|What if it all came to an end tomorrow? Would you be proud of what you gave to the world? What would become of what you left behind? Were the grudges you held through your life really worth it?
Would you be proud of your life? Because I wouldn't be.
My girlfriend and I had a conversation the other night about all this. She asked me when I first realized I loved her and how I knew and I said I couldn't know for sure that I really do. All I have is a suspicion. I really believe this is true. It's not what she wanted to hear – believe me – but I don't really care. I told her I would be honest...
And before I start bitching about my relationship, I'll get to the point: I have always said I would only know the worth of my life while sitting on my deathbed. When I looked back at my life I would know who it was I really loved and what I was proud of. I would know what I could have done without and what I really needed.
I picture myself dying as an old man. But what if I die tomorrow? I could have a stroke sitting right here typing out my bullshit and my body might shut down or I might die in my sleep 290387 years from now. Nobody knows when it will happen.
You've all heard it: You have to live like this day is your last. No shit, it's true.
I hate who I'm becoming. I've put off being a good person until the day after tomorrow for as long as I can remember. I will talk to the ugly girl next time. I'll pray tomorrow night. I'll do my homework next time. Every time.
We put the emphasis in our lives on all the trivial bullshit. We don't need money or cars. Or big ass houses. We don't need to be great athletes or the best writers. The Packers didn't have to win a fucking game this year for me to be ultimately happy.
But so many of us will tell our families to go fuck themselves because they don't agree with our bullshit. My mother and father have given me all I could have ever wanted but I have never accepted it as enough. I haven't earned shit. I don't deserve this laptop but I bitch about the broken speaker. I don't deserve the car that's parked in the lot but I bitch about the tape deck it has when it could just as easily have a CD player – or nothing at all. I don't deserve the money in my bank account but I complain that I don't have enough.
I have given all these "problems" cursory examination over the years contemplating their importance and every time realized it means nothing. Not a fucking thing. I never changed myself. I still don't do shit around my house. I don't ever show appreciation for what I have. How can I be proud of that?
Most people measure success by the number of digits in their bank accounts, or the number of friends they have, or the fucking hood ornament on the front of their cars. I am just as guilty as anybody else. I've made these things important in my life. I have looked at my girlfriend and wondered if I should find one prettier. I have looked around the parking lot and decided my car was an embarrassment. I have looked at my life and what I have and wished I could be somebody else, somebody luckier.
I am the luckiest motherfucker alive. How could I have not seen it? I am surrounded by loving people and I push them away. Either I'm being a pretentious asshole and am too good or realize I'm being a pretentious asshole and assure them I am not worth their time. I have more material possessions than 98% of the world, but it's not good enough for me. Such is our society. All we can want is more, more, more.
I went down to Juarez, Mexico over the summer with my church's youth group. In four days, we built a large house for a young family. In Juarez, at least, it was a house. In America, it is nothing more than a walk-in closet. I'm not completely sure my bed would have fit inside. This dorm room is twice the size of that shack.
Three people would live inside of it, maybe for the rest of their lives. With all of my useless shit I brought with me on the trip, I could not live for a week.
My sister attended Covenant Bible College in Quito, Ecuador last year. I went to her graduation ceremony and stayed for a week. Ecuador, for all you uneducated fucks, is a Third World country. They have nothing. I have never seen so much poverty, so much dirtiness. I have also never seen so many people thankful for what they have.
Every place I looked, I saw dirty yellow teeth. Happy, dirty, yellow teeth. I expected to be greeted in Ecuador with a bunch of starving children with no homes. I arrived in Quito thinking I would meet a bunch of dirty people, envious of my lifestyle. No, they make good on what they have. The neighborly concept is well-understood in Ecuador. They help one another because they know what's important. Those people are thankful to be alive. They are not envious of me. I'm nothing but a dumb white Gringo with sunglasses and expensive shoes. Am I really privileged?
Of them, I am envious. I am not happy anymore because my car broke down. I am broke. I have no clean clothes and no money for laundry. I have to buy some shampoo. I have to get home and grab my snowboard for two weekends from now when I have to actually pay for the school trip to Who the hell knows where?
The Sunday after we came back from Ecuador, my sister and I were sitting in the lobby of our church during the service when a woman walked in wearing a gaudy fur coat and decked out in expensive jewelry. I looked up, wondered how much money her husband makes, and directed my attention back down to my cell phone. It seemed not out of place. My sister, though, stared and shook her head. She had been with the poorest people in the world for a good while and obviously hated what she had come back to.
I never noticed things before then. Is this really what it's all about? Are we really flaunting diamonds and mink in a place of worship? I hate to think so, but I do.
When I am lying on my death bed, I don't want to have to remember that I cared about trivial bullshit like that. It is embarrassing. If I died tonight, I would not be happy with what I have done in my life. I have nothing to be proud of. I have been a self-serving asshole my whole life, concerned about others only when it affects me.
I give a shit about how fast this computer runs. I care that my Playstation is broken. I am worried about the amount of money I spent on Christmas presents for individual people.
I want to leave behind a stronger legacy than this. I want the people I love to know I would have done anything to see them happy. Even if they can't see it, I want to know I did everything I could to be fair to others and treat them as I would like to be treated.
It says in the Bible that "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God."
I cant keep waiting until tomorrow to be a good person. None of us can. It's scary to believe it but any of us can die by the time we reach the end of this sentence.
So it's a good thing, at least, that I have a fucking computer and access to the Internet to write this shit before I get hit by a bus, right?