Thoughts from 2015
Last night while at work, I was dealing to several gentlemen. Well before I go any further let me define dealing, I am in fact a poker dealer at a casino here in Saint Louis. Back to the story, we got onto the topic of life and death, dreams and passions and the value of life.
One of the gentlemen, we will name him Sweat Pants Guy. Sweat Pants Guy asked me what I wanted to do career wise, and what my dream job would be. The first one is hard to answer, cause well, ultimately my dream job would be one that would use my skills. A place where I could problem solve, interact with people, and leave a lasting impact on my workplace. I went on to say that I wanted to be able to fulfill my basic needs to maintain a harmonious life. These needs being to inspire, to provide joy and to help other people help themselves.
Sweat Pants Guy asked me what my dream job would be, and I told him it would be to create children programs that would teach them domestic skills, so they could grow up and be self sufficient.
He went on to say that those things are “all fine and dandy, but you have to be able to feed yourself at the end of the day.” I agreed with him, but went on to say that money and food alone is not enough to feed me. I need to have an impact on the world, to feel like I have made a difference. That to make a difference you have to be willing to devote yourself utterly and completely to your cause. I do not fear hardship just like I do not fear death, and that is why I will achieve these needs and dreams.
Another gentleman at the table, we will name him Friendly Philosopher; he asked me to describe why I don’t fear death. I said that I do not fear death, but if you put a gun to my head I would be afraid. It is human nature for my sympathetic nervous system to rise at the threat of danger, but as I move through life I do not fear the end. Instead I believe that it is the finality that life provides that motivates us to do something with our lives.
This motivation in life is that I try to live like I have already died, and that I am looking at the snap shots of my life that I am most at peace with. This leads me to make the best possible decisions. These actions that I take however, are not with the hopes of going to a pleasant life after death, nor are they out of fear of going to a place where I will be punished. Simply put I believe that doing good and the right thing should be done, because they are the right thing to do.
Friendly Philosopher asked me if I believed in god, and I told him that I did. He was surprised, and told me that my philosophy was not typically found in people who believed in a higher power. I was going to continue that conversation, but a man we will describe as Angry Muscle Guy told me that I need to shut up and deal.
The comments of Angry Muscle Guy are pretty standard, whether the game is moving at the appropriate pace or not. Angry Muscle Guy is the stereotypical representation of how people dehumanize employees within the customer service industry. His demand that I shut up, then became a string of insults, all of which I addressed in a civil and professional manner.
To close the conversation with Friendly Philosopher and Sweat Pants Guy, I told them that as time passes the perception of its passage gets faster and faster. If I want to be at peace with myself at the end of my life, I have to make some sacrifices to get there.
Another gentleman at the table, Loving Lawyer told me that it is simple mathematics. When you are ten years old, a year is ten percent of your life. When you fifty years old it is a much lower percent. Your perception changes, because you have lived longer.
I told Loving Lawyer that I agreed with him, but there is more to it than just math. I have seen so many people walk through life and never achieve anything more than just doing the minimum. It reminded me of a TED talks that I watched recently, where a gamer lady discussed the regrets that people had in life. While not completely relevant to the conversation at hand, the intent was the same.
I said to Loving Lawyer that the pull of time, or at least my perception of it has become a powerful force. That at the stage I am in life, I need to do what makes me feel fulfilled.
The passage of time is ultimately subjective, we have learned that its passage can be different depending on where you record it. I believe that it is important to not only life for the moment, but to also live it so that in the future we can cherish the moments we had in the past. Do what makes you feel fulfilled, and when death comes to your door, you will be ready to welcome it without regret.