You never know what you have until its gone.In this modern contemporary society, we are flooded with images of success, money and power, but have you actually delved deeper into societys façade and what it means to be alive? As a psychologist, I have encountered numerous individuals with diverse dilemmas, each one unique in their own way, but many have one thing in common, they take life for granted.
Human beings have a curious capacity to take things for granted. The most exquisite diamond loses its lustre with familiarity. The most compatible intimate becomes boring. Miracles like the daily sunrise fail to astonish because theyre commonplace! Repetition and time dull our sense of wonder. We endow novelty with powers and attributes that it does not really possess. When a thing becomes familiar to us, the mystery we have projected onto it is lost. We see it without the overlay of our imaginings. The irony in this idiosyncrasy of human character is that we are disappointed by the very things that used to excite us.
The most profound patient that has ever crossed my path was a young girl suffering from spinocerebellar degeneration, a terrible disease where the cerebellum of the brain gradually deteriorates to the point where the victim cannot walk, speak, write, or eat. This girl was around 17 and was smoothly voyaging through year 11 when she was diagnosed with the disease. Enrolled in a top selective high school with a bright prospect ahead, the heart wrenching news brought tears to her eyes for the many sessions we had together, it pained my heart to see her journey suddenly cut short. The question she asked me why me, why do I have to die early? left me at a crossroad, paths lay before me as I tried to pick which response was the most paramount to cheer her up.
Looking deeply at her beautiful face streamed with tears, my heart shattered, I asked her Why do we have life? Why do we get to have this experience at all? We weren’t promised any deal. We aren’t owed this opportunity to create experiences. No one was under any obligation to deliver us any particular deal in this realm. And yet we are here. A wide open opportunity to wake up and do something completely different every day. Every day, every moment even, an opportunity to create something in our life. This is the same question I pose to you today. She faced a greater obstacle than us, but she stood firm and persevered, writing in her diary to remember her experiences until she could no longer hold a pen. She managed to face her cruel fate with a positive outlook, and tried her best to do whatever she could by herself.
A while back, my father passed away from cancer, it wasnt like we werent expecting it, its one of those things you know is inevitable, but you dont really believe it will ever happen. Parents are a constant part of our life, a part so constant and so close that we often take them for granted. The reality is that they can disappear so incredibly fast. People we love can be here one day and gone forever the next.
Our days on this earth are numbered, and it’s something we often forget. If there are things in your life that you want to change, or things that you want to do, don’t wait. Are you living the way you want to be remembered? I had put off simply picking up the phone and calling my dad to tell him how much I loved him, and now I’ll never have a chance to again. If I could travel back in time, I would in a heartbeat to bridge the gap between our relationships.
People desire so many things and waste their days in vain. Some yearn for gold, others for power, yet others for glory and a higher position. But when death’s moment nears and they look back at their lives they’ve lived, they realise they’ve been happy only during those moments when they’ve loved. Our lives are but a fleeting moment in time. They come and go so quickly. Live each day of your life to the fullest, as it its all going to end tomorrow. You have to live for what you have, live for now, grasp every second that you can. Appreciate and love everything there is. Cherish every breath you take, every smile you share, and every tear that falls. These are the moments that pass without a single thought.
My journey has been full of poignant experiences, but it isnt through the destination that we discover the important lessons in life, but through the highway that we travel on, the obstacles we encounter that forces us to come face to face with reality. Thats when we learn that our most imperative messages. You never know what you have until its gone. I never fully realized just how deep the meaning of that sentence really was, until I have experienced it, and it was too late.
A final quote which I would like to impart to you was by Abraham Lincoln, In the end, its not the years in your life that count. But its the life in your years.Bibliography:Jone Johnson Lewis 1995, – site I used to find the quotes.
Ichi Rittoru no Namida (one litre of tears), video recording – sparked the idea of the speech and used the basic plot.
Robert McChesney 2004, The Problem of the Media, Monthly Review Press – gave me some ideas of what the media projects onto contemporary society.