To my surprise it has already been a month since my uncle has passed away. I am having a difficult time processing that information, as it seemed like it was only the other week when we received the phone call. Apart of my grieving process was listening to a few songs on repeat that helped me remember the good times we had. In a dark and twisted way, I didn’t want the intense grieving process to end. Although our interactions were minimal, I gained a greater appreciation for living life to its fullest.
Growing up in the Western world, I believe that I have taken many things for granted. In the past, I have allowed myself to pursue money over partaking in activities that would’ve made me happier. It was only when I started traveling that I realized I was living my life incorrectly. With every passing trip I was able to hit the reset button and learn something new about myself, and about the world we live in. Unfortunately, such knowledge rarely passed onto anyone that I spoke with, as it is clear that we all have to experience life in our own ways. The problem is life doesn’t come with a rewind button.
Time is the most valuable currency we should value, not money. For the majority, they may just be cogs within a large machine, day after day following a routine that may or may not be productive. Many who are not content may reach a boiling point and become rebellious by branding their shortsighted actions by shouting/twitting/tattooing #YOLO (You Only Live Once), which they may partake because they may suffer from #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
So what causes this phenomenon?
We live in a system where we are constantly shoving circle pegs through a square hole. The circle of life is declared that one must go to college, get a job, start a family, buy a home, nurture a functional family (including putting their kids through college), prepare for retirement, only to be able to finally sit on the porch reflecting on the life they lived waiting for the sun to set. It appears any other approach to life is frowned upon and there is a lack of infrastructure that supports any alternative life paths. Unfortunately, for those who don’t agree with the prescribed circle of life, most are left to walk the path least travelled, while being scrutinized and tormented potentially by loved ones for not following the rest of the herd.
We have created a culture where living for today is merely a spontaneous activity that could be fulfilled within an afternoon and/or evening, only to return to the everyday grind. There are far too many books and memes declaring that life is all about enjoying the little things. Although there is some truth in that statement, more people should take greater risks to pursue a more fulfilling life. The very definition of insanity is the process of repeating the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results.
The following image captures the essence of the traditional circle mentioned above:
For those who embrace #YOLO and #FOMO, without taking a leap of faith to pursue greener pastures, they may have their priorities mixed up. One could conclude that we should join these two acronyms together to create the real intention of these actions. Instead of #YOLO, we can now call it #FOLO (Fear Of Living Once). Sure most of us could stomach small risks; however, the very motives that cause individuals to constantly say #YOLO may only be shortsighted because they may also fear that there is only one life. While #FOMO is newer than #YOLO, it has already cultivated an uncommitted, disconnected generation that has prevented friends from getting together, parties to kick ass, and relationships from developing.
We often reflect on life when faced with adversity. After losing another family member, I spent the past month reflecting on life in general and I hope that my grieving can benefit others who aren’t sure if they are living by their own rules. It may not be necessary to face adversity to make health changes.