I think our fear of death is the reason why we seek instant gratification and struggle to build our dreams is because they take years and years to build. Time is luxury we believe we simply don’t have. And it makes sense that we do this, after all if there is no guarantee that I am going to be here tomorrow, why not seize today and not worry about tomorrow. We are like a child at a party who has healthy eating habits at home. Put them in a room with chips and dip and they hang around what they know won’t be there tomorrow, like black flies welcome the coming of spring.
Yet, we also know that living only for today cannot really satisfy our soul. That what we don’t set out to build for the future will probably not be there when we finally arrive.
Building our lives is a lot like the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It took some three hundred years to build, but it amazes me that the people who started and the people who were building it for two hundred straight years, never got a chance to behold its beauty and marvel at their own achievement. Which means that there must be something magical about in the work we do today.
The magic is the work and not the prize at the end. That prize is for other people. It is validation that they should take a look at what we’ve been creating, but the work, and all the ups and downs that go with it are ours.
Our happiness therefore lies in the choices we make. The decision to seek something today or in the immediate future, or to hold off and build something that is impossible to behold without sacrifice. Those are the choices that face all of us.
My point of reference is my photography and my writing. It feels a little selfish to continuously write about myself, but I don’t really see anyone else stepping up to be a willing subject that shares what they feel and see. So, you’ll have to excuse my navel gazing, but it really can’t be helped.
Two years ago, when I made the decision to write, I had a lot of wonderful happy feelings, and I saw a bright beautiful future ahead of me. I saw success. I saw accomplishment, but today, all those feelings are gone. They do return once in a while, for which I am eternally grateful, but day to day, hour to hour, it is just me, a keyboard, and my thoughts.
I chose to share something for a period of five years. I am two years in, and I am wondering whether drinking wine while you make major life decisions is a good idea, but regardless, the long road has been the best thing I could have done for myself.
I write everyday because I am building something. I am putting one stone upon another. I see things resembling walls and hopefully they are strong and straight, but I cannot really see where I will be and what all this will amount to, but that’s ok.
It’s ok because I am at peace and my soul is satisfied. My heart beats meaningfully, and I appreciate life in every breath I take. You don’t get that if you choose to hover around the chip boat, you only get that, if you set out to build something larger than yourself.
Go out and build a cathedral. Go out and build something breathtaking. Build yourself. Build a world you want to see. Make a choice. Take the long road.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Peter Laster.