The Days Are Long but the Years Are Short
Daily Meditation #257–11/6/2022
When I was a young man, there was an exceptionally attractive girl in my middle school class.
She was slender.
A nice height.
Had luscious and healthy hair.
Her complexion was clean and slightly tanned.
And, she had developed quite early, ending up buxom and curvaceous for 8th grade.
In short, she was the young woman that all the young men gawked at all day and whispered about at sleepovers.
I ended up jumping schools before the end of 8th grade and as an aging adult, I have periodically had seen her about town.
Even when she and I were around 20 or so, I remember thinking that I’m sure she still was getting plenty of attention as she had truly grown into her feminine form.
Time has passed, we are both in our mid 30s and just the other day I saw her in public yet again…
Her weight had roughly doubled.
Her years of probable tanning appear to be catching up, now her complexion looking leathery and her eyes bagging.
The once vibrant hair now appeared fried and damaged.
And worse, I could hear her cursing aloud around all her children.
— — —
I am not here to preach to you that she is a bad mother or that she is out of sorts or is frumpy, et cetera. This is not coming from a place of judgement at all.
For all I know, her husband of the last 12 years could’ve just passed, she gained the weight, and was tattering apart at the seams with stresses unimaginable.
This is instead to somberly remind you of just how short and precious our time is.
Just as we spend time in death meditation ideally every day to remember our fragility, so too should we always be overflowing with gratitude for our current condition.
We may be young, fit, and attractive today, but if we aren’t mindful each and every day then our onesy, twosy days of lounging and overeating can very quickly compile into other issues which we carry forward into our aging years…
You may believe 30, 40, or 50+ is “very far off,” and yet they will be here before you even can blink an eye.
You may think just “a little snack” here or there doesn’t hurt.
Or that spending on “treat yoself” every now and then isn’t a big deal.
And that scrolling your phone on the toilet for 20 minutes a few times a week isn’t much.
But, the years are made up of months of weeks of days of hours of minutes. And each of these minutes we only get one of.
And of the minutes, we make more bad decisions than we keep proper accounting over.
Just as a shop owner who would steal a dollar here or there might not think it matters overmuch in the day to day, at the end of the year and decade, the accounting would tell a horror story.
So, while we must meditate well and often on our death, so too must we daily cherish our fragile vessel and be mindful of it in the minutes of the hours of the days of the years!
Follow for daily philosophical meditations.
These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”