January Life is short, as everyone knows. When I was a kid I used to wonder about this. Is life actually short, or are we really complaining about its finiteness? Would we be just as likely to feel life was short if we lived 10 times as long? Since there didn't seem any way to answer this question, I stopped wondering about it. Then I had kids.
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That gave me a way to answer the question, and the answer is that life actually is short. Having kids showed me how to convert a continuous quantity, time, into discrete quantities. You only get 52 weekends with your 2 year old. If Christmas-as-magic lasts from say ages 3 to 10, you only get to watch your child experience it 8 times. And while it's impossible to say what is a lot or a little of a continuous quantity like time, 8 is not a lot of something. If you had a handful of 8 peanuts, or a shelf of 8 books to choose from, the quantity would definitely seem limited, no matter what your lifespan was.
Ok, so life actually is short. Does it make any difference to know that? It has for me. It means arguments of the form "Life is too short for x" have great force. It's not just a figure of speech to say that life is too short for something. It's not just a synonym for annoying. If you find yourself thinking that life is too short for something, you should try to eliminate it if you can.
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When I ask myself what I've found life is too short for, the word that pops into my head is "bullshit. It's almost the definition of bullshit that it's the stuff that life is too short for. And yet bullshit does have a distinctive character. There's something fake about it. It's the junk food of experience. Unnecessary meetings, pointless disputes, bureaucracy, posturing, dealing with other people's mistakes, traffic jams, addictive but unrewarding pastimes.
There are two ways this kind of thing gets into your life: it's either forced on you, or it tricks you. To some extent you have to put up with the bullshit forced on you by circumstances. You need to make money, and making money consists mostly of errands. Indeed, the law of supply and demand insures that: the more rewarding some kind of work is, the cheaper people will do it. It may be that less bullshit is forced on you than you think, though. There has always been a stream of people who opt out of the default grind and go live somewhere where opportunities are fewer in the conventional sense, but life feels more authentic.
This could become more common.
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You can do it on a smaller scale without moving. The amount of time you have to spend on bullshit varies between employers. Most large organizations and many small ones are steeped in it.
But if you consciously prioritize bullshit avoidance over other factors like money and prestige, you can probably find employers that will waste less of your time. To not care — to move through the world without stopping to consider how others might judge — was the rarest gift, and Alex shared it with me. But now, 25 years later, that freedom I once wanted so badly for myself was infuriating. Suddenly, the orange curve of light in the sky was gone. Over the loudspeaker, the physics teacher announced it was safe to take off our eclipse glasses.
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There was a collective gasp. My head shook back and forth in denial, even though I knew what I was looking at. There is no comparing a partial solar eclipse to totality. All I could think about was the gaping hole in the world where the sun was supposed to be, the black disc surrounded by a ring of undulating white threads of fire that moved the way cream does when you pour it into coffee. It was too much, almost intolerable to look at — I had to look away, and then back again immediately.
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It was impossible, and yet there it was. And then, something shifted. Somehow it felt as if the eclipse had always been there, and that the world would always be this way. The-two-and-a-half minutes of totality stretched into a new, seemingly eternal inside-out reality. Until an enormous drop of sunshine erupted on the edge of the black hole and grew bigger. Just seconds before, time had slowed to a halt, and now it sped up a thousand times. Already the sun was blinding. I felt as if I had been hit in the chest.
How could I care what other people thought when the whole sky had just been turned inside out, when time had sped up and slowed down, when the world had become impossible in a split second and then mundane again?
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung argued that when we fall in love with someone, what we really fall in love with are the characteristics that are in us, but that, for whatever reason, we cannot access. What I love in Alex — that ability to not care what other people think — is something I want for myself. I have experienced that utter lack of self-consciousness only three times in my life: When I fell in love 25 years ago, the months I had untreated postpartum psychosis, and the two-and-half minutes of the eclipse. Three times reality flipped.
So how could this be? I appreciate your advice and would LOVE more of it. Nov 23, AM. Nine free short stories by four different authors so far here. Please feel free to leave comments about them in this thread, but would also really appreciate some comments directly on the site. Dec 29, AM. Hello all- just finished a short story it's free - women's fiction.
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Heartbroken, she flees to Las Vegas to recover from her failed relationship. Once there, she partakes in all that Las Vegas has to offer. Her adventures lead her to make a life changing decision that she never expected. I plan on developing the story further and appreciate any feedback. Thank you. Jan 01, AM. I am looking for honest reviews of my romance novella "Love Me Baby.
Love Me Baby is a cute romantic short story. The romance novella vividly describes an intriguing tale of love, passion, and desire between 3 individuals, a breathtakingly hot single dad Alan, his sexy model girl friend Pixie, and his young and beautiful assistant Lily. Jan 07, AM. My romantic short read "Love Me Baby" is free on Amazon.
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