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You will not be here forever

May 23, 2011 | Advice, Travel | 30 Comments
Life is too short

Life is too short.

It’s a phrase I hear from those around me all the time.

Life’s too short to spend in meetings.

It’s too short to drink bad coffee.

Too short to stand in line, too short to spend in traffic, too short to fold your underwear.

Yeah, it is too short for that stuff.  But it’s also way too short for a whole bunch of things that actually matter.

Life is too short to spend it doing a job you hate.

Life is too short to save for 40 years, hoping you’ll still be around to do something fun at the end of it.

Life is too short to put off your dreams until tomorrow.

Tomorrow might never come.

 

If life is so fucking short, people, why the hell don’t you act like it?

 

Stop saying life is too short and then carrying on doing the same mindless shit anyway.

That’s just stupid.

If you truly believe that life is too short, start making the most of the time you have left.

Not tomorrow.

Not next week.

Right.  Now.

You just don’t know when your number will be up.

If that dull ache in your stomach turned out to be cancer instead of indigestion, what would you do differently?

If you were hit by a train today, would you die knowing that you’d lived a wonderful life?

If you fell down the stairs and broke your neck on the way to breakfast tomorrow, how many people would be at your funeral?

Are you satisfied with your life as it stands right now?

 

Have you stood at the top of the Eiffel tower – or Machu Picchu – or Mount Everest?

Danced naked in the rain?

Enjoyed the kindness of a stranger, and paid that kindness back yourself?

Given something meaningful back to your local community?

Or another community half way around the planet?

Have you loved someone so much that you thought your heart would explode?

Or had your heart broken and gone back to try again anyway?

Have you told your family just how important they are in your life?

 

Have you done whatever the hell it is that matters to you?

Sure, you might live til you’re 100, achieving everything you ever hope to and dying peacefully in your sleep with your family gathered around your hospital bed.

But you might not.  And you just don’t know.

People I know have lost parents, friends, colleagues in recent months.  Taken suddenly in many cases, and far too soon every time.  Those people had dreams, hopes and aspirations for what the rest of their life looked like.

Until fate got in the way.

The same thing could happen to me, and that’s why I live my life the way I do.

The same thing could happen to you, long before you’ve done what you’ve always wanted to.

 

Please don’t let it.

 

I’m certain of very little in this world, but I do know one thing.

 

You will not be here forever.

 



The Friday Photo #57 – I suppose those gardens are ok
The Friday Photo #58 – It's the end of the world

30 Comments

  1. Reply

    It wasn't that many years ago that I was on the buy-a-house, retire-with-lots-of-money-after-working-24x7-for-years train. Then stuff happens and it all changes!

    What's with people wanting to dance naked in the rain? I don't want to be cold. :P

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 23, 2011

      You and me both, my friend. You and me both.

      And there's an easy answer to the rain thing. Just do it in SE Asia! You won't be cold dancing naked in the rain there... ;-)

  2. Reply

    Katja

    May 23, 2011

    I've danced semi-naked in the rain in London, but I was pretty drunk at the time. ;)

    Great post. This is the second post today I've read about living here and now. Given that I'm just about to set off on a cross-Europe cycle trip it's all making a lot of sense to me at the moment. There's plenty to be said for seeing your responsibilities through (which is why I'm not just upping and leaving tomorrow - that and the fact that I'm totally unfit and don't have any panniers at the moment :P), but I hope I wouldn't ever let myself get stuck in a lifelong rut. I'll never be rich, but hopefully I'll get some great experiences out of life!

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 24, 2011

      I find that all the best naked rain dancing is done while drunk to be honest. ;-)

      Thanks for your comments - and your cycle trip sounds fantastic! Responsibilities matter, but so does everything else in life - it's all about getting the balancing act right I guess. Too many people seem to focus on the responsibilities forever and forget about the everything else. :(

  3. Reply

    Linda

    May 23, 2011

    Nice reminder! At 64 now I can vouch for that! a) Things don't always turn out the way you plan. b) The person you hoped to spend that "rest of your life" with may not be around, for one reason or another. c) The savings aren't nearly as much as you thought they would be so that RWT ain't gona happen anyway! d) Despite my own denial of this, there are some things you just won't be able to do when you are older. Most definitely seize the day!

    Remember, though: different strokes for different folks.

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 24, 2011

      That's a great insight, Linda - thanks so much for commenting!

      And totally agree about different strokes for different folks. There's no right answer here - but there can be plenty of wrong answers if people let life pass them by, in my opinion. As long as you're completely fulfilled by what you're doing and have done, you're on the right track I reckon...

  4. Reply

    Skott - Get Up & Globe

    May 24, 2011

    A great post, and so true....most of the people that read posts like this, will say "I wish..." and then go on to whatever they were doing which was not making them happy. But even if you inspire 1% to make even the tiniest change, you have done something very right in creating this post - well done.

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 24, 2011

      Thanks Skott, appreciate that! I don't expect that everyone - or even the majority of people - that read these kinds of posts from me will change too much in their life. I know that they resonate with a few people enough to give them a bit of a shakeup, though, and that's totally enough for me. :)

  5. Reply

    Ayngelina

    May 25, 2011

    Lots of people say it but I don't think they feel it until either they, or someone they love, faces a life threatening situation. My father died when I was 5, I grew up knowing that you are here one day and gone the next.

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 25, 2011

      Thank you so much for sharing that, Ayngelina - really appreciate it.....

  6. Reply

    Hogga

    May 25, 2011

    SWEET! Pulling out the F-bombs in this bad boy eh!?? Great post, you write like I sound... This makes my need to get back on the road even more intense... Are you dying to get back on the road too buddy?

