Here’s a thought experiment: If you had to relive your life, but everything would happen the exact same way it did before, what would you do with that chance?
“Well, is that even a chance at all?” you might say. After all, you can’t change anything. You can’t undo any regrets. Can’t choose right when you chose wrong. Can’t fix any of the situations in which you felt the most helpless. So what is there to do?
According to the friend who shared this idea with me, you would do the only thing you could do: Savor it all a little more than you did last time.
Knowing how fleeting the entire experience has been up to now, knowing the ups that follow the downs and the downs that follow the ups, you would do your absolute best to enjoy every moment. You would try hard to be present, to soak in the beauty, and to dwell in the struggles – for each minute only happens once, each pretty sight will become a memory, and each hard-earned lesson must last as long as it can.
The question that arises from this entire experiment, then, is why don’t we do this now? Our lives unfold as they unfold. Some bits we control, others we don’t. Some choices we get right, others we don’t. Often, we must wait years to see the full picture – so why don’t we enjoy the puzzle pieces in front of us as best as we can?
Life is not a waiting room. It happens all the time, even in the moments when we most feel like we are just waiting. Those moments, too, are moments to be enjoyed, or, if they’re non-happy ones, at least savored. The next time you order a drink at the bar, trying to kill time until your friend arrives, by all means, order the usual – just please remember to ask for more joy.