Imagine it's 2072. The pupils of your eyes reflect pools of gray in the mirror. Silver hair framing your face as light reflects through a nearby window. Where are you standing? What environment? What city? Location aside, what do you feel looking in that mirror? What emotion slowly sweeps over your body?
How do you feel staring back at the person in front of you? Yourself.
Are you proud of them? Are you disappointed? Do you feel a veil of relief? Or do you feel a pang of regret? Sometimes, I stare in the mirror now and fall into a train of thought. "What will my life look like 50 years from now?" ..."Will I be happy?"
Lately, I've realized just how fast time flies by. We're already over halfway through 2022. I blink as weeks soar by, constantly interjecting statements like "I can't believe it's already Friday again" or others. Truth is, I really can't and sometimes it's terrifying to feel like sand just continues to roll through the hourglass. I've been thinking a ton lately:
What is the cost of what I'm doing now?
The choices, plans, actions, connections, commitments... What is the cost of every single thing I do today?
Better yet, what is the cost of what I'm not doing? The steps, risks, shots, chances I'm not taking. What am I potentially sacrificing because I'm too busy just subscribing to the life I have to get by?
Yes, 50 years seems so far away, but it really isn't. Considering 2010 felt like just yesterday and that was already 12 years ago. Many days I think about "Shelby" in 2072. I want nothing more than her to feel like she is living a life she created for herself. One that was meaningful and significant on her own terms. A life she can look back on and say she really tried her best. Though as much as I look at myself in 2072, I also think of reality. What if I don't have 50 years? We often regard mortality in a mythical, taboo sense, but I do feel it's important to acknowledge it. None of us know the day or hour we're leaving this earth.
So how am I living today?
Lately, I've been trying to relinquish the fear and perfectionism that often holds me in a "prep pattern". "I'll do that after I finish this certification course", "I'll try that once I get some more work in", "I can't go for that opportunity until I get some more experience under my belt", but what I'm realizing is that the prep pattern is equally as bad as never trying. Because it traps us in the cycle of letting time go by... to where suddenly you do look up and realize it's 5 years since you said you would do something.
I've lost so many people I love in the last 7 years. With every loss, I reflect and find myself remembering promises I made to them. Promises I've been sitting on and thinking "Oh I have time". But time is too precious and I think living in a digital age of perpetual stimulation, we don't realize just how much of it we're losing.
So I ask myself and you... What is the price we want to pay?
Examine every aspect of your life. How is your job impacting your wellbeing? How are your relationships impacting your ability to evolve as an individual? What will be the future impact of the physical and emotional wellness choices you're making? Are you carving out time to enjoy yourself and find joy? Are you doing what feels right in your gut for you?
Because every day we make sacrificial choices in lieu of others and ourselves, is simply more time we'll never get back. Every moment we stay in a situation that is slowly destroying us, we miss out on what could be out there to transform us. Every day we say "I'll get to it tomorrow", is another day we might never have. The night before my aunt passed away I had the option to see her. And instead, I said "I'll go by tomorrow" and the next day she passed away before I got to speak to her. I think about that simple choice that changed my life forever...
I don't want to look up in 50 years, even a year from now, and still be struggling with the same battles due to my own choices. So each day, I'll continue to consider the price we pay. I hope you take the time to do the same for yourself because we all deserve to look in that mirror someday and be happy.
And we all have the power to. It simply comes down to what you're willing to invest.