I read this story recently about a man who went fishing in his boat. After some waiting, something tugged on the line. He got it out.
He saw the fish had silver and gold-coloured fins. It was very beautiful. He put it in the boat, even as the fish started struggling for life.
Then, to his surprise, the fish spoke, “Let me go into the river. Just put me back in the water. I will give you three wishes. You can ask for anything but put me back in the water now.”
The man thought for a few minutes. The fish was struggling for life, getting weaker and weaker.
Then he said, “Okay make it five wishes, I’ll let you go.”
The fish said, “No, three.” Its voice was already weak.
The man then thought for a few more minutes and said, “Okay four-and-a-half.”
The fish was very weak, but managed to say, “No, only three, I can do only three.”
Then the man again said, “Okay let’s make a deal – four.”
The fish didn’t say anything.
It was dead.
I remember this story on my birthday today. Birthdays, after all, serve as reminders that life isn’t standing still and is, in fact, passing by quickly.
Turning forty-one has made me look back and reflect on the last four decades of my life. And like I have done over the past few years – see here, here, here, here, and here – I wanted to share one key life lesson – the 41st lesson – that has guided my life over the past few years.
And that lesson is to live life as it is, without trying to deal with it.
Life is short. It is just slipping all the time. And if we use our limited time here trying to make deals with it, it will be over before we know what’s happening.
Instead of regretting about the past and worrying about the future, if we put all our attention and energy towards living in this moment – which is all that we have – and working on our inner wellbeing – which is all what we can control, whatever the situation – that should be a life well lived (not dealt with, but lived).
As I look back at these forty-one years, I have run into quite a few bumps and climbed over a few mountains. And who hasn’t?
But the fact that I have survived to tell you the tale makes me realize how lucky I am to be here, right now, writing these words. And how grateful I should be, every waking moment, for this miracle called “life,” instead of trying to make deals with it.
Who knows how many birthdays I will see?
Let me not waste time dealing, only living.