Two months of backpacking did not turn me crazy, but it did teach me a lot of things that I’m glad I’ve discovered early in life. I look at myself when I travel (I love traveling if the website’s name didn’t reveal enough), I look at my friends who truly enjoy what they do in life, I look at the old woman I met in Turkey, weaving carpets her whole life, and every time she finishes one, parades it around like it’s her first. So much joy.
That’s how life should be lived, in my opinions anyways.
The problems with us (the general human population) is that we live as though we’re infinite. Everything happens tomorrow, that vacation, eating healthy, going for a run, calling your mom, spending time with family and saying ‘I love you’.
We push aside the more meaningful things in life, undoubtedly the harder ones, for instant gratifications. I’m guilty of it myself. That jeans might make your butt look good, but spending that money on a ride back home to visit your parents, will mean the world to them. You never know if they die the next day. This is harsh, but it’s the truth, we’re not infinite.
Now what about these people that enjoy their lives? They take death in a simpler way, there’s less fear and more closure. Because to them, they’ve lived a life worth celebrating. They lived with their hearts.
I see so many backpackers taking risks when traveling, maneuvering the narrow slope when hiking, saying yes to traveling with strangers and some other stuff I fear my family will read. But had they found death while doing it, do you really think they would regret dying amidst beautiful landscapes doing the thing they love?
I don’t think so. Few of us have the privileges of leaving that way.
And what about the guy who spent his life in a job he hates, to make money so that he can pay for his rent in a small apartment in a congested city. On weekends, he binges on drinks because his life is unbearable sober.
When he has a heart attack at the age of 45, a few years short from retirement, can you imagine the thoughts that must go through his head?
This is what I want to tell people. Your life is not forever. I had a friend from high school who died at age 21. I’m 21. If you die tomorrow, what is the one thing you’ll regret not doing? Now, go do it.
Do what you love, you might have to fight to get it (I still fight for backpacking trips from my parents), no one said carpe diem was easy. You work for it, financially, mentally and physically. You deserve it.
Live everyday like it counts (cliché I know), but soon, you will find that death isn’t all that deathly anymore.
One day, death will merely be a due date for an assignment you’ve long completed.