This is a statement that I could never fully grasp or understand – Life is short.
The statement itself is a paradox. Life. Time. Infinite. Endless. This? Too short? Yes, it’s in reference to our lives, but all one needs to do is look back several millennia and realise man lived for no more than 21 years on average.
What springs to mind when one hears it? To me, the imagery is someone – predominantly a teenager (forgive me) – who is about to embark on a foolish act or a recognised ‘wrong’. In the heat of the moment we reflect on our previous endeavours and contemplate on whether we take enough risks in life. The answer, 99% of the time, is no. “I have not taken enough risks”, “I’m too cautious” (there’s no such thing as too cautious) and “I never live life to the full” “So here I go. It’s now or never; Life is short”. We ignore the consequences which are sure to follow and ‘live in the moment’. That moment which lasts no more than a few hours, if not minutes, has a lasting effect; predominantly negative. We trod through life and focus on the negatives which leads us to fall into selfishness, selfishness which indulges us into that moment where we hear ourselves say – “Life is short”
I may be taking a rounded scope and general angle to this but, nonetheless, does it not make sense? Do we not place ourselves first? Does life only evolve around us? “Life is short so my actions account to nothing”. “Life is short so my selfish ways mean nothing”. Oh what a blind view we have of life if it only involves I and not YOU!, MINE and not YOURS; or OURS!
The other side of the argument suggests many say “Life is short so I WILL be selfless, I WILL help whom needs it and WILL give myself to others”. To those I rightly applaud; and so I should. But are we ignoring something so grand that it shouldn’t be passive? Life. Time. Infinite. Endless. To ME, short. But to the world, the world whom preceded us and whom is to come, GRAND. Life, yet unborn or created. Life in waiting.
Contrary to the title, life isn’t short. If anything it’s the opposite. Life’s greatest and most visual metaphor is plant. Take for example a seed. It grows, and grows with careful attention. Its roots begin to spread far out and wide in search of the right minerals. It uses its foundation carefully throughout its coming years; leaning left or right but straightening after proper support. It blooms and blossoms for life itself to revel in its beauty. It bears fruit which, ripe, feeds other life. It then grows old with strong roots, dug deep in earth. Its leaves, as well as the fruits, start to fall. Though they may fall and rot, they contain the same potential of life, the same seed. It dies; but with pride; with its roots still dug in earth, knowing that its role has been fulfilled. That its seeds were planted and that it will live in them as they, too, embark on their new lives.
Now re-read the metaphor I offer and visualise yourself as the tree. Like that tree, you too go through these stages of life. You too will stray off your path and decide “Life is short”. YOUR life may be short but OUR lives will reign onwards – ours as in YOU AND I; for the lives we share are longer and more sacred then the self-righteous and self-indulging lives we opt for.
Remember, your perception of life is selfish; selfish and self-centred. Life is selfless. An endless cycle. An endless paradox.