Pensée: a thought or reflection put into literary form; an aphorism.
I seem to have a lot of these types of thoughts lately.
I am a 36-year-old woman living alone with no children, not even a pet, to care for. I love adventure running, backpacking, biking, healthy food and craft beer. There are many reasons for my current lifestyle, but that is a story for another time.
I’m often that girl who people judge on multiple levels without knowing why I’ve made the choices I have. Some aspects of my life haven’t even been due to choices, but more of an acceptance of circumstances beyond my control, and making the best of them.
People say things like, “Wow! That must be nice to have no responsibilities!” insinuating that I am selfish. Some make statements that reflect jealousy, like, “I wish I could have time for that…” or, “I remember those days!” Then there are those who just stare blankly, and then ask, “Why?” To which I typically reply, “Why not?”
It was when someone told me they remembered when they used to live like there was no tomorrow, just like I was doing, that I started thinking.
I first categorized their comment as somewhere between them thinking I was selfish and them just being jealous but, ultimately, I felt like it was a compliment.
Isn’t that something we say to motivate and push ourselves to reach for the stars and strive for our goals?
“Live like you’ll die tomorrow!” encourages us to take chances and try things we might not otherwise try, right? We hear it in movies, we read it in books, and we see those memes on Facebook with people leaping off cliffs into unknown waters below. Isn’t that what we all want?
Then I started thinking about the repercussions of that mentality of leaping off ledges into the unknown. I have known a few of these types of people, and read about many. They take risks. Sometimes they have amazing stories to tell from their adventures. Sometimes they get injured and have extensive rehabilitation, or are never able to walk again. Sometimes health isn’t even a factor in their lives and they spend hours indulging in calories with the mindset of “I’ll die anyways.”
I’ve seen people with this mindset gamble and lose their lives, or their freedom.
I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to die tomorrow, or anytime soon, for that matter. I want to explore, experience, taste, feel—I want to live!
I want to help ensure other people, for generations after me, will also be able to experience this incredible planet we have the honor of inhabiting.
If I truly thought I was going to die tomorrow, I probably wouldn’t smile so much at strangers. I wouldn’t care what I ate today, because it obviously wouldn’t matter how I felt tomorrow. I wouldn’t read the news or vote. I certainly wouldn’t exercise, and I might not even shower today.
What if we started thinking like we would live forever? Isn’t this be the mindset that makes more sense to embrace?
If we lived forever, wouldn’t we want to take better care of ourselves physically and mentally? Wouldn’t we want to feed our bodies with nourishing sustenance that will help us have the energy and health to enjoy this amazing long life? Wouldn’t we want to explore this stunning world we live in and see all that it has to offer? Would we choose the job that pays the most, or the job that pays the bills and makes us happy? Would we pause more, love more, appreciate more?
If we knew we would live forever, I think we would make more of an effort to save this earth and appreciate all that inhabit it—regardless of species, race, gender, or creed.
I realize that this is how I have subconsciously focused my lifestyle for some time now. I choose to live like there is always going to be a tomorrow. I research my options in life, and always try to follow the path that will be the best for myself, as well as those I care about. And as for those I care about, they are not just friends and family. I care for the creatures that balance this earth, the vegetation that gives us our air, the water that replenishes us all, and the soil that it all starts from.
My pensée is a daily occurrence, and changes as the world turns to show me different perspectives. Though my direction and focus may change, I’m always trying to align with the mantra of “Live like there is always a tomorrow.”
I make the best choices possible at the time they are presented, and not take foolish risks that may hurt me or those I love. I nourish my body so I can push its limits, allowing me to explore and experience all this world has to offer me. I feed my mind with valuable knowledge and grow emotionally with each new challenge.
I encourage the people I care about. I am honest with not only those around me but, most importantly, myself. I step outside of my comfort zone to try new things, and to stand up for what I believe in even when I think there will be resistance.
Sometimes the most challenging traverse is discovering what options this world has to offer, and what the best course is for us regardless of what we think others will say about our choices.
My voyage is a one day at a time affair—always knowing…hoping there will be a tomorrow, and striving to make it the best tomorrow imaginable.
Author: Sierra Eberly
Image: Movie screengrab
Editors: Khara-Jade Warren; Katarina Tavčar