“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly,” Marcus Aurelius. I sit with my thoughts and they spin so often I can’t tell what is mine and what isn’t. I think of my relationship with time and I often see how much time I’ve wasted, either waiting for the right moment, or needing someone to be with me before I moved, or feeling guilty about the things I really want in my life, or being angry that things weren’t going as I planned, and feeling like it had to go a certain way in order for it to be right. The time I spent trying to make other people adapt to me when I could have walked away or just held my ground regardless.
I understood very deeply at a young age that time passes quickly and that once it’s gone, it was gone. I was acutely aware of the moments we have that will not come back and that life was meant to be appreciated. I was also misguided in how to appreciate life. I was taught that we respect life by doing what we are told. How much we let slip through our fingers when we don’t appreciate what we are given and instead lament what we are told is the standard. I never understand why we still adhere to the basal standards of a medieval society where we still try to collaborate and coerce with those well known and those with the money still have the power. What would we have if we took away the money? Don’t misunderstand, I love money and it is a great tool—but it is a tool and should never replace our real gifts. I digress.
So, for someone like me who wrapped emotion into lost time, this unsettled me initially. The more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. When Aurelius speaks of thinking of yourself as dead, he is asking you to release yourself from time that is gone and can’t be brought back. He is asking that you let it lie where it is. You can mourn it, yes, but let it go. All we have is right now because there is no guarantee of what is in front of us. And there is no going back to what is done. We can always start over. It isn’t always pleasant to begin again, but we have that option if needed and we shouldn’t take that for granted. I’ve learned that part of reconciling the past is being grateful for it. If you are still standing today, that means you made it and there are so many who can not say the same.
Each day is a gift and we have the opportunity to make the most of it. Life may not go as you plan it, but if you learn to work with it, then it goes much smoother. Living properly means living in alignment with who we are and that is different for everyone. Adventure and purpose are different for everyone. So find what that means to you and go do it. Don’t wait, don’t lament, just embrace and go do. While the precarious and fragile nature of time and life in general may be enough for some to play it cautiously, it is also an opportunity to take every chance that comes your way. Connect with what is really important and do it. Live your life.