A friend of mine likes to say life is not short, it’s long, because there is nothing you can do that’s longer than living. No matter what age you live up to, it will still be the longest you live; the longest you can ever know. To that I always ask what about people who die young, what about the people who we wish we could have had more time with? Life doesn’t feel long when you think about your loss. I get the logic of the idea, I get the technicality of life being long but I think there is more to it.
I’ve begun to understand that both ideas are true. Life is too short and life is long too, depending on how you approach it. “Life is too short to hold a grudge”, they say. But life is also too long to hold a grudge. Whichever way you look at it, the same truth applies; make the most out of the time you do have. You could also say “life is too short to try and please everyone”, or “life is too long to try and please everyone”. Again, it’s the same thing. The overall lesson is that you choose daily what will inform your life. What energy will you allow yourself to share with others? Who or what do you allow to own your time?
As humans we are often trying to grasp for more out of life, and time is no exception. We rarely comprehend the meaning of enough because we’re conditioned to always want more. That’s neither good nor bad if you ask me. But because we always want more, we have cemented the idea that life is too short. On the other hand when we view life as long, we lose the desperation and the need for instant gratification. We learn to live intentionally in every moment, understanding that the moment will pass because life is short but getting everything good out the moment because life is long and we want to carry all the good along the ride.
I think seeing life as both long and short teaches you to avoid staying in toxic situations and at the same time it motivates you to focus on what truly adds value to your life. Own your time, it’s precious. Not only in actions, but in your thoughts too. How much time have you spent silently doubting yourself? How much of your time have you spent hating yourself? You won’t get those minutes, hours, or years back, but you can choose to live intentionally. And if you don’t, you may have to endure the consequences of not living your best life for many years to come.