Memento Mori

Sometimes we think something is necessary to us or we think it's important to us, and it isn't until we start questioning the organization of our lives that it reveals itself to be far more temporary.

This video, starring the inspiring Carl Sagan, discusses the information in our lives that surrounds us. He then places this information in context by showing us how much one man can consume in his lifetime. Compared to the library that he's walking around, the rows that he passes are paltry. I found this concept enlightening and powerful.

This illustrates the basic concept that we all must come to terms with, no matter what manner our spirituality unfolds in: we can't do everything. We must set precedence over some things versus others. Even I, in my youth, can recognize that my days are not infinite, and that even these early days can be wasted if not managed properly.

The reason why I bring this up? It empowered me to make decisions. Sure, I had eliminated all of the cruft and the obvious junk that I didn't need, and made my life easier in those ways, but what about those core hobbies and entertainment methods, the ones I considered most dear to me? The ones I had never lived without? Perhaps they're not so necessary after all, in the light of how much I can experience in a lifetime.

I came to the realization that I liked video games, but I loved books. Books give me more after the fact. Books make me feel better overall. The act of reading them is a quieting, focusing habit that if done on a regular basis gives me more relaxation and self-satisfaction. As entertainment, I can't think of any kind better. In comparison to this, video games take up a lot of time, rarely leave me with thoughts and don't really make me feel like I accomplished anything.

I've known this for years. But I've never had the power to change it. I just assumed that video games were something about me that I had to live with. Then I removed all of the gaming hardware and the television (which I only used for games) from my room and placed a big stack of physical books there instead. This game me a physical manifestation of my new mental focus. And it worked. It's been years since I've read at this pace, constantly hungry for information and story, savoring each book and viewing so many new viewpoints.

As depressing as weirdly morbid as it is, the concept of "memento mori" can tear your life a new one if you let it. Coming to terms with how little time we have is an amazing concept, and it allows us to break free of the common tapes such as "but I really aught to experience this" or "ah, it's just disposable entertainment." Don't make excuses for letting your life clutter up with things that don't matter to you. You have the power to make your life what you want it to be, and you can make yourself a better person.

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