But if you do it right, once is enough. Mae West. It’s possible to see the world in this light. That we all are guaranteed two documents, a birth and death certificate. That time is limited. But there’s no need to panic.
You only live once, but why think of it as “only” and “once” unless you’re expecting to live twice? Sure, some of us might live a few years longer or shorter. Some of us may meet with disaster and die “early”. But we live, regardless of the end date. We have every moment that we have. Worrying about our expiration dates takes focus from now and pulls it to later.
Perspective can be good. Knowing that we have a finite amount of breaths to breathe gives us a prod to be productive. It also gives us inspiration to be great. I want to produce something that matters. I want to create and make real what’s in my mind.
But accomplishments, life works, and career achievements are for Wikipedia and history books. Sure they are important to have. The important things we make in this world inspire, motivate, and hopefully make the world amazing. They are the things we remember. But I’m convinced that actually living life is more about the incremental moments.
For example, if I told you about my life-changing experience with strength training, I could give you a history. My maximum squat was 315 lb. at age 24, when I learned and utilized progressive powerlifting techniques. Within a couple of years, I increased my squat to 370 lb. This would be a wiki version of things, if anyone cared enough to write one.
But that sort of story line washes out all the moments throughout that period of time that actually changed my life. I would rather tell you about the individual training sessions. The times that I was so afraid of the weight that I hesitated going to the gym for weeks. The moments of absolute clarity, in front of the bar, when I refused to let myself escape from my fear. The days I discovered who I was, and who I could be. And the instances I became someone new under the weight.
You only live once. So we try new things, exciting things, yes. But we also know that every moment is the life we’re living. The story doesn’t have to be fresh, it doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, or history-making, but we’d better be present when the moments are happening.
If you do it right, once is enough.