Let’s face it, all of us, as human beings, are born with a terminal disease. A fate we cannot escape. It’s the fact that we have all but one life and there are no redos. We will all eventually die and It is just the question of when. At, the moment I am 22 years old and there is a very good chance that I might die today or tomorrow or 50 years from now. But I can’t escape it. Let’s just think about our life from the perspective of our own death. And let us try to grasp the idea of our own mortality.
You will die one day. And even if we somehow figure out a way to be a-mortal or immortal(Transferring our conscious). There is still the collision of our galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy in the next 4.5 billion years, death of our sun after 5 billion years and the death of the entire universe. I find that this is a humbling concept that “nothing in this universe can last forever, not even the universe itself”
These are some of the things I like to talk about in this article:
- The ultimate meaning of life
- Self-awareness and Meditation
- These are the 5 things people regret most on Their Deathbed
- The difference between who you think you are and who you actually are
- If there is no specific meaning to life, then what is there?
- My own Demons
- True happiness and what I think it is
The ultimate meaning of life
It is easy to run away from this question than to face it head-on. Asking this question to yourself can bring about a lot of anxiety and mental fatigue. But if you ask me, I think this is the wrong question to ask? Why? Because there is no ultimate meaning to life. In the grand context of things, human life is meaningless. But, wait this is not me saying that we should all be a nihilist and be done with it. The reason is, as human beings, we have responsibilities. No, not only the ones you have towards your family, child, or loved ones but also towards yourself.
Being a nihilist is having no responsibilities. But if you do decide to be a nihilist, then the ultimate sacrifice is your happiness. As happiness, like any other human trait, is just as meaningless as human life itself (Nihilistic Perspective). Personally, I don’t subscribe to this idea.
I think we have a responsibility to live a happy and fulfilled life. Hence there is no ultimate meaning to life because we create meaning in everything that we do. It’s called rationalizing our choices. Our experience is the result of the decisions we take in accordance to our environment. We have the ultimate responsibility to understand who we are on an individual level. And the first step is to realize that you are a mortal being and have only one life to live. Thinking about your own death is scary, but accepting the fact that you can never escape it can cut through a lot of bullshit in life. It can make you humble. It can help you live a life true to yourself. To be the person that you are and not someone who everybody else wants you to be.
Self-awareness and Meditation
I think, Self-awareness or understanding yourself entirely without any bullshit can lead you to be happier. I have my own demons to deal with. But in the past two and a half years, I have made it my ultimate responsibility to introspect every day. That is just a fancy way of saying that I meditate every day. I am not implying that if you meditate every day, you will be “self-aware” or “that your life will be beautiful”. Instead, what I am saying is that there is some correlation. I have found that meditation increases your focus to observe yourself. Then it’s up to you to change what you see or live with the guilt. Personally I like to choose the first option. Don’t get me wrong there are other ways of being self-aware, but I have personally found meditation to be a perfect conduit.
These are the 5 Things People regret most on Their Deathbed
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
We all have our own demons to deal with. That is why motivational speeches only work for a brief period. Most motivational speeches are generic while we are all distinct individuals. I am not saying that they are not necessary. All I am saying is that In life we all have different circumstances and situations to deal with. Hence, I will advise you to find some sort of internal motivation. Something you would do regardless of being paid or praised. An idea or a work that ensues from within. Something that you will not regret doing when you are on your death bed.
The difference between who you think you are and who you actually are
I think of Self-awareness is the ability to distinguish between who you think you are and who you actually are. I believe we have a massive flaw in our psyche. We like the idea of who we think we are, so much so that it is hard for us to accept ourselves for who we are at the present moment. This can create a blind spot that will forever push us to lead an unhappy life.
Let’s say you think of yourself as an honest person, a good human being, but your behavior or actions may be completely opposite to that. Or, you may think of yourself as very smart, but in reality, you could be as dumb as a doornail. Many things in life are relative. And that idea is very humbling as well. Because it can help you make peace with the fact that you are dumb and then find a way to change that. To Grow and be better.
If there is no specific meaning to life then what is there?
There is you. A living, feeling, conscious being. You don’t need meaning, just create one. It could be anything. Nothing is stopping you but yourself. I know we all have things to do, a job to get, money to be earned. But let’s be honest, except your parents, you owe nothing to this world, and this world owes nothing to you. The only thing you can do is to take the world you were given and somehow try to make it a better place.
Don’t wait for the perfect time. That ideal time will never come. I know this is the same type of motivational bullshit that is fed to everyone. But the bullshit has a point.
My own Demons
Personal confession: The reality is that I know writing articles like these are essential to me, and I love to do it, but often time I am too lazy to do it.
I have found that just because you love to do something doesn’t make it easy. It just makes it easy to endure it. It’s hard doing what you love and going against social norms. Right now, I should be an “engineer” doing what engineers do; instead, I do freelance design work and write articles on my own website for my own peace of mind.
True happiness and what I think it is
Personally, my ultimate meaning in life is freedom. Freedom in the sense that I want to be in a place where I can do the things I want and not worry about money and jobs. I am happy at present. As happy as I can be. And the only thing that can sustain that happiness is the fact that I am learning and growing every day. The moment I am stuck somewhere where I can’t explore and learn will be the death of me. I am happy because I understand how chaotic the world is. And trying to bring things into order which you have no control over is stupid. I like the Buddhist and stoic philosophies precisely for that reason. Things happen because they do. There is no reason behind it. You have a hard life because you do and not because it was some cosmic plan.
It has been a while since I have been phased by something terrible that has happened in my life. Not because I don’t care, but because I have learned to not take my life too seriously. Because life is hard and it doesn’t hurt to laugh at its face every once in a while.
As Nietzsche said :
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”
Shield yourself from all the chaos in the world, and at some point, the weight of all things you ignored will crush you. Trust me, you don’t want to take your last breath full of regret. You have one life, just one. So fuck it up in a way that makes you feel proud. Go after your wildest dreams and give it everything you have. And even if you fail at the end, who gives a fuck you can at least fail with dignity and pride.
If you are doing something just for the sake of money and some vague idea of success, then you are doomed to die with regret. I have found that It’s essential to Travel(not now), enjoy, and spend time with your friends and family if and whenever you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because everyone Fucks up every once in awhile as nobody is perfect. Failures will be painful but they will also help you to learn and improve. Living a life true to yourself; doing the things you love that make you happy and proud of yourself lets you sleep well at night. I will admit there will be a lot of anxiety if you are not following the social norm, but, to be honest, that only keeps you vigilant and keeps you going. If you don’t know what that thing is, that thing which gets you out of bed in the morning then keep searching. You don’t have to bend to social norms. My advise is to do the bare minimum of what the rest of the world asks of you and spend the rest of your energy chasing the life you want. And most of the time that life does not require a ton of money. It’s hard, but it’s doable. So do it, because this is the only chance you have; you will not live again as a human being.
So what is your ideal life ? and no, don’t be an idiot and say private island, yacht and money … and so on. Because you will be surprised by how little you actually need to be truly happy. Because your happiness is dependent on your personal values and principles. For me, it is a comfortable bed, a computer, a camera, a guitar, all the books I could ever read and travel. What is yours?