Life Is Too Short

Life is short. Why not spend it mired in regret? Why not spend your evenings sitting side by side at the dining-room table with your spouse, trying to determine whether your downstairs neighbors’ ceiling fan is making the floor tremble?

Our existence on this planet is statistically insignificant when compared with the history of the universe. So take advantage of it! Charge your spouse six dollars and fifty cents on Venmo for “supplemental groceries.”

You get to choose the life you live. And, every minute, you have the opportunity to make a different choice. Every minute, you could say, “Today, I will eat defrosted turnip soup and think about the time I felt left out at my friend’s wedding.”

What you really want to do right now is call an office-supply store’s customer-service number. So why not do that? What’s holding you back? Who would you be if you stopped limiting yourself and really let yourself experience the hold music, interrupted every twenty-three seconds with “All representatives are currently assisting other callers”?

The next time you find yourself adding up items in your “worst-case scenario” budget, close your eyes and really feel your fingers on the laptop keyboard with its “N” partly worn off. Sense the gentle thrum of panic in your chest, and hear the patter of the drill in the street beyond. Open your eyes and subtract another thousand. Why? Because you, my friend, deserve it.

True, you could dedicate your time on earth to your relationships and the work and hobbies that give you a sense of purpose. Or you could dedicate your time to washing used ziplock bags and turning them inside out on drying racks to dry.

Someone’s got to read every single tweet written by peers who have achieved success in industries that you were never interested in, so why not you? Give yourself permission to take screenshots of other people’s life joy and text the images to acquaintances with the caption “LOL.”

There are only twenty-four hours in a day, so why not say “Fuck it” and fully embrace all the sublimity of your scarcity mind-set? Why not return seventy per cent of what you buy out of fear that you’ll never be able to retire? You do you! You walk into that retailer and request a refund outside of the return window like the transcendent being you truly are!

You are a gorgeous human with unlimited potential to eat week-old hard-boiled eggs, and the only person who’s holding you back from checking eighteen times to see if the stove is off is you.

Every moment that you’re not sitting double-parked in your Honda Civic, protecting your spot during street cleaning, is a moment wasted. Every moment that you’re bounding through autumn leaves with your rescue puppy is a moment that you could be writing a negative review of a printer you broke. Every moment that you’re meditating is a moment that you could be thinking of comebacks to the student who called your class “lower level.” This very afternoon, you could stroll down the street as you talk to your friend on the phone, listening to each of his words, or you could put yourself on mute and clean the toilet.

Your heart’s truest desire is to refuse to rejoin the family thread because you can’t handle your grandmother anymore. Of course, there’s the voice in your head telling you that you “should” forgive her for suggesting that you brush your hair more often. But forget “should”s! Focus on reading marketing e-mails instead, out of a sense of guilt! Because you have a unique and beautiful simmering rage inside you, and no one else can harbor it for you.

And, if you do enjoy your time working in public defense, or knitting, or cooking recipes from around the world, or reading out loud to your spouse, well . . . honestly, that seems like something you should examine.

And, whenever you decide that you want to live your life in all its exquisite smallness, we’ll be here for you with our arms firmly at our sides. ♦

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