About 3 months ago, a man I knew of, with no history of health problems, suddenly passed away in his sleep one night.
According to the postmortem autopsy, he had major unknown heart problems and would have needed a heart transplant had he survived the night. I did not know the man very well, but the biggest thing that stood out to me was his age…
That is a mere 4 years older than I am right now.
What this reminded me of is that I am not guaranteed another day or another year. I could just as well pass away unexpectedly in the night as this man did. There’s nothing in the nature of the world that ensures I will live to be a certain age.
One Tragedy After Another
This incident brought up memory of another person I knew several years ago. She was out for her evening jog one day in Jacksonville, Florida, when from out of nowhere a drunk driver lost control, jumped the curb, and slammed right into her. She was killed instantly.
She was 26.
Now listen: this could happen to any of us.
Think of it… you and I have everyday routines that we do. We drive our cars. We harness electricity. We walk in streets.
And yet, it is possible that during any of these activities, you may die. In fact, it is not totally uncommon. I’m willing to bet most of you who are reading this know someone who has died unexpectedly in the course of normal every day life, or died from some tragic health problem.
These things belie the illusion that you have more time than you do.
Let me tell you something: You do not have any more time. The only time you have is right now.
The only time I have is right now… Part of the reason why I am going to Colombia is not because I already have my passive income streams lined up. It’s not because I do have money rolling out of my pants. It’s not because I have a “muse,” as Tim Ferris says.
It’s because what I have is my life, what I have is my time.
Just yesterday I was working my way through another Pimsleur Spanish lesson, and the phrase “tiempo libre” (Free time) came up… as in, “¿Qué haces en tu tiempo libre?“, What do you do in your free time?
Think about that question… Does it not imply that your time is not inherently free, that most of your life is, rather, unfree?
YES IT DOES… Otherwise, why would people use that phrase?!?!
The idea with the phrase “what do you do in your free time” is that, by default, I mostly have unfree time, that mostly I am (or should be) slaving away somewhere doing something that other people think I should be doing.
** Now, I am aware that, for much of the world, it is unfortunately the case that they spend a lot of their time securing the necessities of life: water, food, shelter. They have to do this every day in order to live. Here, I am not talking about securing necessities for your basic health. **
I am talking about the idea that your time is not yours. That somehow, someway, someone else owns your time, and gives you “free time” at certain times. This is slavery. It is utter slavery.
And I detest it.
Because the reality is, what if you are someone else’s slave for the entire time you are alive? When you are young, you are slave to your schoolmasters. They dictate your time. When you’re a little older, you become slave to your employers. They dictate your time… but then what if you die at 32?
What if you die at 32, when you’ve saved up a nice chunk of change, you drive a nice car, you bought a pretty little house… but it’s the result of following these merciless dictators? What if you never traveled? What if you resisted going out on adventures because you were afraid it would hurt your career? What if you resisted quitting your job because you wanted to keep up with your 401k, or please your employer, or please your parents?
What a foolish thing to do… spending your days indefinitely preparing to live.
Your Time Is Now
This is why I am so adamant about getting a departure date. You are not guaranteed another year of your life. You are not guaranteed another second. Later never comes. Someday never comes. All you have is right now.
So, if you have a dream of traveling to a certain place, go. For God’s sake, go.
Your time is now.