I’ve met a lot of brilliant people. Most of them are unaware that they’re brilliant, unaware that they’re special.
Most of them are victims of mediocrity, their natural shine disregarded unless it can make someone else money. So, they abandon their dreams because keeping them alive causes too much suffering, too much dissatisfaction when they look at how things are and compare them to how they want to them to be.
And they hide their uniqueness, their idiosyncrasies, because, so often, they’re punished by others for not fitting in.
This is tragic, really, and the thing that keeps this tragedy alive is that we’re taught to ignore our own mortality. We live like we’re going to be around forever – that helps us to accept a mediocre life.
It lures us into missing opportunities, both social and professional. It compels us into a kind of stagnation in which each day is practically a mirror image of the ones that came before it. We stress and grow sorrowful over things that are often totally insignificant in light of our own personal, and unassailable, extinction.
This lulls us into a kind of sleep, and each time the alarm goes off, we hit the snooze button. But the clock is ticking, even when we’re asleep. Someday, that moment, our last moment, will be This Moment, it will be here and now, and there’ll be nothing you can do to stop it, no possibility of hanging on. It’s inevitable, and a life lived out of ignorance of this inevitable fact is prone to fear, anger, sorrow, and pettiness.
Life isn’t some kind of practice or preparation for bigger and better things – THIS IS IT. We’re living it, this bigger and better thing, right now.
There’s nothing more precious than a moment lived with open ears, and open eyes. A moment fully appreciated, regardless of how ordinary it might seem, because one’s totally aware of its ephemeral nature. Even the shittiest moments of our lives are at least Living moments that offer the potential to learn, grow, and understand things a little more.
And that’s what this is all about, I think: growing. Not for any particular reason or toward any kind of end product – just growing and evolving for the sake of it. Ignorance of death stifles this process, it turns us into shallow-minded, fearful zombies, carelessly squandering the seconds and minutes and years that make up our lives.
When that time comes, your death, if you have the chance to reflect on your life, your accomplishments are going to be of little comfort. It’s the experiences, the fullness and richness of those little unsquandered, ordinary moments that will bring a smile, and the feeling that life wasn’t wasted. Mainly, it’s love.