“Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. And if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”– Ziad K. Abdelnour
A young new mother hurriedly dropped off her toddler at daycare, only able to speak for a short minute before she ran off to catch the train. On that ill-fated day, the train crashed. Struggling for life, a bystander comforted her. “Think about your family,” she said. “About your children and your friends. You are loved.” She did her best to hold on, but the pain was too much. She was gone.
While this story made headlines when a New Jersey commuter train crashed into a platform, it’s but one of many other perilous sagas where life is cut too short and our friends or loved ones are taken away due to illnesses, violence, accidents and natural disasters, just to name a few. The point? Life is so precious that rather than allowing the sands of time to slip through our hands, we have to seize the moment.
Yet, we have difficulties with enjoying what we have in the present. We often find ourselves longing for something else, never really savoring what we have right now, in this very moment. And, often, it takes some calamity or major strife for us to realize the fragility of life, and just how precious we all are in the eyes of someone near and dear to our hearts.
It shouldn’t take massive amounts of pain to open our eyes to the beauty of what we have. We tend to allow the miracles that are happening all around us to fall by the wayside as we sit in wallow, immersed in fear, replete with stress and anxiety. No, it shouldn’t work like that. But we all know that it does. We all take this precious life for granted at one point or another in our lives. Yes, all of us.
However, if you’ve landed here, then there’s a reason why you’re reading these words. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. No matter what it is, there’s a divine purpose. We might not always realize it at the moment, especially when we’re dealing with massive amounts of pain or failure, but there is.
And the simple fact will always remain that no matter what happens — no matter what trials or tribulations you have to dredge through — that life will always be precious. We just have to find the good in every moment, no matter how meek or meager it might seem to us, because everything in life is subjective, gleaned upon by the status quo in our lives.
The problem with that? We don’t look to what we have. Rather, we’re deluged with a flood of thoughts immersed in what we don’t have. We envy others for enjoying success and the fruits of their labors while we live in a tormented state of pity, regret and anger. It bothers us when people around us succeed. It bothers us that our seemingly small problems seem so big.
Why Life Is So Precious
Today, right now, at this very moment, there are people enduring a tremendous amount of strife. Not just afar in places like Syria or North Korea, but in our very own backyards. When you stop to think about it for a moment, there is an enormous amount of pain and suffering happening everywhere. The sheer enormity of it all can certainly feel overwhelming.
However, the plight of others should remind us about the importance of the simple beauties and treasures in our own lives. Instead of looking to the haves, we must look to the have-nots as a reminder of what we do have rather than what we don’t have. We have to get off the Hedonic Treadmill and become more attuned to the preciousness in every moment of time.
The fact of the matter remains that we’re here one moment then gone the next. If we spend that infinitesimal amount of time steeped in worry and negative emotions, we’ll never realize the miraculous gift of life that we’ve been given. If you stop to think about the probability of life and our own existence, you’ll realize why every moment needs to be savored and treated like it could be our last.
However, all of this is just talk. To the person who’s suffering through the torment of failure or has entirely lost hope in life, these are just words. The words might invoke some emotions, but they’re ultimately overpowered by the burden of thousands of pounds of problems resting like the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Yet, no matter what the present situation might be in your life — no matter how many problems might exist — this too shall pass. And in that time, your faith must remain unwavering. You must rely on God, Allah, Buddha or whoever it is that you call your creator, even if it’s just the spiritual, universal energy that binds us all.
Here are some of the most important reasons why life is so absolutely precious, and why, no matter what your problems might be right now, that the quicker you look at the positives rather than the negatives, the sooner you’ll feel that cathartic cleansing that comes along with pure, unadulterated gratitude for this miraculous journey that we call life.
#1 — Whatever it is that we focus on, we move towards
The thing about life is that whatever we tend to focus on, we move towards. When we think that life is a curse or merely a painful struggle, we manifest that more into our lives. We find more experiences that help to prove that theory over time. With every additional experience, and every added ounce of focus towards that end, we continue its manifestation into our lives.
When you realize that life is precious, you also look at everything with childlike pleasure, as though you were experiencing it for the first time. It shouldn’t take a near-death experience or some other major calamity in life to realize how important human life is no matter what our present situations, skin color, religion, gender, or what anything else is for that matter.
