“Every man dies, but not every man lives.” These words were spoken by Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, in the movie Braveheart. You see, every one is given a measure of time to “live.” We are all given the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 12 months every year. However, it is what we choose to do with this time that makes a difference in our lives.
There are those who choose to merely exist. They live life on cruise-control. They wake up every morning, go to work or school, earn their pay check or grades then come home and go to sleep. Then they wake up and do it all over again. Every day of the week. Every week of the month. And every month of the year. Maybe they might make a pit stop to develop friendships along the way. Some of them might even pause long enough to fall in love, get married and have kids. But they merely exist. Their “life” is a perpetual routine.
And then there are those who choose to really live. A real life. Not mere existence in that knock-off called “The Rat Race.” You can tell what these people look like. They seem to have a glow about them. They may not earn or possess much, but they always have a smile about them. There’s a certain peace. Maybe even serenity. They are those who have taken stock of what’s truly important in life.
And how do you do that? How do you take stock of what’s truly important in life? Perhaps it all starts with this question: “Will this still matter to me after 25 years? Or 30 years? Or maybe even 50 years?” Will I trade the blood, sweat and tears of my loved ones and I, for something that may no longer matter at the end of the day?
Take a moment to think that through. Pause and reflect on your life today. Has “stuff” accumulated and become little more than dead weight? When you or your children sift through what’s left of your life, what will they find? What will they say of you when your time on earth has come and gone? Will you leave a legacy, or a bitter aftertaste?
One day, you and I will no longer breathe, eat, laugh, play and sleep. That all comes to an end. Maybe soon. Maybe not. Regardless, it will certainly come to an end. Because, you see, everybody dies. But not everybody lives. So this may be life’s most important lesson: To truly live.
This was actually a speech-exercise that I had to do for a class. Even so, this is one of the foundations of my life – to truly live… to have an abundant life.
Copyright © Wong Giok Leigh, 5 June 2003. All Rights Reserved.