Ten Things Tuesday – April 19

19 Apr

Today is my dad’s birthday. He’s very hard to buy presents for, and I had a difficult time picking out an appropriately funny card about getting older. This has inspired today’s list, which is a gathering of thoughts, quotes, and musings about aging and living life to the fullest.

1. I would rather be ashes than dust!
     I would rather that my spark should burn out
         in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
     I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
         of me in a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
     The function of man is to live, not to exist,
     I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. 
     I shall use my time.
                               – credited as Jack London’s “Credo,” debated authorship

This recently-discovered quote is an excellent reminder that we are given precious little time on Earth, and we should use every second we get. How many do I waste on meaningless things – watching TV, complaining, thinking about the things I wish I had? That seems infinitely less important when you consider all the things I could be doing. I could be painting masterpieces. I could be rafting a mountain river. I could be exploring a new place, or a long-forgotten one. I’m not doing these things, though. Instead I spend many waking hours perusing the internet, watching TV shoes that will not make me a better person, and coveting the things I want but cannot afford. That is no way to live. That is no way to use my time.

2. “The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.”   – William James

There is a difference between growing and aging. The process of aging just means you get older than you used to be. Growing implies changing for the better, evolving into something new. When you cease to grow, all you do is age. I’m a firm believer in always learning, always changing and adapting, always striving to be better. How else will you continue to evolve? If you stop this process, you become stagnant and that is when you become truly old. It’s that thirst for life and adventure that keep you young.

3. “The moment you are most in awe of all there is about life that you don’t understand, you are closer to understanding it all than at any other time.”   – Anonymous

I think this quote really sums up what I was trying to say about the last one, about never losing that sense of wonder. It’s impossible to know everything, and it seems that the more you find out, the less you know. Or the more you realize that you don’t know, if that makes sense. So many things we can’t make sense of that should be simple – that is what keeps us constantly looking for something.

4. “We are all of us failures–at least, the best of us are.”   – J.M. Barrie

A good reminder that failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Think of it as an alternative – a second chance. You didn’t succeed the first time – now is your chance to try again. Perhaps it’s even your chance to try something completely different, because your failure forces you to start down a new path.

5. “In the game of life there are no winners or losers. It does not matter if you get to the end before someone else does. All that matters is that you had a hell of a fun time getting to the end and you took a couple of good friends along for the ride.”   – Anonymous

If you can say this, you have truly lived.

6. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”   – JK Rowling

Sometimes I feel like I get so wrapped up in making plans and dreaming about the future that I don’t realize it when the future has become the present. Especially with working and graduate school, I feel like it’s been this far-off dream. Now that it’s really happening and coming up soon, I find myself not quite prepared for it. Forgetting to enjoy the moment doesn’t make it worthwhile. It is fun to dream, but not at the expense of actually having experiences.

7. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” –James Dean

There’s nothing wrong with making plans. I think that speaks highly of your ambition and your desire to achieve something. By dreaming, you say that you are looking to the future and imagining your life how you want it to be. You have hope that the future will be there for you. This is an admirable quality. In the meantime, living each day as if it’s your last will guarantee that you’ll have the best possible experience with what little time you are given. We’re not guaranteed a future; all we’re guaranteed is right now. Don’t waste it.

8. “No human, nor any living thing, survives long  under the eternal sky. The most beautiful women, the most learned men, even Mohammed, who heard Allah’s own voice, all did wither and die. All is temporary. The sky outlives everything. Even suffering.” –Bowa Johar

None of us escapes life alive. This is an obvious statement, but when you really think about it, it’s a dark reminder that you can survive anything except life. Nothing, not even suffering, lasts forever. The only thing that survives everyone and everything is the sky; it is always there, beyond anything you think you can’t handle. Go into everything knowing that you can survive anything except life itself, and that long after you are gone, the sky will still be there.

9. “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”   – Maria Robinson

We cannot change the past, no matter how much we want to. I can’t tell you how many things I’d like to go back and do differently, especially knowing what I know now. That can never happen, though. What I can do, though, is change how today will end; I can determine the path that today takes.

10. “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.”   – Anonymous

A good quote to end today’s list with. If, at the end of your life, you have many memories worth reliving, you have lived a good life.


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