#2 — There is a reason for every failure we experience in life
Oftentimes, when we fail, we have difficulty realizing just how precious our lives might be. We focus on the failures and it consumes us, eating away at us mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. But life’s failures aren’t designed to do that. They’re designed to allow us to grow and learn invaluable lessons that can only be gleaned through those very failures.
However, failure at anything, no matter how big or small it might be, should help to open our eyes to the absolute importance of what we’ve been given — a chance to live, breathe and experience life in the physical realm. Never take that for granted no matter how bad your failures might be nor how small they might make you feel. There’s a reason for it all.
#3 — Pain makes us stronger and more aware
Even in situations of great pain and anguish, we should realize the fragility of life, its importance and its meaning. While pain can dampen the body, it enriches the mind over time. Through pain we grow and learn. We become more aware of our surroundings and gain a deeper understanding of the purpose of our lives.
No matter what occurs, nor how much pain it inflicts, it should help enhance our awareness of whatever it is that want or desire. Pain can dramatically change the course of our lives, but oftentimes, it’s a refinement of direction. Don’t allow pain to destroy you; rather, allow it to uplift you and make you realize just how important life really is.
#4 — Life is a beautiful, miraculous gift that needs to be savored
When you stop to think about it for a moment, we are but a blip in the annals of time. Modern humans have lived for around 50,000 years, but our species evolved some 200,000 years ago. However, modern recorded history is just 2,000 years old. And the universe is 13.8 billion years old. We’re pretty significant on the scale of time.
I say that primarily to highlight that life is a beautiful gift. It’s a one-in-a-zillion chance that we’re alive here, living and breathing, on this earth. Somewhere out there, there might be millions of other planets just like ours with denizens going about their lives, unaware of everything else transpiring in the universe. But, you are also you, a unique person with unique gifts and experiences. Savor and cherish every moment of it. Don’t let it go wasted.
#5 — Gratitude is the pathway to hope
When things don’t quite go according to our plans, we lose hope. When everything around us is shattered into a million little pieces, it’s hard to keep an elevated spirit. But, rather than fill our minds with negativity, we need to be grateful for what we do have, no matter what it is. Because, through gratitude, we appreciate the beauty of the lives we’ve been blessed with.
Gratitude is also the pathway to hope. When we’re grateful, we move out of a state of fear, and move into a state of love and compassion. We can be more sympathetic and empathetic, and those positive energies rejuvenate and replenish the spirit rather than taking away from it.
#6 — We’re here today, but we can be gone tomorrow so live life to the fullest
You hear all the time on the news about peoples’ lives being cut short. Whether it happens in a major catastrophic experience that affects hundreds of thousands of others, resulting in countless deaths, or it happens silently at night during sleep, life is just too short to spend it steeped in worry.
We’re here today, but tomorrow we can be gone, so we have to appreciate what we have in the here and now, and learn to live life to the fullest. Remove all negativity and hate from your life, and forgive those around you for whatever it is they might have wronged you for. You don’t need to forget. Just forgive. It will lighten the load and make you further appreciate the fragility of life.
#7 — All of us are on unique journeys in life and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others
We often fail to appreciate just how precious life is when we compare ourselves to others. Whether we compare financially or through some other aspect, we look to what we don’t have rather than what we do. There will always be people to compare to and who are more successful or powerful or attractive or whatever else you might have. But you can’t compare yourself to them.
Your life is unique. You’re on a unique journey, meant to make unique discoveries in life. Your time shouldn’t be spent dwelling on what you don’t have. Appreciate the journey. Literally, take a walk and small the roses. That’s what matters. But don’t compare yourself to others if you want to have any semblance of happiness or peace whatsoever. Happily succeed rather than trying to succeed to be happy.
#8 — You are 6 feet above ground right now, that’s what matters
Life is precious because it was given to us as a gift. We are here for a purpose. And, as long as we are 6 feet above ground, we have the opportunity to make the most of the life that was given to us. Right now, others are not so lucky. People are dying every moment, and someone is losing a loved one or friend. Even if that’s happened to you with someone close, you’re still here. You’re reading these words right now.
Being 6 feet above ground is an important distinction to make. It’s an awareness that will give you perspective on life and all the things around you. There are billions of souls on this planet just trying to make it in life and are so immersed in their goals or problems that they never actually stop to realize that they’re alive right now. You’re still here and you have the chance to make the most of it right now and be happy in this very moment, not at some point down the line.