First, I stared at the blank pages of my notebook. I began writing this post without a clear idea of where I was going, but I knew what I wanted to say and the message I wanted to communicate to my readers. As one can imagine, several versions of this post are in my notebook, with notes in the margins and lines drawn through entire paragraphs and several rewrites. Some crumpled-up versions also have a final resting place in the garage bin.
Laughingly, I think this version should find a peaceful resting place in the bin, but what reason do I have to hide the randomness of my thinking?
The backstory to this post: throughout my life, I have observed many people making significant sacrifices for others without a second thought about themselves. Indeed, these actions are noble and worthy of adoration.
Then, recently, I was reading Seneca's book On the Shortness of Life and read the quotation, “The part of life we really live is small.”
Seneca explained further that once we live this small portion of life, what is left is not life but time. I reflected on these words to mean we should capitalize on our prime years. Consequently, we do not spend our remaining "time" with regrets about what we could and should have done in our prime years.
Is Seneca encouraging a thorough deliberation of how we are living, or is he speaking from the perspective of an older man who is beginning to question his mortality and life's work?
So, I began to think of all the people I knew who lived in their prime years in support of others. I am not questioning their decisions but curious about their present musings. It could have been their love language is acts of service. They showed appreciation and love for others with their actions rather than words.
I suppose while they were living their prime years in support of others, that is what they wanted to do. However, I cannot help but consider how they felt in private or if this supporting role stifled their aspirations. Could it be they were leading but not from the front?
I pose the question below for those of us still living the small part of life before all we have left is time.
How long before you stop shrinking to fit into spaces and places that don’t suit you or your personality?
Instead of living your life, you have become an extra in someone else's life. You learn to perfect the role of the background actor. Consequently, where you are placed is determined by the director, in the person whose shadow you unwittingly find yourself standing.
Like movie extras, you have no lines. Having a non-speaking role means you have no voice of your own. You are a placeholder. Initially, the relationship was mutually beneficial, but slowly, you feel stifled in your backup role. The role as extra is yours to make your own if you desire the part, but if you intend to lead, you will have to step into the spotlight and learn to be comfortable with what leading represents.
Live life entirely because, at some point, all you have is "time."
Empowering Minds. Inspiring Lives.