Stand and be amazed. By drawing upon the powers that inhabit my powerful mind, I am going to tell you about a pivotal event that awaits you in the future.
And this event is? You are going to die. That’s your future, I’m sorry but it’s true. No matter how much you have scrape and saved, regardless of your amassed wealth, death comes for us all. It is unbiased, oblivious and merciless. It used to absolutely terrify me.
Death is so final. I don’t believe in a God or Heaven so for me death is The End, it is the supreme absence of thought and awareness. Faced with this, I didn’t know what to do. I was frozen in fear…for thirty odd years.
I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with anxiety and this contributed to my inability to comprehend and accept death. So instead, I took control of things that were within my sphere of influence. I dove into university completely and buried myself in my work.
And there I stayed, occasionally surfacing to see if the world was still terrifying. Unfortunately, it always was so I removed myself further from the world. Eventually, I didn’t have a connection with anyone.
Once, I started getting treatment for my anxiety, I saw a light. This light grew and grew as I became more comfortable with who I am. Eventually, I realized something. Death is normal. Fear is normal. What is not normal is doing things that make us unhappy our whole lives just because society deems it appropriate.
I know so many people that absolutely hate their jobs, hate going to school. If you hated hitting yourself in the hand with a hammer, you would stop. So what makes jobs and the institutions that educate us so different? Because society says that doing these things will improve your happiness.
It doesn’t work like that. I see people every day who have degrees in a variety of fields and are experiencing crushing debt either through their unpaid student loans or the lack of employment available to them. I’ve asked why they chose that particular sphere of study and more often than not, I got the answer, “it pays well.” We value money over our own happiness.
For example, I know someone who is a property manager for a large mall in the area. It pays exceedingly well but it seems like an awful job. She is always stressed and is constantly working, having little time to herself. Her job takes up her entire life. I asked myself, when she was a little girl and the teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, was this what she had in mind?
Now, I KNOW that people have to work. I’m not some half-crazed Communist seeking to usurp this lovely capitalist regime we have. But what struck me about all of this is that I could remember a time, when I was a little kid and all I wanted to be was a writer. Through the years though, it was beaten into my head that to be SOMEONE you had to make mounds of MONEY. So that’s what took on importance to me, not being happy and pursuing a dream but instead chasing after dollar signs.
I promised myself that I would do what made me happy. I would rather be poor, doing what makes me happy than rich a miserable. I realized that prior to that revelation the large part of me that wasn’t happy was so because I was not fulfilling my dreams. I feared death because once death arrives; you don’t get another chance to live the way you truly wanted.
That’s what is really scary. Not death, not imagined anxious fears but living in way that you ignore what makes you happy, what gives you satisfaction.