We all recognize the passage of time and know that we all will, eventually, die. However, most of us fail to really grasp that. The truth is, most of us go through life like we will live forever. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The truth is, we do indeed live forever – until we don’t live anymore and then it doesn’t make much difference. I was one of those people, until a life-changing event brought everything crumbling down, like the dry petals of a dead flower, changing my perspective of everything completely.
Suddenly, I realized that I will not live forever. In fact, there’s a very good chance I will not live for very long. At that point, everything in my life changed. My perspective of the world, the way I approached life itself, was completely altered. I learned so many things that I don’t think I would have ever known if not for that event.
I learned to appreciate so many things that we usually take for granted, just because I’m not sure how long I will have them. I learned to appreciate every happy moment I spend with my loved ones – to truly savour it and enjoy it completely. I learned the value of a few minutes stolen out of our busy schedules to share some laughs with friends. I learned to remember those and fall back to them on bad days, and to wait longingly for the next time, if it is to come. I learned that it is often smart to take that phone call you wanted to delay because you had too much on your plate – for someone on the other side it could be their last chance to not lose the plate. I learned how important it is to sometimes decide to be late one day to work so you can have breakfast with your family.
I have learned the value of time spent with friends and loved ones, no matter what is done at that time. It could be silly laughs or serious talks – sometimes it’s comforting silence that doesn’t even need to be filled, but there’s always something special in every one of those encounters. I have learned that my friends and loved ones are the biggest gift I have been given in this life, no matter how often or rare I see them, and these slices of time that I steal are the diamonds I will have on bad days. And I have learned that nothing, nothing in the world is worth fighting or losing a friend. There’s too little time in life for that and when the dust settles, all you’ll have to keep is regret for all the time you wasted.
I learned that I was lucky with most things I was handed in life, and that is something to be thankful for. I learned that being able to work, and to believe that you are a productive unit of society and humanity, is extremely rewarding. At the end of the day, once what little time I have is over, these little tidbits are all I will leave behind and all I will be judged upon. I learned that I had two terrible years at work, followed by over nine years of wonderful jobs. If you see me complaining about that, please call me an asshole.
I’ve also learned that there were so many times when I was indeed an asshole, but I’m not really ashamed of them. In a way, I learned out of these times how to not be one, and I have strived since then to be a better person. I have learned that it is fun to try different things, that in a way we can define our lives through the number of new things we encounter and how they change us. I learned that there is good in everyone, the truth is we just often fail to see it – or don’t bother to look for it, or are too preoccupied with preconceptions to care. Once I started looking for that, everyone I met was shining bright, and my world was a much better place for it.
I learned that, when the time comes to take a stand, there is only one right place to be. Life is made of grays, I don’t believe in black and white, but there is only one right shade of gray – and that is where one should be. I have learned that very often, that shade of gray may have nothing to do with me, but that this is completely irrelevant.
I learned that I don’t want to be angry anymore. I don’t want to be hateful or vengeful or spiteful. I realized that every time I was any of those, I hurt myself more than the other person. It burns into you and even when the dust settles, the burn marks will still be painful.
I learned much to change my life and to see it through the lens of time. Above all other things, I learned time.