3 Lives

by Brandon

I’m feeling philosophical, so you have to endure it. Yay, you.

Most of us get three lives. It’s really like an old-school video game. The big difference is that we get to choose which life we want to focus on. Of course, it’s rarely something we choose actively. It’s usually a progression. I’ll explain.

The Life That Could Be

This is the life that consumes us for our first few decades. As kids, we’re asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We spend our childhoods exploring the options. Maybe it’s a vet. Maybe it’s an astronaut or a firefighter or a cop. Maybe it’s an artist or a teacher. Maybe it’s The President of the United States.

Okay, that last one was a joke. Who the hell wants to be President?

Anyway…

As we get older, we begin to narrow the choices, but our focus is still on that life that might be.

If we go to college, the life that could be becomes our primary focus. We call it “a major” but really, it’s just us trying to get to that future life. The life that may or may not happen.

If we don’t choose college, the life that could be is still usually our focus. We still spend our time planning for that better life.

Sometimes we achieve that goal and we live that life, but here’s the real kicker… whether we achieve our goal or not, we almost always move on to the second life…

The Life That Could Have Been

Yeah. Once we’ve gotten past the life that could be stage, we start to think about the decisions we’ve made. We think about the decisions that were made for us. We wonder what would have happened if we’d chosen the right door instead of the left door.

That’s when we start to regret.

And regret really, really sucks.

This is the time when we look around and we wonder, “Could I have done better?”

Sadly, too many people live the first two lives and they never really live the third. They transition from the life that could be to the life that could have been, and that’s where they stay.

It’s sad because the third life is really the one that matters most…

The Life That Is

Yeah, I’m sure you saw this one coming. Too often, we get consumed by our plans and when all those plans don’t come to fruition, we get consumed by “what if.”

And during all this, we simply forget to live. 

It’s really ironic. We spend the first half of our lives trying to get what we don’t have and if we finally get it, we look back at the time when we didn’t have it as the best time of our lives.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying we shouldn’t work toward the future and I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from the past. Both are very important.

But the past no longer exists and the future hasn’t happened yet. They’re literally nothing. So if our entire lives are focused on what might be and what could have been, our lives are very literally focused on nothing.

So my advice for today…

Take some time to do something awesome. By doing something awesome right now, you’re actually planning for the future and focusing on the past at the same time… because every time you do something awesome, you’re working toward a tomorrow that will allow you to say “Yesterday was awesome!”

So go.

Do something awesome.

Right now.

Stop trying to beat the game.

Just play it.

Okay, I’m done.

–Brandon


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard November 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Excellent piece…and advice. It took me 47 years to understand the difference and come to “today”. Been trying to live that life every day for the past 21 years. Works pretty good if ya let it!

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Garv November 16, 2013 at 10:03 PM

I’d like to complain. I pressed “Start” up there at the top like 100 times and nothing ever happened.

Reply

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