How to Have it All and Lose Nothing

Hold life in your hands — but never touch it.

There it is. There’s the key to having everything and losing nothing. But what does it mean?

To begin with the first half, you’ll note the emphasis on personal (your) responsibility (hold). What you ought to do with your life should result from honest personal deliberation — not the decrees of someone else. No moral or legal authority, parent, or peer ought to direct the course of your life without you first checking such directives against your own well-thought wishes.

Yet it is not enough to simply determine personal goals — we’ve gotta work hard towards them.

I spent about three of my latter teen years bumming around Georgia and Florida, sleeping on couches and floors, sometimes even outside. I didn’t have a job and was highly dependent upon the charity of others. Finally, I decided to pursue a dishwashing job — and found I loved it. In no short time I was able to draw a simple correlation between the amount of work I put in and the rewards that came out — monetary or otherwise. Now I apply this simple math to calculating the rest of my life: increased input = increased output. And I’ve gotta press the buttons.

Before moving on, I might add that the above statement refers to managing the entirety of elements over which you have direct control. A human life is a shapeless mass that takes form during the pressures of every action it makes or suffers. Do what you can within your power, but leave the weather to the gods.

Simple enough, right?

Now to the second half. Kinda hard to shape your life without touching it, right? What I mean is that it is healthy to remain a bit removed from that masterpiece of masterpieces: the self-created life. It helps to be a little aloof, a little indifferent, to distance yourself from pains and woes you undergo.

But some say they want those pains, to savor the flavor, suffer the singe. They wanna get wet and dive right in. That works too.

However, your life is like a sandcastle, and you ought to work hard to build the best castle you can imagine — before the ocean sweeps it away. That impending tide of death might be far out from your life; it might be nearby. Regardless, in the end those waters always crash upon the castles.

But was it ever really your sand in the first place, or were you merely fiddling with someone else’s clay? As the sands of time trickle through our fingers, aren’t we merely directing their descent?

I’ve formed my own answer. Self creation is no futile enterprise; it is the whole meaning of life.

I say build away; shape that clay.
When the tide rolls in, you’ll be OK.
You never had it anyway. 

I think.