Living on the edge

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What if this day is the last day of my life?

Yesterday, I drifted off to sleep with this thought in my head. As much as any person checking his or her e-mails, Facebook or twitter account every day, I am constantly surrounded by more than needed voices of advice, of so-called wisdom and truth about life, virtual voices that not only thrive by telling those who hear them what to do but also pushing people – and myself amongst them – to the edge. “Seize the day”, “The best time to do anything is NOW”, “Experience life like there is no tomorrow”, “Today is the day” are affirmations we hear here and there, more often here than there: these are all true, and the advice that comes along – to live life to the fullest – is also a good advice. The problem is, when we realize the time we spend listening to those kind of affirmations, surfing on the internet in search of the perfect recipe to live the perfect life, we end up doing more planning than actually living. And, the bigger problem with the concept of perfection itself is that it makes you live as though you must be accountable for your actions and appearances to someone else that yourself entirely, even if it is to the virtual world of media, Internet and Facebook.

So how come those wisdoms turned into something almost dreadful? Is it because you stumble upon them even when you don’t ask for it? In our modern society, have they come to play the role of some kind of glamorous new age big brother that triggers more guilt than an actual willingness to take action? My guess is that those affirmations are a product of a paradox: what several decades ago could have been found only by reading books or listening to wise people and thus were the final stage, the product of a personal search, that lasted at least for the time of reading, or listening, or watching, and, as a consequence, required a personal investment of time and thought, – is now available in more ways that I could think of. Our technologies give us the possibilities to go straight to the result, without burdening ourselves with overcoming the difficulties of the search. And as a result, we are constantly exposed to an infinite wisdom. But wisdom doesn’t exist by itself: is was, and still is, a personal achievement. It’s never enough to just hear or read something wise, you have to put it into action. Unfortunately, when faced with a million of advices and “truths”, one can be quite lost. And feel quite guilty if one’s life doesn’t always correspond to what is being displayed out there.

I took the photo above this morning, at 8:30 a.m. A few minutes after that, the pattern changed completely and the sky turned plain blue. Sometimes, more often than not, I have to force myself to do things: not because I’m lazy, well, not entirely. Mostly because I know I would feel so much better when I get this or that thing done. I’ve found it’s also good to remind myself from time to time what makes me feel good, whether it is writing, reading, taking a bath or doing yoga. I am almost afraid if I find myself relieved when reading something like “it is ok to do this or that”. I can only imagine how deep other people’s thoughts and behaviors have rooted in me. I have found that we sometimes thrive to overachieve, or, on the contrary, do literally nothing, just to prove a point : that we either are a “normal” person, or are “different”. I would like my eagerness to be different to not prevent me from doing things that are essential to me, that make me live and breathe. Otherwise I call it depression.

Hence, I seize my moment and take a picture of the gorgeous sky before it fades away. I set an intention for my day, that so far isn’t really going as planned, but I’m the only one responsible for that.

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