We’re busy. We’re tired. We have so much to do. We had dreams once, sure, but they slowly deflated. The mortgage, the kids, the job, watching TV, that’s how we fill our days.
It’s a slow downward spiral that Bruce Springsteen sang about in Racing in the Street:
Some guys they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
If you’re not that guy, you at least know him or her. They’re a mainstay of the modern world. Overworked, undersexed, overtired, and underappreciated. Facebook is to blame right? The capitalist pigs are responsible, yeah? It’s because of the 24-hour news cycle.
Certainly none of those things help, but the truth is that this is a timeless problem. It goes back much further than Bruce or even this century. Because Seneca spoke about those guys too. “How much time has been lost to groundless anguish,” he writes, “greedy desire, the charms of society; how little is left to you from your own store of time.” Wake up, he says. Stop sleepwalking. Stop giving away what you can never get back. That’s from his essay The Shortness of Life, where he tried to get the reader—as Bruce Springsteen does in his best songs—to “realize that you’re dying before your time.”
We only get one life. Once time ticks by, it never comes back. Yes, each of us will die. That’s a fact. But for the moment, we’re alive. Which is why we have to live. Which is why we have to protect our time, our dreams, our spirit. We can’t give it up piece by piece. We can’t start dying before our time.
We have to live. Now. While we still can.