February 16, 2009
Do you know the definition of “forever?” Yeah, we all kind of know it, based on the dictionary definition, but we all have our own sense of forever that overrides that. Individually, “forever” is based on how long we have been alive. How far back can you remember? Well, that’s the dawn of time.
As we get older, our concept of time changes. 10 years is an eternity to a 9-year-old. Not so much to a 40-year-old.
We humans are unique in our ability to know that we are alive and to know that we are eventually going to die. We may not be able to wrap our minds around the whole “dying” thing, but we certainly know that people have been dying throughout the history of mankind, and statistically speaking, we’re probably going to die someday too.
Those of us in the developed world today like to latch onto life expectancy estimates of 70~80 years for the purpose of psychological comfort, but the truth is that no life comes with a warranty. You might smoke and drink and live to be 120, or you might be that underformed eighth octuplet who only lives a couple of days. The truth is, life doesn’t owe you anything, and you don’t owe anything to the world.
Life is nothing more than a brief window of opportunity.
And it’s not even fair. That eighth octuplet wasn’t on a level playing field. But he still managed to touch a couple of lives.
Life is a window of opportunity. I’m an agnostic, so I’m not even accounting for the possible heavenly aspects of an afterlife; I’m just saying that while you are here, alive, with whatever time you have, you have an opportunity to influence the world in a positive way. You don’t have to be Gandhi, or Martin Luther King. You just need to leave more positive impressions than negative ones, and you’ll leave the world a better place.
And that’s a good legacy to leave behind.