Naked and screaming you arrived: a living, breathing organism made of flesh, skin, and bones on a rock spinning a thousand miles per hour as it levitates around a giant ball of fire in an infinite universe of exploding stars, black holes, and interstellar nebulae. You arrived in your physical form with a body to explore with, a head to think with, and time to play with; time that is, to undertake the brief, a bittersweet journey that we call life. Planet earth is the stage for that journey, a playground of immense beauty where there are endless possibilities and where one thing can’t be denied, that from the day we are born til the day that we all die, life here is an opportunity.
It is an opportunity for us to come to terms with the mind-blowing scenario of life on this floating rock and decide how we are going to make the most of it. To decide how many of our dreams we are going to follow; to decide how many places we are going to visit; to decide how any professions we are going to undertake; to decide how many people we are going to share our journey with. Life is an opportunity, a chance to make our lives extraordinary and daring; a chance for all of us to push the lever of life down hard, chase the horizon, and explore our wildest dreams. Life is an opportunity.
Yet, when one looks at the world and society, how many people can honestly say they are pushing the lever down hard? Who are doing all that they can to make the most of their existence in the universe? Who are either chasing or living their dreams?
We are all different, and one person’s version of a life well-lived is different to another’s, but so commonly as individuals we are dis-empowered and discouraged to neglect our dreams and passions (no matter how ridiculous they are) in order the be molded and shaped by the cultures in which we are raised to live a life that is just “okay” and “safe.” We forget that life is an opportunity and do things not because it’s true to our own nature, but in order to keep up with culture; to do something because everybody else “does that” and because other people expect it of us. We dis-empower ourselves, forget the extraordinary reality of our existence on the levitating rock, and don’t take full advantage of the opportunity of life.
That is why every now and again, one of us has to come forward from the herd and remind people that they are all individuals; that they are free, free to chase their dreams and dance the ridiculous dance of life in an infinite universe, free to abandon ideology and a culture that is oppressive to the true nature of the individual self. That they are free to realize once more that life is an opportunity for the artist to create beautiful works of art, for the athlete to set new records, for the scientist to make new discoveries, for the builder to create new structures, for the explorer to explore new places. It is a moment in time where the individual has the brief period of a few decades to make the most of their ticket in the playground of planet earth. And not to let any external force, any culture or any ideology hinder his or herself in any way.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. stood up to fight for the freedom of black Americans, he knew that he would put himself in grave danger, but he also knew life was an opportunity. When Mark Zuckerburg dropped out of one of the world’s top universities to create the world’s largest social network, he faced failure and ridicule, but he also knew life was an opportunity. When Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first ascended Mount Everest, they knew the immense dangers involved, but they also knew life was an opportunity. They knew that such an existence is precious and finite and thus an opportunity to go all the way. To stand up for humanity and push the boundaries of exploration, passion, and adventure.
And so, just like them, it is down to each and every one of us to decide at what length we want to explore our passions and dreams, no matter how big or small they may be deemed. It is down to us to look in the mirror, gaze into the eye of self and say: What am I doing right now to live my life the best I can? What am I doing this week that keeps me on track to taking full advantage of this extraordinary reality I am a part of? Ultimately, what am I doing to go all the way in this magical and beautiful world?
Because, as far as we know, there is only one life. So push the lever down hard; make the most of it. Explore. Dream. Discover. Create.
This is your opportunity.