People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly. ― Andy Warhol
“How can I defend the rights of other people’s lives if I have no knowledge of how to live myself?”
I have long since forgotten the young lady’s name, so I’ve no idea where her path has taken her, but her statement has stuck with me. Her insight at such an early point in her life was astonishing. Too often, especially when the intent is good, we become so concerned about what other people are doing that we pay little or no attention to the fact that our own life is passing us by. We reach middle age, or later, realize that the flexibility of our youth is gone, and try to compensate with the time we have left, not knowing how much time that may be.
While millennials have been roundly criticized by their predecessors as being too slow to grow up and take responsibility for their lives, perhaps they have more sense than their elders did in their twenties. Young adults today are more likely to postpone marriage and families and long-term responsibilities for one primary reason: they want to experience life before doing so becomes an act of chasing old regrets.
Time is not nearly on our side as much as we may think. Accidents have always been a risk as long as humans have existed, but an increasing risk is what we are doing to ourselves. Just yesterday, a 24-year-old reporter and a 26-year-old cameraman left television station WDBJ for what they thought was a routine interview, shot live for the station’s morning show. They had no way of knowing their lives would be taken from them on-air. Later yesterday, in Sunset, Louisiana, the lives of a mother and a police officer were unexpectedly cut short. The United States has now had more mass shootings this year (247) than there have been days in the year (238). That we are the only Western, allegedly civilized, country to have such a problem is damning.
I firmly believe that people who understand how to live life neither interfere with nor take the lives of others except as a legitimate act of self-defense. People who learn how to live do not threaten the lives of others. While there are no one-word or single-action solutions to any of the social problems we face, there is something to be said for removing oneself from the mayhem and focusing on living one’s own life. Don’t just learn to live a little; learn to live a lifetime. One never knows what day opens the last page. Embrace each moment.