I want to die having lived a thousand lives.
I want to set sail in Indonesia and start a business in Paris. I want to write the next great American novel and direct a movie in Hollywood. I want to perform stand up in New York and push a Ferrari through Italy. I want to build a school in Africa and spend a year with a monk in India.
It’s easy to dream. And dreams come easy to me. They float into my head and call out to me and fill me up with joy…but the joy leaves just as fast as it comes and leaves me empty and alone like a backstabbing lover.
Today, however, and for the rest of my days I don’t want the joy to stop.
I want to hug and kiss and experience the joy. But that’s when life gets difficult and struggle and failure come into play. Sometimes the doubt makes me shed a hundred silent tears. But it’s OK…or it will be OK…in the end…I hope.
I hope the five tips I brainstormed this morning are enough…enough to change the direction of my life.
Below are the five tips that I vow to keep in the forefronts of my mind so I can die having lived a thousand lives.
1. Go against the herd and avoid conventional thinking. Always. Avoid. Conventional. Thinking.
I walked into the guidance office. Her office was nice. It was decorated with posters full of inspirational quotes. One of the posters on the wall said, “DREAM BIG.” The other said, “NEVER GIVE UP. EVER.”
It was reassuring. I thought she was one of us.
I sat down. She walked in.
She wore her hair all over her face and her skin wore the lines of experience and wisdom.
I hoped this meeting would go well. It didn’t.
I walked in full of life. I left…grasping for air. I fell to my knees and crawled out of her office.
She called after me. I didn’t look back.
She suffocated me with her words. And I lost the ability to breathe.
I’ve been running away from the guidance counselor ever since. Except she is no longer one person. She’s everywhere. And it’s getting harder and harder to run away. It’s getting harder and harder to breathe.
Some day’s she overtakes my Mom’s body and some day’s she unleashes her wrath and takes over my best friend’s body. And they all tell me the same thing; they tell me to set my sights lower. And it hurts. It hurts to receive doubt from the people you love and adore with all your heart. But you know what hurts even more?
Sometimes the guidance counselor takes over my body and I start telling myself to be realistic. And those days are the worst because in those moments of doubt and misery, they win…all the people who told me to aim lower.
There are seven billion people who make up this earth. And society will try to control and mold each one. Society will throw their fragile and naked bodies onto the assembly line in an effort to suck the creative force right out of them. The people will go in unique and special and they will come out ordinary and boring and with useless college degrees.
Every great life starts with the decision to remain unique and special. It starts with the decision to embrace individuality and to go against the herd. Friends and family will try to mold you the most. Don’t let them.
Treat life like a children’s book and choose your own adventure. If you want to live a thousand lives in one, you have to get off the assembly line. For the assembly line is only conditioned to provide you with one life, a life full of boredom and mediocre work.
I’m not saying don’t go to college. I’m not saying don’t get a job. I’m not saying don’t climb the corporate ladder. I’m not saying any of those things. Do all of those things if you desire.
All I’m saying is every single step of the way you have to fight the man. Or your soul will bleed out and die.
Who’s the man? I don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure that out my whole life. Maybe the man doesn’t exist at all. Maybe the enemy isn’t them. And the enemy is you. And the man is all the doubts and fears and voices inside your head telling you, “you’re not capable and you’re not enough as you are.”
Maybe that’s the most dangerous form of conventional thinking of them all.
2. Shake the dice of life and roll em.
Life is either a thriller or a boring 1800’s black and white film. There is no middle ground.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. And I used to be one of them.
I look back at the days of my life and I don’t remember much. Most of my time was spent on aimless shit. Drinking and watching movies or partying till the wee hours of the morning. Most of my time was spent building someone else’s dream. Most of my time was spent in the comforts of my home with mommy and daddy because I was scared of the big bad world.
I don’t remember any of those days. Not one.
But some days I do remember. The days I remember are the days I said, fuck it and I rolled the dice of life. The days I went against the norm and looked the world in the eye…and I took a chance. I went against my parents wishes and did what felt right to me…whether that was packing my bags and leaving everything I’ve known behind or striking out on my own and dumping all my money into a business idea.
Those days I will never forget. For they represent life as it was meant to be lived…on the edge.
Each day we have two choices:
We have the choice to continue to do what we have always done.
We have the choice to get off the safe track so we can travel the land of uncertainty, the land where all our dreams and aspirations live.
Will we reach our dreams in time or will they slip away forever? I don’t know…but the days I packed up my shit and caught flights to chase after the unknown are the days I will remember till my last breath. Everything else isn’t even worth remembering and won’t even enter my mind when I write the story of my life.
