Last week I went to the lovely wedding of two friends (Sindy and Ciden) in a village in East Germany called Tobertitz outside of the town of Plauen. After a lovely ceremony, we moved over to an old barn down the street that they had rented out for an evening of dinner, dancing, and to some degree, debauchery.
While at the party afterward, I met a friend of theirs (Handi) who said something interesting to me. I don’t exactly recall how we got started on this conversation, but what he said resonated with me enough that I’m still thinking about it. He said that he doesn’t agree with the saying that “You only live once.” I asked him why and he responded that we can live multiple ‘lives’, meaning that if the one that we are currently living does not make us happy, then we can change it and start a new life. He gave me an example from his own life about how he used to be the owner and manager of a number of entertainment businesses, which, while successful, were eating into all aspects of his life. After a wake up call from his personal life, he decided to refocus his life on what actually made him happy and has now moved completely out of those businesses and is going back to school to study real estate.
When I heard his story, I responded by saying that in my understanding, the saying “You only live once” is meant as a justification for his exact point of view – because you only live once, you should not waste time living the kind of life that does not make you happy. Once I explained it in that sense, he agreed with me, and I cannot agree more with the main theme underlying that saying. Of course, I don’t mean that it should be used as a catch all phrase to simply make people feel better about taking unnecessary risks, but I do believe that many people I know spend their professional lives at jobs that they hate and never allow themselves to pursue what they actually want to be spending their time on.
I used to be one of them. Before I discovered writing, and especially after I had the idea for my first book, but prior to disciplining myself to actually write it, I was right there with them. Hearing about what Handi had been through to change his own life, reminded me of that experience. I had a life that I wasn’t happy with. While there was nothing in particular that was wrong with it – I had a good job and good friends – I didn’t feel like it fit with who I was. Or perhaps, more accurately, that I did not fit into the mold that it had created for me. Finding a mold that I did fit into was not an easy process, but it was worth every moment of sweat and tears that went into it, and I’m sure that Handi, along with many others, would agree with me. For those of you who have found a mold that fits who you are, revel in it, because while we may have forgotten the travails that it took to get there, that mold is not easy to come by. And for those of you who haven’t yet found it, don’t give up. When you get there, it will be well worth it.
Please post your thoughts into the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear about your own experiences and am happy to share more details about my own if you would like.
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My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at all major retailers and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L1ISEUS