“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” – Albert Camus
I often laugh as I sip my morning coffee—to the extent that I’m able to remember this quote, that is.
It’s a snarky reminder that we are alive and we are faced with a choice to truly live. We tend to get distracted by the mirage of busyness, the minutiae that have us pretending to be big and famous and important.
So many of us fall into the trap of taking life seriously. We furrow our brows and clench our jaws in preparation for the next grand disaster of the day; we anxiously allot minutes and seconds to each task in our agenda with the precision of an astrophysicist.
And somewhere between our morning coffee and our nighttime anxiolytic, we forget that this is all the hokey pokey… and that’s what it’s all about!
Sometimes I take myself seriously, but most times I take myself shopping. Because horrific things happen when you take yourself too seriously. It actually sets off a cascade of crises: You start to think about how you’re not where you want to be quite yet, then your reticular activating system (RAS) runs up to the lighthouse of your mind and starts to shine a huge, gnarly beam on all of your failures, and no safety boat seems to be in sight. According to your mind, no matter how successful you actually are, you feel like you’re going to drown.
Even in the best case scenario, life will still feel heavy. When you take yourself too seriously and it works out well, you are a slave to yourself. (Congratulations, you played yourself!) You have to constantly fan the flames of your pompous ego, feeding it grapes and making sure nothing threatens its glorious self-image.
But what if you let it all go and realize that this moment right here, this is what it’s all about? That this is the elusive Hokey Pokey after all?
Well, then life becomes humorous. It becomes a constant, light-as-Starbucks-froth-on-your-latte rendezvous. Everything about it becomes fun. The fact that you are alive at all is reason enough to be perplexed and amused.
You live life for the sake of living, and in one fell swoop that annihilates the fear, insecurities, inauthentic goals, and ambitions and silences your pesky ego for good.
And you know what else? Taking life lightly allows you to chase what you really want.
Because in what will seem like a handful of days, we will all be dead. What is the use in living as though that’s already the case? As though living any life other than a daring life, is worthwhile at all?
Perhaps a good balance to strike is to shift frequently between the ultimate and the immediate to remind ourselves that we are roaming on a piece of carbon floating and twisting in the ether.