are — quite literally — the embodiment of life.
So what do we actually mean when we say “life your life to the fullest”? My interpretation: strive to meet your potential.
Find your calling, your passion that burns you from the inside. Living is realizing your potential. Living is creating. Contribute something that no one else can.
Whether you know it or not… whether you want to or not… you are creating something — you are creating your narrative, you are contributing your verse. So make sure it’s a verse you are actively writing.