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To go through life is to constantly step on a rickety wooden bridge. You see where you need to go. You will eventually get there if you are taking it one step at a time. But the surface you step on is perilous and shaky. With every move the wood creaks and threatens to break apart. There is wind howling all around you; it whistles in your ear and rocks you back and forth. A thought of refusing to keep walking passes through your head. It would be easy to give up even if the goal is right there. You decide to keep on going, trudging slowly against the wind and uncertainty.
Life is like that bridge. Sometimes the steps are made out of stone, and the sun is shining. Other times they are invisible, and the only thing that you can see in front of you is the storm of rain and thunder. We all have to make our way through this bridge. It takes us decades to reach the end, but the end is not our goal. We want the experience of living, the passion of tasting from life’s many delights. And delights are plentiful and various.
We as humans try to find meaning in our existence. Objectively speaking, we are the only species on planet Earth who question our own value and existence. What is the meaning of life? What should we do with our lives? What comes after it? Such questions have been asked for millennia until they became as fundamental to our existence as our biological needs to feed, sleep and breed. But what is the value of a life? This question seems to fall off the discussion when trying to find meaning in the metaphorical bridge.
To have value is to be important. Not in the way that Kings or politicians are VIP, but to have self-worth and to feel confident in yourself. Every person puts a different meaning to their life. Some want to be successful, others want to be creative and artistic. A select few choose to devote themselves to religion or charity. These are all valid objectives to strive for. Given that our path from birth to the end of the bridge – death, varies from person to person, there is no “one path” to strive for. Since our experiences are so unique, we are free to choose what makes us happy. Unfortunately, not every choice will make us feel fulfilled. It might be what we desire to achieve, but often what we want and what we actually need are vastly different.
Focusing on money and career is a common goal for many people. The prospect of physical wealth and prestige make people take that extra shift at work; skip on lunch to finish a project in time; don’t go out with friends because the promised promotion is just one push away. Focusing on amassing wealth is fine, within reason. Monetary success is something we all crave, but it’s important to take in the time to taste life as we strive to get ahead. Enjoy your breaks and downtime or risk burning out. Getting tired of your professional path is the worst thing possible for several reasons. First, it makes you resent what you do. Even if you’d enjoyed your job and had been content with letting your personal life sit in the backseat, at some point work might become tedious. Second, your heart fills with resentment towards your fellow men. You become envious of their success. Somehow, you see them as better off even if they are on the same social step as you.
Some people decide to focus on family and love. These people find value in their life from contributing towards someone else’s happiness. To them, humble deeds and the adventure of creating and raising a family is all the treasure they require. It’s not a life for everyone, but that is what makes it beautiful for some family-minded people. It’s unique, and its value can only be appreciated by those who are happy with it.
Traveling the world is a choice that a lot of young people aged 18-35 make. Too young to be interested in a serious profession and raising a family, too old to want to remain in one place forever. Travel is a wonderful experience for those who can appreciate the beauty of our world. Exposure to different opinions, cultures, and languages is an enriching experience that has everlasting value.
Bottom line – life is precious. We all share the same bridge that we must walk on. Some decorate that bridge with flowers and fancy gadgets. Some hear the laughter of their loved ones. Some see pictures painted in various colors. These are all valid and uniquely personal. What matters is that we find a way to enjoy the walk. Hopefully, it will be a long one.
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