Whether one wants to admit it or not, I think almost everybody is afraid of death. At least to some extent. Hell, I sure am. However, my fear of death has less to do with the actual dying part, and more to do with how much I really live before dying.
Most people can recognize the fear of death. It’s an inevitable thing that most of us don’t want to have happen anytime soon. We all do a lot to avoid death. We wear seat belts, buy cars with good safety ratings, have smoke detectors in our house, avoid dark alleys, get regular checkups at the Dr, and so on. I think there’s a much more important fear that most people don’t recognize; the fear of living.
As much as we all do to avoid death, most of us do just as much, if not more, to avoid living. Most of us want to do so many things in life, but find ways to justify not doing them. Who doesn’t want to travel to exotic countries, start a business, buy a boat, learn a foreign language, go on exciting adventures, or tell their boss where to stick it so they can quit spending the majority of their time doing something they hate and start doing something they love.
I hear people make so many excuses for not doing the things they want. “I would love to start this business, but I really can’t give up my health benefits”, “I’ve always wanted to go to X, but I really don’t have the extra money right now”, “I would love to go to that country, but I read that it isn’t safe”, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to X, but I really don’t have the time right now”. We’re all taught that “being responsible” is more important than enjoying life. These lessons are driven into us so deep from such an early age that we feel guilty for doing something we’ll enjoy. We’re all taught to think that the majority of our lives are meant for working so we can hopefully live long enough to travel and do the things we want during our last years of life. I’m sorry, but what fucking sense does that make? Seriously, what is the point?
The whole 40 hour workweek, spend the majority of your money on a mortgage payment because home ownership is so important, make payments on a car that costs more than your annual salary, and save what’s left to have money left when you’re too old to work anymore bullshit idea was fabricated and taught to people so companies would have enough workers when the industrial revolution started. Think about it, humans have only lived this way for such a tiny fraction of a percent of the time our species has been on earth. The reason this idea caught on so well is because it’s so much easier to just do what you’re told and make excuses for why your life is miserable than it is to take the risks in order to be happy and actually enjoy your life.
I’m not suggesting that you just quit your job today and spend all of your savings on a trip around the world, but I wouldn’t judge you if you did. However, if you hate your job and can’t wait for 5:00 to roll around every day, I think you should seriously consider getting the hell out of there. There’s something you want to do, something you’ve always wanted to do. It probably feels too risky and irresponsible to do, but I bet you could make it work if you just went for it. And I don’t mean half ass go for it like “I’ll try this out and see if it works” but really go for it. Make a goal of being hugely successful, write down what needs to happen for it to be that kind of success, and just fucking do it. What if it fails? So what? What if you spend the rest of our useful years on earth doing something you hate and going home miserable every day? That sounds like a pretty shitty plan to me.
So you want to travel, but don’t have any money? The fact is, if you don’t insist on a 5 star all inclusive resort everywhere you go, you can have some pretty incredible adventures on a low budget. You find it too difficult to get away for a week on vacation? Then don’t go for a week. I have a hard time getting away for more than a few days at a time because I have two young daughters. We can all go somewhere as a family during the summer when school is out, but not for the rest of the year. Besides, I like to go on solo adventures because I can do exactly what I want and only what I want. Last year, I went to Puerto Vallarta Mexico for three days by myself and spent less than $500 total on the trip. I was able to get a round trip plane ticket for just over $200, stayed at an Airbnb for $12/ night outside of town where you don’t find any tourists, rode the bus around town instead of a taxi and ate with the locals instead of with the tourists. I met some amazing people, had incredible food, and had an awesome time. I woke up when I wanted to, ate when I wanted to, went where I wanted to, and didn’t have to compromise with anyone. I sat next to a couple on the plane ride back that stayed at a resort. When I had told them about the fun I had they were jealous. They knew their resort had nothing on my real experience.
So back to my point. So many people on this planet are scared to death of actually living. So scared of living that it makes me wonder why they’re even scared of dying. I think most people forget that we have a time limit here. Just because you’re wasting years of your life doesn’t mean those years aren’t being taken off of your life. Every day your life gets shorter. Every day you have less time to do the things you really want. Every day you have less time to reach your goals. Every day you have less time to really live the life you want. Do you really just want to spend your days making excuses for why you can’t or won’t do anything amazing?