If you want to live a thousand lives in one, you have to shake the dice of life and you have to roll em. You must embrace uncertainty and chaos for the chaos is what makes life, life.
It’s not going to be easy…and fuck…it may not even be worth it because you’re probably going to die sooner than later because of all the stress and worry and heartache that accompanies the thrill of rolling the dice and taking a risk, but it’s not the amount of years in a life that matter, it’s the amount of life in the years that count. Yes I stole that quote from someone. Sue me.
Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.
Roll the dice of life and take a chance, my friend…and go wherever they take you. They might just take you to the top of the world
3. Put life into Monday to Friday…not just Saturday and Sunday.
The alarm clock went off. Fuck I could have sworn I just fell asleep ten minutes ago. But no, an entire eight hours have passed. The clock reads 6 am.
I feel the dagger of Monday morning sticking inside me. Ripping out my guts and leaving my insides a mess. But I can’t clean up the mess. I’m late. And I don’t have time to shower and wash away the blood.
I hop in my car and ride off in the opposite direction of where the sun set the previous night. I drive in the direction of evil…pure evil.
I see it in my boss’s eyes. Nothing but evil. I clock in and sit down. Turn on my computer. And then it begins.
Another week spent wishing away my time. Another week spent wishing I wasn’t here. Another week spent at the water cooler talking shit. Another week spent aimlessly with no purpose in mind.
When I die, I won’t remember these weeks. But that’s not the saddest part. The saddest part is when I look back at my life, all these weeks are added up to form one big meager and pitiful existence…and I will be forced to call it a life.
Trading time for money is a shitty existence. Living for the weekends is an even shittier existence. I soaked in the waters of this shitty existence. And it left me feeling shittier than ever.
I used to sit in a cubicle and look at the clock every two minutes. It never did move.
Now I live without clocks because when you chase your own dreams and you build your own life, Monday to Friday is just as good as Saturday to Sunday. Every day is the same and that’s how it should be. Every day carries the hours I need to live a thousand lives in one. I was too blinded to see when I was working a dead end job, but now I see. I see with open eyes and I reach out and cling to the day and I never let go.
Sure I fail more times than I succeed…and people laugh…and point fingers…and talk shit.
But at least I live….I live…each and every day.
4. Trust life. Have faith. Believe it’s going to end well.
Sometimes it feels like I’m going nowhere. Sometimes I feel like I never will. She said, it’s because I’m always moving. I never notice because I never stand still.
I made the decision to walk in the opposite direction. And now I must live with the consequences.
I’m not going to lie…
The journey is a tough one, it’s full of despair and pain and jealousy and envy.
I look around and I see them in their suits. Rushing up and through the world…while I’m trying to bring to reality some fantasy I dreamed up at the age of thirteen.
Maybe it will work out and I’ll get the last laugh. Or maybe it won’t and I’ll leave this earth the same way I entered…with eyes full of tears.
I don’t know. I can’t call it.
If it happens, it happens. I stole that quote from someone too. Hopefully she doesn’t sue me.
I trust life. And I hope you trust life too.
5. Lights. Camera. Action.
The people are lining up and buying tickets for the show. It’s rush hour. And the theater is packed with folks from all walks of life.
Kids rush to the popcorn stand and stuff the buttery kernels in their mouth.
Teenagers gulp down sodas. Couples walk hand in hand.
The lights are dimming and show time is arriving.
Theater number ten is packed. Not an empty seat in sight.
This is the moment…the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life.
The previews begin. And the previews end.
The title of the movie flashes onto the big screen:
“THE LIFE AND TIMES OF TEJ DOSA…”
My personal philosophy for life is simple and can be found below:
Treat life like a movie and one day it will become one. Picture an invisible man following you everywhere you go. He carries a camera. And he uses it to record the events of your day. After he finishes shooting, he uploads the video he captured to the big screen and it can now be viewed by millions and millions of people.
Taking chances, jumping head first, and pursuing massive success makes a movie worth watching. Give the people a thriller and put on a fucking show. Leave it all on the big screen.
The camera is pointed to my face. The light is on and it’s flashing red.
There is no pause button on life. And I know it. The movie of my life is constantly shooting and in production.
I wake up bright and early.
I can sit here and do what I’ve always done…or I can summon the courage…and give the people something to watch.
Each day represents a scene from the movie of my life.
Will the movie of my life end with the audience standing on their feet as they roar with applause?
Will it end with the audience wallowing in regret and boredom?
I don’t know. But I will do everything in my power to make sure it’s the first one…because life really is a movie. And it’s up to you…to make it…dope as fuck.