Life is too short to write blog entries. Life is too short to drink bad coffee. Life is too short to eat food you don’t like just because it’s healthy. Life is too short to work so hard you can’t even enjoy life anymore. Life is too short to spend it in bed. Life is too short for regrets and bad habits. Life’s too short to have time.
What do all these sentences have in common? They’re bloody lies!
Just like the age old “Carpe Diem” and “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”, it’s aaallll lies. Don’t believe me? Well, maybe you’ll believe Dorothy Parker:
“Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)”
See? And she’s right, you know. Life isn’t too short. It’s only short in hindsight when you’re old and selective memory paints the past in a fanciful selection of colours the likes of which it never had when it was still the present. Here’s a translation of what “Life is too short to X” means: a) “Man, I’m really old and I can’t remember how I was young and had fun, so I guess I never did, so I guess I wasted my time, hey you, next generation, don’t do that.”, or b) “I need an excuse to do Y thing when I really should do X thing” (see also: YOLO).
I can accept it as a joke. Like how my dad says, “Life’s too short to drink bad wine” before ordering the good stuff. But some people are actually serious about this. I’ve seen some people actually think life is too short.
Who says things like this? I only ever hear it from one type of person, and those are persons who feel like they should have done different things at different points in life, usually their youth, and completely forget that whatever it is they wish they’d done was not possible at that time. “I should have spent less time working.” And default on your mortgage, not be able to pay rent, or not be able to feed your kids? “I should have travelled more!” With what money? You were barely getting by as it was. “Well… backpacking!” Good idea, after all selective memory will delete all those instances of shady motels full of cockroaches, creepy truck drivers, and people who you thought were friendly stealing your money. Just to say you’ve been to X place? Who cares? It looks the same as it does on postcards, it’s not all that special when you’re really there, the only difference is the masses of tourists and the smell. Why exactly do you regret not having found out for yourself that the channels of Venice smell like sewers? “I should have spent more time with my kids!” Well… okay, yeah, maybe you should have. Maybe make amends now?
“Life’s too short to study!” Go you, bro. “Shit, I failed a class!” Go figure. “Life’s too short to regret that terrible thing I did!” Whatever you say, but a terrible mistake is a terrible mistake whether you regret it or not. “Life’s too short to commit to something!” Oh, bollocks, just come right out and say that you don’t like commitment, don’t make a philosophical thing out of it. “Life’s too short to not stop and smell the roses along the way!” Well, you go smell all you like, but some of us have work to do.
Life is not too short. If anything, it’s too goddamned long. It’s all well and good to say “Life is too short to work/study/be sober/lay around/smell roses or other plants/take a shower/be productive/not be productive/climb Mt Everest/NOT climb Mt Everest”, but barring an accident, or you know for sure you’re going to die, the next day will come whether you like it or not. You’re not in Middleearth, you’re not warring with orcs, you’ll be alive tomorrow and your essay will be due, so you might want to cut the pseudo-philosophy and get to work because life is definitely not too short for consequences. And then you’ll be sitting there, brand new day, and the next, and the next, and you won’t get anything done, and life will still be too short for you because the problem is your attitude.
It’s such a… shiftless way of thinking. So absolutely not practical. You’re not doing anything, you’re just sitting around moping and slinging platitudes. Life’s too long to sit on your ass and talk big platitudes, doesn’t that ever get boring? I’m bored already, and I’ve only been typing for ten minutes.
Because the thing you wanted to do back then? You can probably still do it now. Or you could find something different and more fun to do. (You don’t have to do the things that you think you want to do. Maybe you don’t even like travelling.) And the thing you don’t want to do right now? It’s gonna be there tomorrow, staring right at you with a really judgy stare. Taking an occasional break from responsibilities is healthy and feasible. Trying to get out of responsibilities using barely-there philosophy is not.
Do shit or don’t do shit, I don’t care. But spare me the philosophy, and own up to it either way. Don’t make this about Life itself. Make it about your life, if you have to. Maybe say “My life is too short to X”. Maybe don’t say Life, because that includes me. And I don’t wanna be included. Life’s too short for stupid bullshit.
(What? We can all agree on that, right?)
I mean, this is probably just my twenty-something cynicism talking. Maybe in 70 years I’ll be all, “Life is too short to waste it on the internet! I truly wish I hadn’t wasted so much time on the internet and instead went travelling because everyone wants to go travelling, right? Or climb a mountain, why did I never climb a mountain? Come to think of it, maybe I should have had a threesome on a mountain.”
Or I’ll still be looking at cat videos. My life’s too short to have an interesting life. (Or too long to keep it interesting for longer stretches of time, depends on how you look at it, I mean, it’s kinda like the glass-half-full-or-half-empty thing, you know, perspective. (By the way, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.))
To quote George Carlin, “It’s all bullshit and it’s bad for ya”.