This human life of ours is quite complicated, and not only because we make it that way; I think to properly live one’s life, you have to disentangle the inherent complexity within every aspect of it in order to be, if not happy, at least reach a measure of contentment. Hard as it may be, in the end, it is worth it to treat life seriously, rather than flippantly – it is, as far as we are aware, the only one you will have.
Take one of the most written and sung about topic throughout history: Romantic love. On one level, such love is but a biological mechanism necessary for the propagation of our species – you need a father and mother to bond, in order to take care of the offspring. But on a personal level, it is a different matter entirely. With our complex processing skills, humans have reached an emotional state beyond mere biology. When choosing a mate, a thousand things must be considered, from whether they can understand you, talk to you about things that interest the both of you, help you grow, love you or care for you in the years to come. It becomes a complete synthesis of two beings – and it is not all romantic. Some of it is quite practical. Are you able to tolerate the other person, when both of you are at your worst? Can you raise a child together in a way both of you agree upon? What is the glue that binds you two together, for physical attraction, in time, is likely to fade: is it mutual respect, or personality? As always, when it comes to love, there is much more to it than a “Happily Ever After” accompanied by a ride off into the sunset. At the end of the day, you are two human beings trying to get along with each other over an extended period of time – and that’s not easy.
Another aspect of life which has been the cause of much strife in millions of hearts is how exactly to spend it. In the past, when we lived in caves and hunted and gathered our sustenance, there was little choice regarding what you spent your time doing: you tried to survive, as best as you can, whilst, during the few leisure hours, played or interacted with other people. Now, living in a complex world filled with thousands of jobs and hobbies, pressured by cultural and sociological forces, it is a chore to narrow the influx of information down to a single specific “occupation” you will devote your life to. As a result, people either spend their life doing things out of passion, or for the sake of money. Certainly most would prefer the former, but what if, upon entering this world, you decide you have no particular interest in anything, except enjoying the pleasures money can buy? Then the latter seems like the only choice – yet, eventually, such a life will start to seem empty. What humans want most, due to our intelligence, is meaning. We want to spend our time meaningfully, in a way that either enriches our own lives or the lives of others beyond monetary gains. Along with this, we have pressures from parents, the threat of homelessness and the desire of prestige, all conspiring together to make the decision difficult. There is no easy answer; I am convinced the only way to come to decision about this is by asking your own heart: What matters to you?
So now we have love and work out of the way, let us move onto a final facet of life that troubles people: Death. It is quite the triage, isn’t it? Love, Work, Death; the trio of spirits filling the space between cradle and crave. Most people do not actively spend great portions of their lives – in between having fun, loving and working – thinking about death, simply because the thought frightens them or, if they are young and healthy, it is sufficiently far-off to be safely ignored for the time being. But how you feel about Death will determine how you live with your life. Treat it as the Grand Deadline, and you will be more productive, more eager in pursuing your dreams. View it as but a gateway to another form of existence, and you will spend your life piling up riches in the sky rather than on Earth. Or treat it from a purely scientific standpoint, that you will simply return as atoms to the universe, and you might waltz through life with a slight recklessness, even courage, knowing that nothing matters very much, anyway, if eventually you will just end up a scattering molecules in the environment.
Either way, whether you wisely or foolishly consider these three central aspects of existence, time passes regardless; such is the only constant in life. What must be stressed is that there is no perfect way of doing or seeing things, only a personal way, and your job in life is to discover a path that fits you – not your friend, not your mother, but you. No-one cares if you are stuck in a loveless marriage, or are petrified of being judged by God for your sins after you die, or hate your job as a lawyer earning oodles of money you have no time to enjoy or spend – no-one cares. Only you do. And therefore it is up to you to mold or at least shift your life in a direction that will make you respect yourself and your choices and be without regret, both at the end of the day, when you lie down in bed hopefully next to your loved one, and when you lie down on your death bed, at the end of a life.