Have we got it all wrong? Is our relationship with the ideas of life and death causing us to live in pain? This is a big question which may have a very simple answer. I am sure that this will not be one of my more popular articles, but it is something that I believe is worth exploring and a discussion that is worth having with whomever wants to consider these ideas.
We have steadily grown and developed a relatively modest hedonistic society, where our relationship with living in the moment appears to be getting somewhat confused with you only live once. There are some many brands and cultural MEME’s that are encouraging us to live with no fear and that we only live once so we need to seize the day and make the most of every moment. Often implying that there are no consequences to our choices or we can address them later as we are a longtime dead. The concepts and ideas about living in the moment is something that I am always going to endorse, as to actually attend to this moment fully and whole heartedly be present in it will only enhance the quality of anyone’s life. This where I believe the ideas of you only live once and being present in the moment have become intertwined and confused. There are so so many people that I meet in the course of my work as a coach that are way too wrapped up in trying to think about, analyse or record them moment rather than be in it. Confusion seem to reign supreme and we have lost sight of how to be in the moment, getting all wrapped up in the idea of you only live once can lead us to some very poor decisions which may leave us experiencing the consequences for many many years to come.
What does this look like for soo many people and how does it affect our lives. We have seen the growth of some quite unique behaviours in our society during the last 30 years. As the social constructs of our society have changed so has the way many people choose to interact. This leaves us often struggling to form truly meaningful relationships and having meaningful experiences. The consequences are the rise in obesity, the very prolific drinking culture to name a few. The intensity by which these behaviours are pursued is often justified by the claim that you only live once and you’re a long time dead.
You only live once and you’re a longtime dead, depending on your life philosophy may be very true, but the bit is often missed is that the average person born today will typically live into their 80’s. What does this mean for those that live their lives in a hedonistic way? It means that transition between being fully healthy and dead may very well not be a swift one and that living with the consequences of such a lifestyle may mean 30 or so years of pain and disease before we finally pass from this world.
I am certainly not proposing a puritanical lifestyle but I am asking us all to engage in our own personal debate about the fact that we only live once. If this is true then let’s be present and enjoy each and every moment of it and do what we can to ensure the quality of every single moment ‘Carpe Diem’ seize the day and be ever present, but not to damage ourselves in the long term which means that we are prevented from living our lives to the full for all of our lives.
In addition to recognise that much of the fear or any of the other negative emotions we are experiencing can often drive a way of living life. This can mean that people do as much as possible to protect themselves from feeling any negative emotions, doing as much as possible to step outside of their lives trying to explore being happy as a result of what they have or what they do as opposed to who the are. Doing as much as possible to avoid looking into the emotional mirror of life.
There are consequences and much of what we do now will catch up with us in later life. A healthy life style in our 20’s and 30’s can lead to greater energy and vitality in our 40’s and 50’s. Where as conversely abusing our body can lead to considerable health problems in our old age. Not paying attention to the emotions we feel can lead to relationship breakdown and a loneliness or disconnected later in life from those most dear.
Just maybe it’s time for a new but an old way of thinking. Since we only live once it is for us to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally so it’s essential to show up, be present and explore whole heartedly every moment of everyday. This just may give you the route to the happiness you desire.