October 5, 2013

How to Live Brilliantly.

We are all insignificant.

We are born, have consciousness, and then we die.

“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

~ David Eagleman

Our existence on this planet is short and often inconsequential. (Please don’t misunderstand—I believe our impact on this earth is huge, but only when we neglect to consider that something else exists besides us and this planet.) In comparison to the expansiveness and age of our universe and beyond, our lives don’t even equate to the blink of an eye.

When we gaze at the sky and reflect on how small we are (even if we don’t quite grasp how tiny), we experience moments of awareness. We wonder: what really matters?

Love matters. Joy matters. Health matters.

The minutiae and small worries of everyday life don’t really matter.

Inevitably, though, reality steps in to quickly remind us that in order to enjoy this life (at least, the version of life that Western society has created for itself), certain things, like having an income, do matter. So, no, we can’t quit our jobs to go frolic in a field of flowers and kittens.

So, what is there to do?

Simply to enjoy all parts—the good and the meh—of this fraction of a millisecond we call life. Along with that, leave the place a little nicer for the next round of beings, so that they can do the same.

Life inevitably changes and what happens in the next five minutes will not matter a year from now (unless it does, but we can’t predict or prevent that), never mind 100 years from now, or 10,000 light years from now.

None of it matters. Life is, as we’ve already discussed, way too short.

The bottom line is this: what’s the point in being miserable?

How to make the best of our little existence:

Organize an impromptu potluck.

Take a walk at midnight with our favorite playlist.

Ignore the messy house for today, grab a coffee, and go outside to appreciate the sun instead of cleaning. I’ve always chuckled at the idea that if our guests don’t like the state of our house, they’re welcome to clean it.

Pick up litter, whenever you see it: on a walk, at the mall, in our neighborhood, at a restaurant. Recycle it, if you can. It will feel good to do good, this is a promise.

Play a board game (or Lego, or color, draw, craft) with our kids. No television, no iPhone, no distractions, just be there.

Book a last-minute trip. Go somewhere you will learn something. Fly somewhere exotic, or hit up a town 30 minutes away—it doesn’t matter—just get out and go somewhere new.

Had a falling out with someone dear? Let go of why you’re angry. Who cares? Send an email with these words: “I’m sorry. I miss you. Let’s make up. Dinner?”

Take a “sick” day and read a book, front to back, in bed, with tea.

Visit Grandma.

The point is to live. Have a laugh. Be brilliant.

Do something—anything—that makes this place a little better for all of us.

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