Can we live forever?
It’s a question humanity has been trying to answer since the beginning. Can we obtain the secret to immortality? How do we exist eternally? But what if we are missing the point all together? What if the question is not “Is there life after death?”, but rather “How do we live before we die?”.
All throughout humanity, there has been a pursuit of immortality. From the search for the Tree Of Life, or the Fountain Of Youth, to modern medical advancements prolonging life far beyond what would is natural, to technological advancements attempting to transfer consciousness to other bodies or even uploaded into a computer. It all boils down to one simple truth: We fear death.
We are running from something that is inevitable. We all die. Our bodies die. Our mind dies. Our “soul” is unknown scientifically. We fear what we don’t know, but in this case, we also fear what we know.
So we ask the question “Can we live forever?”. But what if we are asking the wrong question? What if we take fear out of the equation and simply ask “How do we live before we die?” It has been suggested throughout history that the way to living forever is through the legacy we build, the memories we leave, and the impact we make on the world, whether good or bad. If this is true, then how we live and what we do while we are alive on this earth should be priority number one. There should be nothing more important to us.
What Did I Do Yesterday?
I think maybe a good place to start is trying to assess how we are currently spending our time. An easy way to do that, on average, is to ask yourself what you did yesterday. There’s nothing you can do to change what you did yesterday. Yesterday is already written in history. Therefore it will probably be a somewhat accurate account of how you spend your time. If yesterday is a story, what does that story tell? What were the highlights? What was the main focus? What did you, the main character of said story, seem to be about?
Am I Who I Thought I Was?
Does yesterday’s story surprise you? Does it disappoint you? Does it fill you with regret? Are you the character you thought you were? Does yesterday tell the story you thought it would? Often times, we go through life thinking we are one person, and actually we are living the life of a completely different person. We become unaware of the choices we are making and the things and people we prioritize, and we become someone else entirely, but we idealize ourselves in our head and see the person that we ought to be as the person we are, when the person we are is the person we’d prefer not to be. It’s better if you realize this now. It took me entirely too long to have this realization and it has been a painful process working my way back to who I thought I was. You’re better off not following in my footsteps on this one. Take my word for it.
Am I Who I Want To Be?
Now that you see what yesterday looks like, you are better equipped to make informed decisions on what to change now to make tomorrow a more accurate representation of the story you want your life to tell. You can begin steps towards the character you know in your heart that you are meant to be. This will, by far, be the hardest part of this whole process. It isn’t for the faint of heart. There is nothing more difficult than changing who we have become to who we should be. Cutting out the unhealthy parts to make room for the healthy parts to grow. It’s painful, and every part of your being will fight against it at first. I know because I have gone through this process very recently. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, but now it’s quickly becoming the best thing.
Live Now, Live Forever.
I have to constantly make decisions, every moment of every day, that are in my best interests. I have to wake up every day making a conscious decision to want to be better, and make the rubber meet the road with that desire and action. This is what discipline looks like, I guess. Its still painful. I still want to go backwards. I still want to be selfish, self-centered, closed off to the world, hateful to people, and let my introverted flag fly (in the safety of my own home where no one can see it, of course.).
But the reality is that if I don’t start investing in who I am now, Then I won’t live very long. I mean that figuratively and literally. I found out last year that I have high blood pressure. The doctor didn’t know why, but he told me I needed to cut our salt and be more active. He told me I had to go running 4-5 times a week. I thought this was a lot, so I didn’t do it. Guys! I didn’t do it! My life LITERALLY depended on it, and I still didn’t start running. It took me almost a month before I even started taking the medication. This is NOT ok.
One day a couple months later, a series of events caused me to see how unhealthy I was living (again, figuratively and literally), and I realized I needed to be healthier and take care of this blood pressure issue. Within two weeks I got it down to a normal level, and I haven’t quit since. I also lost almost 20 pounds. I started naturally wanting to make better decisions with my diet like only drinking water when I was thirsty, or trying to eat better foods. I ate less portions. I was extremely conscious. From there, it began to spread into other areas of my life.
I started making better emotional decisions too. I decided I didn’t want to be the depressed downer everyone seemed to know me as anymore. I wanted to be fun to be around. I wanted people to want to be around me. But even more importantly, I wanted people to feel loved. I realized that no one was feeling loved by me. Even people I really love. I hated that. It really bothered me. I didn’t want to foster these character traits anymore that encouraged me to be detached, cold, and distant from the world. I made the decision to be a part of the story of humanity and the world around me, instead of my own boring, sad story of just me. I want to grow, learn, and experience. I want to go on adventures, explore other cultures, hear other stories, and love everyone.
Suddenly I realized that I was becoming healthier than I ever have been. It’s still a process, but I feel like I’m finally going in the right direction.
So why do I talk about all this? What does this have to do about living forever and legacies? Well, It was through this newfound self-awareness and desire to be better that I found the story I was looking for. I began to love and appreciate life. I also realized that I can live through the impact I have on others and the memories I leave with them. Maybe one day I’ll have kids and I’ll do this in an even more purposeful and meaningful way. But I think its always about how we love.
If we want to live forever, we need to love always. We need to give of ourselves to those in need. We have to go where other won’t go, be who others won’t be, and do what others won’t do. We live forever in the eyes of those we love. And that, my friends, is enough for me.