Monday, October 11, 2010

Life Has an Expiration Date

Original Posting

If there is no afterlife, then there is a termination to your life. There is a point at which you will no longer exist. You will see nothing, you will feel nothing, you will know nothing. Positivity and negativity give way to absolute neutrality. All these facts about death are meaningless to dead men, because they can't know them or be moved to feeling by them. The fact of death can only affect those still alive.

The fact of death creates an opportunity cost for everything we do; because the fact that life will one day end means that we don't have infinity moments. Every moment we spend on an activity (or inactivity) is a moment that can't be spent doing anything else. The time you spend reading this blog is gone forever, there might be a million better things you could do, but you didn't do them, you did this instead. For a few moments, reading this blog was your greatest priority, because for a few moments that's where your focus was.

The only way we stay sane is by taking life one day at a time, maybe with long term goals, but mostly with our focus on the things we have in front of us. That's why we don't feel the loss when we spend thirty minutes watching an old rerun, or the loss of waiting on someone else, or the loss you feel after spending sixteen hours on the internet with nothing to show for it. Because we know that we've got another day coming, and it feels like we'll never run out of those days.

But you will.

Does this change anything? Maybe, maybe not. After all, once you're dead, you can't feel regret. You'll only regret wasting your life while you're still alive, once you're dead it can't matter to you anymore.

But everyone spends a little time wondering what the entirety of their life will look like. What kind of a man will you be, what will you spend your life doing, what will you value in life? And the potentially horrifying thing is that you have limited moments to put into defining yourself. Do you want to be a fiction writer? Are you prepared to give up the moments that you could otherwise use to become a historian? Or give up the moments needed to be a programmer? Did you know that there are people who have dedicated their life to being the best at Street Fighter 2? Really consider that: they have a life, and they have chosen to live their life for Street Fighter 2.

And why shouldn't they?

How we spend our time defines us as a person. You won't regret it at the end, because you'll be dead, it's all a question of what you want to be while you're actively defining yourself. Because there aren't infinite do-overs, and you can't be everything, you have only so many moments with which to create your character.

And you never feel this, because you take everything one day at a time. And wasting your life doesn't hurt so long as you piss it away one day at a time.

This is your life. Every moment defines you as a person. So make every moment count... or don't. Like I said, it doesn't matter, it's all the same once you're dead. It's all a question of what you want to be while you're still alive.

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