“This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.” – Queen (Who Wants To Live Forever).
According to current scientific estimates and calculations, our world Earth has been around for a smidgen over 4.5 billion years. Life in some form or other is currently calculated to have been around for over 3.4 billion years. Our earliest ancestors appeared around 1.2 million years ago. Modern humans first appeared as a species around 200,000 years ago.
By contrast, our current life expectancy is around 80 years.
Even allowing for philosophical, spiritual and theological possibilities including re-incarnation and life-after-death, we are only us for typically 80 years and then we are no longer who we are right now. We really really do only one sweet moment when compared to the life of our planet or even our species.
Suppose that you were given a special once-in-a-lifetime gift of a trip to the most awesome, most fantastic, most amazing theme park in existence. It’s got every kind of ride you can imagine, from the slow moving gentle rides through to the scariest most exhilarating white-knuckle ride possible. It’s got all manner of shows and performers to entertain you with plays and musicals and concerts and poetry and beautiful art. Its restaurants serve every type of food you have ever heard of (and many more you haven’t) with oh such wonderful flavours and textures and aromas…
But the deal is you can only visit this park once in your entire life, you get dropped off at the entrance at the start of the day, and when you are collected to go home that’s it, you ever get to go there again. Oh, and you don’t know when you will be collected either, so you have no idea how long you have in which to enjoy the place.
So, what do you do? How do you spend your exclusive never-to-be-repeated day in the theme-park-to-end-all-theme-parks?
Do you rush around from ride to ride seeing what comes along, throwing yourself into each attraction as if it was your last one, enjoying them to the full before seeking out even more excitement from the next one?
Do you try a few here and there while you get a feel for what you like and don’t like, and then once you figure out your preferences, seek out the ones you’ll enjoy the most?
Do you hang out with other people who seem to me like you and explore the place together, sharing your experiences and tips and enjoyment?
Whichever way you approached your day there, it’s probably fairly safe to say that what you would not do is pick one ride and stay there all day (even if you didn’t particularly enjoy it), never moving to explore other ones, never seeing what more there was to enjoy.
And it’s almost a certainty that you would not spend the time not enjoying yourself and feeling envious of those who were enjoying themselves, complaining that it wasn’t fair.
And yet, all too often that is precisely what so many of us find ourselves doing with out precious, short lives – getting stuck in a rut doing something we don’t enjoy, secretly envying others who are getting far more out of life, but never doing anything about it to improve our own lives and even actively denying that it’s possible for us to be happier, perhaps telling ourselves that this is all we deserve!
Our one sweet moment on this Earth in this life is very short, no more than the blink of an eye; why would we waste it doing anything other than enjoying ourselves and getting the most out of it that we could?
Why are we not out there doing the things we enjoy, exploring and having a fantastic time in the process?
For most of us who find ourselves in that position (and it is a far more populated position than one might imagine), the sad answer is that we are afraid.
We are afraid to try something new in case it’s worse than what we have right now.
We are afraid to look for new things because we do not know how and are scared we’ll get it wrong.
We are afraid to try to find out how because we fear what others will think of us if we do try.
We are afraid to seek out better things because we fear people might not like us for doing it.
We are afraid to try to improve ourselves because, well, this is our station in life and who are we to say we deserve any better?
We are afraid to ask others how they got onto that much nicer looking ride because they might laugh at us or think us stupid.
It is fear which keeps most of us from even setting out on our journey through life, and it is fear which keeps us stuck in our small mundane rut, doing the same things we dislike over and over again, wishing for something better but being too afraid to do anything about it.
Take a moment to pause and think about your own life. Where are you in life? Think of all the good things you have got or done.
And now think of the things you would love to do, be or have but which you don’t.
Pick one of them, something enticing, fabulous, so great that if you got it you’d be over the moon. Really picture it, savour the feelings of basking in the glow of achieving it, listening to what others say to you as they congratulate you on your achievement.
And now ask yourself why you are not going for it?
What is holding you back from achieving that goal? Write them all down, all the things holding you back or stopping you from getting started.
And once you have done that, look at them and ask yourself what is behind each of those excuses?
What is the fear behind them all, the fear which is holding you back?
What is it you are, deep down, afraid of?
And how much longer are you going to let that fear rule your life and hold you back from truly enjoying your One Sweet Moment?