Pensée: a thought or reflection put into literary form; an aphorism.
I seem to have a lot of these type of thoughts lately. I am a 36 year old woman, live alone, have no children, and don’t even have a pet to care for. I love adventure running, backpacking, biking, healthy food and craft beer. There are many reasons for my current lifestyle, but that is a story to be told in another segment. I’m often that girl that people judge on multiple levels without knowing why I’ve made the choices I have. Some aspects of my life haven’t even been due to choices, but more of an acceptance of circumstances beyond my control, and making the best of them. Some say things like “Wow! That must be nice to have no responsibilities!” insinuating that they think I am selfish and only living for myself. Some make statements that reflect jealousy, such as “I wish I could have time for that…” or “I remember those days!” Then there are those that just have that blank stare, and then ask “Why??” To which I typically will reply with “Why not?”
The statement that got me thinking the most was when someone told me they remembered when they used to live like there was no tomorrow, just like I was doing. I first categorized that somewhere between them thinking I was selfish and them being just jealous, but ultimately I felt like it was a compliment. Isn’t that a statement used to motivate and push you to reach for the stars and strive for your goals? That statement, “Live like you’ll die tomorrow!” makes you take chances and try things you might not otherwise, right? You hear it in movies, you read it in books, and you see those memes on Facebook with people leaping off cliffs into unknown waters below. Isn’t that what we all want?
Then I started thinking about the repercussion of what people did with that mentality of leaping off ledges into the unknown. I have known a few of these types of people, and read about many. They take risks. Sometimes they have amazing stories to tell from their adventures. Sometimes they get injured and have extensive rehabilitation, or are never able to walk again. Sometimes health isn’t even a factor in their lives and they spend hours indulging in calories with the mindset of “I’ll die anyways”… at times I’ve seen people gamble and lose their lives, or their freedom.
I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to die tomorrow, or anytime soon, for that matter! I want to explore, experience, taste, feel… I want to live! I want to help ensure other people, generations after me will also be able to experience this incredible planet we have the honor of inhabiting. If I truly thought I was going to die tomorrow, I probably wouldn’t smile so much to strangers. I wouldn’t care what I ate today, because obviously it won’t matter how I feel tomorrow. I wouldn’t read the news or vote. I certainly wouldn’t exercise, and might not even shower today.
What if people started thinking like they would live forever? Wouldn’t this be the mindset that makes more sense to embrace? If we lived forever, wouldn’t we want to take better care of ourselves physically and mentally? Feed our bodies with nourishing sustenance that will help us have the energy and health to enjoy this amazing long life? Wouldn’t we want to explore this stunning world we live in and see all that it has to offer? Would we choose the job that pays the most, or the job that pays the bills and makes us happy? Would we pause more, love more, appreciate more? If we knew we would live forever, I think we would make more of an effort to save this Earth and appreciate all that inhabit it, regardless of species, race, gender, or creed.
I realized that this is how I have subconsciously focused my lifestyle for some time now. I choose to live like there is always going to be a tomorrow. I research my options in life, and always try to follow the path that will be the best for myself, as well as those I care about. And as for those I care about, they are not just friends and family. I care for the creatures that balance this earth, the vegetation that gives us our air, the water that replenishes us all, and the soil that it all starts from.
My pensée is a daily occurrence, and changes as the world turns to show me different perspectives. Though direction and focus may change, I try to keep my core values aligned with the mantra of living like there is always a tomorrow. I’ll make the best choices possible at the time that they are presented, and not take foolish risks that may hurt me or those I love. I will nourish my body so I can push its limits, allowing me to explore and experience all this world has to offer me. I will feed my mind with valuable knowledge and grow emotionally with each new challenge. I will encourage the people I care about, and be honest with not only those around me, but most importantly, myself. I will step outside of my comfort zone to try new things, and to stand up for what I believe in even when I think there will be resistance.
Sometimes the most challenging traverse is discovering what options this world has to offer, and what the best course is for yourself regardless of what you think others will say about your choice. My traverse is one day at a time, always knowing there will be a tomorrow, and striving to make it the best tomorrow imaginable.