“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” — Confucius
Life number one
For sure I’ve felt like I’ve lived more than one life.
Life #1 began when I was born. From that moment on, I was at the mercy of my parents and those around me for protection, care, and influence. All of my decisions were made for me from where I lived, to the foods I ate, and the people I spent time with. Everything was predetermined for me.
The person I became was molded by the decisions of others. I followed the societal plan, played by the rules, and occasionally made a choice or two on my own such as the girls I liked and the sports and video games I played.
I hate to sound like I’m complaining because overall it wasn’t a bad gig. I got to sit back, relax, screw up, and not worry about too many things. I could enjoy just being a kid, so long as I followed my parent’s rules.
After graduating from college, I realized that I had achieved the life plan laid out before me. At just 21 years young, the only thing that was left was to meet a girl, settle down, and live out the rest of my life working to provide.
And so I started down that path as well, but somewhere along that journey was where I began to stray.
Life number two
That’s where life #2 started for me, though I admit its onset is a little fuzzier than life #1’s.
It began a few years after college while dating the woman I’d eventually marry. I really can’t point to one specific moment because it always felt like a string of moments that slowly morphed my thinking.
I realized quickly after college that nobody (besides maybe my boss) could tell me what to do anymore. My straight and narrow path had come to an end, and before me lay an infinite number of paths.
Life was truly my own to explore, and for some reason, I was doing a whole lot of shit I didn’t care about.
I watched as my friends accepted their lives of slaving away at work until retirement, earning raises and upgrading their lives. Continuing to accumulate more stuff, more debt, but less wealth, less freedom, and often less happiness.
If that’s what they truly wanted, then I was happy for them. But I knew that wasn’t for me. I had to stop keeping up with the Joneses.
I realized I only have one life, and that I might as well be living it on my terms how I truly wanted it to be.
I’m not saying I’m completely living that life yet. I’ve for sure got a little ways to go. I’m just saying that the life I am living is headed in that direction. I’ve stopped chasing artificial happiness in lieu of things that make me deeply happy.
It’s for that reason I’ve started saying “no” a hell of a lot more.
I’ve even lost a few friends, but it’s OK because people change and move on. Sometimes we just outgrow each other.
I don’t seek approval from others about my habits and hobbies.
I don’t get jealous or envious of new toys people get.
What I do get is extremely happy when someone talks to me about something they’re passionate about — be it a project they’ve always wanted to start or an experience they’ve wanted to have.
How many lives are you going to live?
Everyone in this world lives at least one life. Some people get to experience two if they would just get off their ass, be brutally honest with themselves, and do whatever they wanted to do.
Your vision of life doesn’t have to be like mine. In fact, it absolutely shouldn’t be like mine. It should be YOUR VISION. Your rules. Your happiness.
Is your second life out there waiting for you? Or are you already living it?