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 25, 2011

      First F bomb in a post ever. ;-)

      And I am so dying to get back on the road. Heading to US & Canada in a week, but it ain't gonna be enough...

  7. Reply

    Anthony

    May 26, 2011

    I just found your site, you have some pretty motivating content. Being 22 with life ahead of me, it's a bit daunting to know what to do, where to go and more importantly, how to pay for it. I guess I'll be seeing ya at WDS?

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 27, 2011

      Thanks mate, appreciate it :) It's daunting at 22 ... but by god it's awesome when you get out there and do it too!

      See you at WDS for sure!

  8. Reply

    Annie

    May 28, 2011

    You are so right, I have used this as a reason for what I do for a long time and it's funny the differences in people's reactions. Some people laugh a bit and comment that talking like that is a bit morbid (funny, where are those people... I'll give you one guess...) and the others agree with a whole-hearted "hell yea!". I like those people.

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 29, 2011

      I don't think that being aware that your time on this planet is limited is morbid (although I know that many others do) - to me awareness is vital, as it's a reminder to make the most of the time that you do have. I'm with you on the 'hell yeah' people! ;-)

  9. Reply

    Dave and Deb

    May 29, 2011

    Great post. So many people love to say that phrase, but never listen to the words and what they mean. I just talked about this same sentiment today. There are so many factors in life that can make it change in an instant. Why do so many people go through it in a fog trying to follow a system that doesn't work. Very good sentiment.

  10. Reply

    Theodora

    May 31, 2011

    Really liked this piece, Dave. I think the reason life matters is that we do have limited time, so it's important to do as much as we can.

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 31, 2011

      Thanks Theodora, and you are totally right ... it's absolutely vital!

  11. Reply

    Caz Makepeace

    May 31, 2011

    Great post. We have always lived by this motto, but found ourselves slipping into the norm way of thinking over the past year or so,
    These past couple of weeks we have woken up to ourselves and made some harsh decisions called reclaiming our life.
    We have a 4 year old child and another on the way so making 'life is short" kind of decisions is actually pretty terrifying, but you just have to swallow the fear and go live as you want to live.

    • Reply

      Dave

      May 31, 2011

      Thanks Caz! I think you guys do an amazing job balancing pregnancy, parenthood, running a very successful blog and all the rest of it - it blows me away to be honest!

      Congrats on reclaiming your life - it's easy to fall into a rut when you stop travelling hey? I know you're struggled with some aspects of being back in Australia as well ... fighting off the crushing expectations of 'normality' is a very wearying task!!

      Swallow the fear, indeed...

  12. Reply

    Edger

    June 26, 2011

    At least once a week, I hear a story from the olds about the plans they had and how they never got to them. Maybe because a spouse got sick just after they retired and the husband spent 11 years caring for his wife or because the husband died before they even got to the first trip planned after retirement and the wife never figured out how to spend those years instead. You imagine that older people would be the ones to think that I should get my shit together and finally take a full time job, buy a house, get married and settle down or something. But as it turns out, those old sick people that I drag out of bed every day are the ones that absolutely support my contract work, career breaks, travel etc, and continue to tell me to "do it while I'm young." Which is my favorite part...since I'm 36! :) A weekly dose of reality helps keep me from getting sucked in to living a life that isn't right for me.

    • Reply

      Dave

      June 26, 2011

      I reckon old people have a lot more to teach us than we usually let them ... doing the job you do forces you to listen (even if sometimes you don't want to... ;) )

      And you're 36? Seriously?! You hide it well...

  13. Reply

    Veny

    May 15, 2012

    Hear hear, yes, tomorrow may never come. A year ago I decided to take a sabbatical after turning down a lucrative job offer (and after signing the contract too!). It was the best thing I did for myself and in the last week, I made decisions based on this same thought : what if tomorrow never comes, and I don't get to do all these things I want to do in life?

    So yes, life is indeed too short to not be happy, and to not do the things that give you joy and happiness! Save travels Dave. Really enjoy reading your posts! Hope to cross path in the future..perhaps when I my second home NZ, or when I am down under in Australia.

  14. Reply

    Lauren

    August 7, 2012

    There's not enough tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!!!!!!!!

  15. Reply

    Runaway Brit

    August 26, 2012

    I totally agree: take your opportunities while they are there for the taking. But, I must echo Linda's earlier comment 'different strokes for different folks', because for some people seizing the day means having a permanent roof over their head, and having a job that keeps that roof over their heads--even if that job does not always make them happy. And saving for forty years is not a bad idea if are still around at the end of those forty years, because you'll need it then more than you need it now!

    Whilst my choice is to get out there and explore, some people like to be at home and around the people they love and care about. It's easy for us travellers to tell everybody that they should be out there doing it, but for some people happiness is not about being 'out there' but being happy with what they already have. Some of the most content people I know have barely left their home countries. I don't envy them their choice, but I sometimes envy them their contentedness - because wherever I go I always find I want more...

    I think the important thing is testing your own limits and making changes to the mundane. No matter how big or small those changes might be.

    And of course, telling loved ones how important they are to you daily.

    • Reply

      Dave

      August 26, 2012

      Yup, agree with it all. This post isn't actually saying that people have to get out and explore - the point I'm making is that I hear a lot of talking about all the things that people want to do with their lives, but there's always some reason or other why now isn't the right time.

      It actually doesn't really matter to me whether your dream is to visit every country in the world, have the perfect house, have the perfect family or anything else, as long as you've taken the time to work out what your dream actually is (rather than what other people tell you it should be), and are then actively working towards it.

      It's the talking without doing that I have a hard time with.

  16. Reply

    Lisa X

    August 20, 2013

    Very inspiring words!!


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