What are Life’s Inevitables? Other than death and taxes?
Maybe Love, Loss, Disappointment, etc? In other words: “Highs & Lows”. If you’re reading this, then odds are you have at least a vague, but (and?) visceral understanding or experience of these Highs & Lows. So, maybe the Inevitables could be Death, Taxes, and Highs & Lows.
When it comes to Death, this article on The Top Five Regrets of the Dying is a must read. It’s worth your 3-5min to read the entire article, but I’ll list them here:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Thinking backwards from the ending makes me want to live life ending at the finish line without any regrets. Maybe this Top 5 provides a strong starting point. Simple, but not easy. Maybe John F Kennedy was onto something when he said,
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
Is that how I should view this? A personal Moonshot mission? Maybe. Maybe, yes. Maybe the resistance – the not-easy part – guides a meaningful direction. All I know is I want to hit the finish-line regret-free.
Taxes are beyond my understanding and interest. So, let’s leave that alone.
The Highs & Lows. I think experiencing this is also inevitable. The Lows seem to leave a much stronger impression than the Highs. At least, that’s true for me. It also seems to be true for Andre Agassi:
I feel, in fact, as if I’ve been let in on a dirty little secret: winning changes nothing. Now that I’ve won a slam, I know something that very few people on earth are permitted to know. A win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn’t last as long as the bad. Not even close.
Is it possible to have the Highs without the Lows? I don’t know. Maybe we need the Lows to appreciate the Highs. Brian, from the movie “Vanilla Sky“:
Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour, and I know the sour.
Could the Lows be more meaningful and impactful than the Highs? Maybe it’s our response to the Highs & Lows that matter most. Dr. Victor Frankl:
“Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstance, to choose one’s own way.”
I hope I respond to Life’s Inevitables with determination, applying lessons learned to make the most of our time, and breathe the breaths of a regret-free peace of mind. I hope to live a life true to myself, work to live – not live to work, not hold onto bitterness or resentment, keep my closest friends closer, and choose happiness over comfort.
One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.