“Most people tip-toe their way through life, hoping they make it safely to death.” ~Earl Nightingale
I cannot believe I actually remember this but, when I was in first grade, my teacher asked each of us to tell her our favorite day of the week. I remember that almost everyone picked Saturday. One weird kid picked Tuesday but most picked Saturday because it was the weekend and they always got to do something fun.
I picked Friday.
I picked Friday because it was the moment leading up to the do-something-fun day. On Fridays, I got to be really excited about my weekend. I knew I had a whole two days ahead of me to have playdates, or go to birthday parties, or play video games, or watch TV, or do whatever six-year olds do.
As I got older, I became a Saturday-lover. Screw Fridays. I didn’t want the anticipation of the good time. I wanted the good time. As a teenager, I didn’t want to think about what I was going to be doing. I just wanted to be a dumb idiot and do dumb idiot things with my dumb idiot friends. (If any of you dumb idiots are reading this, I hope that you’re doing well and that you no longer drink Four Lokos behind dumpsters but that you still know how to smoke weed out of an apple because I always found that very impressive).
As I became an adult, I realized that the world is a terrifying place and anything can go wrong at any moment. My favorite day became Sunday. On Sundays, you already know how the weekend went. You’re not dealing with the Friday anticipation of what will happen or the Saturday experience of it currently happening. You’re done. You’ve made it. You have survived that weekend anxiety. Good job. You made it through another terrifying weekend and now you get to have a boring regular work week where nothing happens and your routine can keep you safe from any surprises.
What a horrible way to live life.
I have a journal entry from about a year ago that reads: “I was the kind of kid who loved Friday more than Sunday. The anticipation of a fun unknown weekend was better than the chill Sunday after it was over. I strive for that level of unsuspecting happiness and joy again.”
About six months ago, I finally reached my Friday feeling nirvana again. By making myself aware of a shortcoming that was greatly affecting my life, I was able to improve my perspective and reverse a negative habit. I was able to stop running from the discomfort of the unknown and instead lean into the excitement of what I could do with my time. Time is far too valuable to waste on worry. All the “what-ifs” in the world could be running through your brain but the only one that matters is, “What if you just lived?”
I’ve learned when you combat your “what-ifs” with more positive questions, you can quell that anxiety. “What if everything goes right?” “What if I ace that job interview?” “What if I have a great time on that date?” Then, answer those questions. What if everything does go right? How great would that be? You could stop wasting all your time worrying about it going wrong.
I’ll tell you again, time is so so so so valuable. Why would you ever waste it on purpose? Why would you worry about something going wrong? If it does go wrong, you’ve already put yourself through that pain with all of your “what-if”ing and now you’re just going through that pain a second time. You just made the first round of, “Oh, crap” a big waste of time. If it goes right, then you just wasted a lot of time being upset for no damn reason. Stop giving yourself reasons to suffer. Life will have no shortage of pain. You do not need to add any unnecessary drama to your week.
“I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.” ~Mark Twain
What if you just lived?