Living the Short Life

This weekend, I attended my very first funeral. It sounds weird to you, but my relatives are either in Indonesia or Ireland.

I’m not one to cry over death. This is not to be mistaken with cold heartedness. I’m not sure why I am this way. I’m pretty sure I don’t have repressed emotions, although this is what the internet likes to tell me. There is just something about death that is so final (duh) that my mind just gives up grieving. I understand there is nothing that can be done to bring them back, and lots of things to do to set their affairs. I think this is how I handle stress in general. I focus on the to-do list before I let everything sink in and get sad at a later date.

It still makes me the stoic one in the funeral service.

I don’t want to fake tears because that is the most awful thing you can do at this time. I also don’t want to seem nonchalant and stare at people. Instead, I end up reflecting at how short life is. It’s such a cliché that no one ever pays attention to the words anymore.

It makes me think of this life rat race. As a child, you are itching to grow up and be independent. As an adult, you are trying to figure out your career path and build a nest. Then you have kids. Then it becomes a race to raise the kids so you can finally have an empty nest again and paying off debt, while simultaneously saving enough money to put your kids through college and prepare for retirement. What’s wrong with that timeline? We are so busy trying to get ahead of the game that we end up fast forwarding through life. By the time the future is here and you have room to breathe, it’s almost time for you to pass.

I wonder why no one ever takes the time to sit down and ask why they are participating in this race. Why rack debt when you will have to work harder to pay it off and get back to square one? Why work overtime when it tires you to a point that you don’t have energy to play with your kids? Why eat convenient junk foods only to pay for it in the doctor’s office? It’s a vicious cycle, don’t you think? You buy things to show others that you are successful, so you work harder and longer to pay it off. As a result, working longer hours becomes the norm that we now use it to validate our importance in this world. From then on, life is on automatic fast forward. We need fast food because we don’t have the time to hit grocery stores, let alone cook the damn thing. Then we get ill from poor diet, high stress, and little sleep so we visit the doctor’s office looking for a cure in a pill, spending more money along the way. Then you’re forced to take time off to relax. But oh no! Now you have missed two days and you are behind when you need to be ahead to pay off your beautiful Martha Stewart home.

Stop it.

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Take a breather.

If you have to work that hard to stay alive, then I commend you for being a valuable, hard-working citizen. If you have to work that hard to maintain your BMW, you need to rearrange your priorities.

Life truly is short. And it can be even shorter if you work yourself to the ground. Before you buy or do anything, force yourself to be honest about whether or not you are buying it or doing it so you can show it on Facebook. You don’t even have to follow my advice on whether or not you should buy it, but just be mindful. If you want to buy another coat just because then make it a point to inform your conscience. Once you admit it to yourself, the thought sticks in your mind. As you search for that coveted coat, you will slowly lose interest because this time you didn’t try to convince your brain that you need something. This time, your heart gets to take over.

Try this with everything you want to do or purchase.

Vacation? Do you really need that five star resort or can you be in a budget hotel and lounge beachside for free? Do you need to do all activities offered or can you cut it to the one or two that really speaks to you?

Be mindful of the short life you have on this earth. Make the most of what you have, what the world has to offer, and you will slowly learn to be appreciate the little things in life.

Sincerely, Tania