How long will I live? is a question that billions ask themselves and religions have sought to answer through the ages based upon their own philosophies and beliefs.
Religions usually offer life after death or reincarnation if you turn to their particular faith and follow those whom their followers have deified.
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist; that is all
It is also a question that poses far more subsidiary questions than answers. What is life? Have I lived previously? Is there life after death? If there is, is it available for everyone or only those who follow a particular faith?
Who decides? Is life extinguished when the body perishes or do we merely change form? The questions are endless.
You will already have some form of answer to these philosophical questions depending on your upbringing, religious faith (or lack of it), and your general background and experience.
In other words, it will depend to a great extent on your personal paradigms or reality tunnel.
People have written volumes on these topics. When we ask How long will I live? we immediately bring into play the concept of time and have to ask ourselves again what precisely is that.
Does time exist independently of the human mind or is it just a concept that we use to divide up our lives so that we can order them better?
Indeed, some scientists question whether time and distance are just different ways of describing the same thing.
If your mind is not spinning at this stage, I suspect it ought to be! What you might be asking yourself also is whether it was a useful question to ask in the first place.
Some of the greatest geniuses who have ever lived, have had what we might regard as very short lives.
Consider musicians like Franz Schubert who died of typhoid at the age of 31. In 16 years he produced over 1,000 works, including over 600 songs.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, another musical genius, died at the age of 35 years, and composed over 600 works.
Playwright and author Oscar Wilde, who wrote plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Lady Windermere’s Fan and A Woman of No Importance, died at the age of 46.
Treasure Island author, Robert Louis Stevenson, who also wrote Kidnapped and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, amongst many others, died at 44.
Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson who we describe elsewhere on this website as the most famous fighting admiral in history, was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 at the age of 47.
Robbie Burns, the Scottish National poet whose poetry and literature is loved and renowned around the world, died at the age of 37.
So what have all these enormously talented people, who died so young, have in common?
The golden thread which runs between them – to treat it as a common thread would demean their performances – is that they each lived.
Not only did they live, but they lived life to the full. They achieved more in their short lives than most achieve even if they live 100 earthly years.
I confidently suggest, therefore, that it is not the number of years you survive that matter. Most people, as Oscar Wilde wrote, just exist.
It is the number of years that you live that matters. That is to say, it is what you put into those years, not the number of years.
Ask yourself now what you are doing with yourself? Are you leading a fulfilled life? Are you doing everything you would like to
Are you taking on new challenges and seeing just how much you can achieve?
If you are a young person (by “young” I mean a teenager
or younger into your early twenties) on the very threshold of life, re-evaluate
Are you engaging in all the sports and hobbies you would like to pursue?
Do you have a particular sporting ambition, for example, that you haven’t fulfilled?
If you haven’t, now is not the time to hang around. Get training while you are young and able-bodied.
Don’t be one of those people who in years to come looks back ruefully and says, “I would like to have done that, but I never got round to it.”
If you are not quite sure how to tackle that, find someone who has been successful in that sport and model yourself upon them, get practising, get coached, do whatever it takes to get there.
Are you on the right career path? Are you following an occupation, business or profession that you feel passionate about, or are you settling for second best, or following someone else’s dream instead of your own?
If you are not doing what you really want to do, think
again. Find out what is required to pursue
your own dream and follow that dream.
Again, do what it takes. You have all the genius that you need within you to achieve success.
Don’t listen to other people or let them crush your dream just because your vision is wide and theirs happens to be narrow.
People who pooh pooh your ideas are usually sounding off about their own fears.
As you get older, to some extent your options start to
narrow a little – but not too much.
It might not be open to you to achieve some of the sporting successes that you dreamed of when you were younger but there are still amazing opportunities.
But as old doors close so new ones open, and a whole range of possibilities opens up which weren’t available when you were younger. Life is always in balance.
Most importantly, I believe, if you are stuck in an occupation you cannot stand, it is never too late to change.
You certainly can’t do it when you are dead. Don’t sit there waiting for the day when you “retire” (I apologise for using that sick word).
I repeat, it is never too late to change. If you are in your sixties or seventies, you read this and think “Oh, goodness, I have let life pass me by”, instead of feeling sorry for yourself determine that you will start living now! Enjoy yourself.
The more appropriate question, you see, is not How long will I live? but Will I live or will I exist? The choice is yours and only you can make it.
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