Tuesday, December 4, 2007

If You Died Tomorrow...

... would you be satisfied with your life? Would you be more than content? Would you have regrets? Remorse?

It seems that very few have found the balance between striving for the future of their dreams and living fully in the present. If anyone. Is it even possible? This is a theme that came up several times in previous entries. Stepping outside of MIT, outside of high-paced America, I met so many that were living day by day. Some were forced to live day by day, struggling to get by while others had a little more luxury to look ahead but chose more to focus on the present. This frustrated so many of our students who wanted to work quickly and efficiently, focusing on the end goal and working to reach it... but their culture seemed so much more focused on enjoying the day by day. Taking one hour breaks for tea, another one or two hour break to just sit and enjoy the sun and each other's company. How many times at MIT do we just sit with a friend for several hours in the sun having a nice talk, maybe just sitting in silence, just enjoying being around them and the world around us?

Premeds are often criticized for being too anal, for being too focused on grades and resumes which in the end are for the purpose of getting them into the best medical school possible. Often (though some are blessed with natural talent, luck, and skill), this focus is necessary to obtain the best marks to achieve the highest success in the medical school process. However, is it worth it? When you want to be a doctor more than anything, you think it is, but then when you try to balance out your life geared for your future with your life in the present, your marks may begin to falter. When trying to find this balance, the general advice seems to be work hard, but remember to relax and enjoy what's around you. But this is such a delicate balance. I've been on both extremes, working too hard and forgetting the world around me and not working hard enough but loving life in the present. Is such a balance possible? Do they add up equally?

If you died tomorrow, how would you feel? What would you regret not having done? What would you regret not having said? When you live for tomorrow, what happens to today? but when you live for today, what happens to tomorrow?

Success can be measured in millions of different ways and varies from person to person. But can you ever have it all? Can you be successful on every level? Have everything to your heart's content? Many would argue 'no,' life must have its downsides for you to more deeply appreciate the upsides. However, some would argue 'yes,' with the right attitude and the right combination of motivation and relaxation, you can have it all. But then how much does luck have to do with it? Timing? Skill? Can everyone have it all if they find that magic balance? Or are there just a lucky few that have been born to have it all? Perhaps the trick isn't to have it all, but to be happy with what you have. To live life with no regrets, is not necessarily to have no regrets, but to not focus on them. Pushing the regrets out of your mind and enveloping your thoughts around what you do have, what makes you happy, the people that are around you.

How would I feel if I died tomorrow? How would Emmanuel feel? How would Lucus feel? How would the women in the camps outside of Delhi feel?

How would you feel if you died tomorrow?

8 comments:

Erik said...

Its a scary question. Not because the thought of dying is that scary, but to ask yourself "what difference did I make"? I certainly could have done a lot more with the opportunities I've had, so I'd probably feel pretty bad. On the other hand, I don't think I led an evil life (which, like doing good, is a choice), so I wouldn't feel awful. The best thing I could probably say is that I shared a lot of good times with people, so hopefully I enriched their lives a bit.

It would be good if year by year, we could feel a little more at peace with dying, so that when the time finally comes, we can feel content about what we did here on Earth.

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B said...

That is definitely a question worth pondering; at the least because it is similar to the question, "if you have no future", what would you wish that you had done differently? It sort of provides the impetus to correct those things that have gone wrong in one's life today. But it is also a loaded question, because perhaps the existence of a future (that we are afraid of) is what keeps us from resolving many regrets today. So having no future relieves us of the responsibility of present decisions. Ultimately, the time comes for us all and we (usually) have little control of it, so maybe the best we can do is be honest with ourselves about what we care most about, make the best ("good") choices we can, and let the future unfold as it must. Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about that idea lately. "Was it worth it?" "Is the really the path of my life?" "Is this what I want?"
B

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