Have you ever had the experience of looking back at your childhood, thinking about all the “major problems” you had? Do you remember being worried about stuff like will the other kids in the class make fun of me? Is the teacher going to hate me? 1st grade classroom politics? Who was popular and who was not? Do you remember the first time you fell in love? All the panic it caused you, the sheer terror, the sleepless nights staying up wondering, does she think of me the same way I think about her? Do you smile now as you think of those innocent times? How simple our lives were, how lucky we would be if only those were our problems once again. However, this is just a perspective we can only afford now, in the soft glow of nostalgic hindsight. It seems like with just enough time and perspective, almost anything can seem so sweet and cute. Now let me ask you another question. When was the last time you looked at your today’s life with the same perspective? When was the last time you looked at all your problems and smiled about how sweet and cute they are? When was the last time you viewed your problems as something enriching, something that gives depth to life, the central theme from which this beautiful story of life evolves?
That last question may seem odd to you as some of us have serious things that are going on in our lives. You may argue that what you are struggling with today is much more serious than what you ever struggled with when you were younger. If so, indulge me if you will, and imagine yourself in that proverbial state of deathbed reflection. At the end of your life, knowing that you have not much longer left to live, doesn’t everything take on a different feel? How precious does every moment of life seem from that vantage point? How sweet is every problem that life has to offer when life seems almost no more?
Life becomes very busy sometimes, and with everything going on it, is sometimes easy to forget that we are alive. I don’t mean that we think we are dead. I mean that we forget that WE ARE ALIVE!!! How often do we reflect on that fact? Everything is still possible so long as we are alive. You only get one life, everything you want to do happens now. Every dream you ever had can only take place here, on this world, in that short flash between the cradle and the grave. Today is the day for action, right here, right now, you are alive, did you know that? Celebrate that every day, live it every moment of your life, realize it right now. Close your eyes, and do not reopen them until this has saturated every fiber of your existence. Really, do it, close your eyes and do not continue reading until you have internalized this.
It seems that we live in a culture that revolves around us being passive spectators. We live vicariously through TV shows, movies, rebbes, rosh yeshivas, and sports stars. We are not used to getting up and doing for ourselves. Our adventures and romances happen on big screens as we sit on the couch with our eyes glazed over stuffing our faces with popcorn. We have spiritual experiences by watching a rebbe or rosh yeshiva doing his “avodah.” We change the world by going to a little box and pressing a lever to vote for one apathetic puppet over the other.
What are we doing with ourselves, with our one and only life? Where is the pride that any animal should have of simply living life to the fullest? An antelope in the zoo might be safe, but its true majesty and beauty can only be found in the wild where even food becomes a matter of life and death.
Get up, look around; you are alive on the most amazing planet for as far as the eye can see. You are alive, you can do whatever you please, just actually get up and do something. If you honestly tried doing something than you cannot have failed, because by just trying at the very least you succeeded at trying, you did something; and if something is just not working out and does not seem like it will, do not waste yourself on it, your time is too precious, go for something else, the options are limitless.
This is your life, you are alive, right now, and no matter how much life you might feel that you have wasted, do not waste another precious second of it anymore. The only thing we truly have in this life is time, and too many of us squander it as a billionaire wastes his pennies.
Every problem your life throws at you is just another facet of this great and strange epic called life, so face it with your head high, it will pass, and you can become a better, stronger person because of it. You can easily tell if a person has mastered this concept, if he has you will see thathe views his problems as beautiful and sweet. Start doing it today, because before you turn around its all over.
One day in the future you will view today with nostalgia, but why wait until then?
Get nostalgic about today.