You’ll never get today back. That is a terrifying thought, at least for most of us. The fact is, most of us don’t live absolutely fantastic lives. Most of our days are mundane. Plenty of people go to work as a means of making money, not because it’s their passion or dream. Furthermore, working a job to make money isn’t something to be ashamed of.
For most of history, what we did was determined by what our parents did. Farmers farmed to survive. Art was seen as a profession of skill, not necessarily vision or creativity. Unless you want to mark off the majority of the time before now as utterly miserable, we have to realize that jobs don’t have to be our whole reason for existing.
What matters far more is our social relationships. We have a deep desire to be loved, to be in connection with other human beings. People can get drawn into some desperately dark situations because they are so hungry for the bond with another human. It’s how gangs and cults come about– the violence becomes justified in the members’ mind because they feel a relationship with those around them. Religion, ideology, community, all of these massively important concepts of influence are centered around that desire.
But sometimes what makes our days mundane isn’t the job, but the loneliness. Not everyone has the connections they long for.
It’s hard to keep going when there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for going. Add that onto the ghastly features of temporality and our own mortality, and life suddenly doesn’t seem so hopeful. What do we have in our lives that is of worth? Is life fleeting so fast that we can’t fully grasp it until it’s too late?
In the end, no. If we are lonely, we try to find friends. If we are bored, we try to find excitement. If we have the fear of being numb to life, of being unable to grasp time in its entirety, that is a hidden moment of empowerment. If you didn’t fear it, you wouldn’t know how to fight to change it. Trying to ignore our fear doesn’t make us brave, it makes us try and avoid the situation altogether. Instead, what is better for us is to try and face our reality. Whatever we do, we do it knowing that we are alive. This is the moment, you are alive whether you decide to ignore your existential crisis or deal with it. Time will pass, either slowly or fast, but it will pass.
This passing, this ending is what gives us meaning. Some people die happy, some people die miserable, but we are the ones who decide how we live our lives. We can be in the most despondent circumstances, but our struggles do not command us to be one way or another; they may pressure us significantly, and will always shape us, but there are always a few things we can control, and those are ours. “Right now” is the most magical thing to ever be, and the bewitching nature of it is something we get to enjoy every moment we exist. Yes, this day will never come back, but why should you want it? It would be boring to live it over and over, and the only way to figure out how things turn out is to live the next day.