“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
It is said that if I were to jump off of a bridge to my death, that the events of my life would pass rapidly before my eyes as I plummeted to the ground.
I have no intention of testing the theory, but it is an interesting and insightful exercise to imagine it happening. When I visualize coming to the end of my life, it crystallizes for me what I am recording on my life’s highlight film. What is the film revealing to me? Am I proud of what it is chronicling? It is good to occasionally force this kind of personal retrospection in order to increase the chances that my daily living is making sense and contributing to the life that I have imagined for myself and my family.
I don’t like admitting that there have been times at which I have veered so far away from the set-point of my soul that it felt as if I’d abandoned my own dreams and worthwhile goals. Had I jumped (metaphorically speaking) from a bridge at one of those times, I’m saddened to think that someone else’s life would have passed before my eyes as I fell. Being ultra busy and supplying my energy solely for the purpose of making a living and achieving someone else’s dreams ends up an unseasoned dish; filling up my life, but in the end not tasting very good!
Progressing beyond an “I will die so others might live” mentality is no easy task… it requires a daily discipline to stay grounded in my own life while being sure not to become totally self-absorbed. Historically, I have used a significant amount of personal resources in trying to impress or at least satisfy people whom I didn’t admire. If there is a better example of the misallocation of my precious resources than that, I cannot easily call it to mind.
The toughest work I am doing these days is on the inside, where progress is less evident and victories are far more personal. I have to remind myself to abandon the ingrained notion that what others think of me has any real bearing on my living an authentic life. When I am alone with myself, it is my perception of me that counts.
Am I loving? When things go wrong, do I maintain a child-like trust? Do I spread joy? Do I encourage others? Am I honest? How grateful am I for the gifts that I have been given? Do I ease the burdens of others where I can? Am I virtuous? Do I believe? Are those closest to me breathing easier because of my life?
Responding positively to these questions is tangible proof of the work I am accomplishing on the inside. When posing and pretending lose their appeal, I know that I am on the right road to living intentionally; my life becomes a privilege. When my actions and behaviors originate from the place of balance and focus, my natural ability to pursue life on my terms is invigorated.
Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying….cause you are!