All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
"Ahhhh", he yawns as he groggily tears himself away from the comfort of his bed and walks into the bathroom. He brushes his teeth as he gazes at his reflection in the mirror. Wow, my acne looks terrible… he thinks to himself, I can't go to school looking like this. What will everyone think?6
He went to school and had a normal day. While at school he dreamt of being at home so he could "have a life", at home all he did was watch T.V. During school that day he acted how he would always act, talked to who he would always talk to, and never left his comfort zone. After school, he goes straight home. Some days he imagines himself having a fun, socially fulfilling and awesome life, but not today…tomorrow? Always tomorrow. He has a few friends, gets good grades, plays basketball on the weekends; everything is fine.
Fast forward 10 years… Ben is a tall, handsome man with sleek brown hair and piercing brown eyes. Ben lives in a small house on a dirt road, about ten minutes away from the local connivance store. He lives in a somewhat secluded suburb where life is slow and not much ever changes. Ben finds himself working at the 7-11 on Cob Creek Road in Ontario, Canada. "CHACHING", the cash register groans on as a customer purchases a pack of cigarettes. Ben desperately watches the clock; minutes become hours, hours become days, and days become months. Ben notices some kids shoplifting but does nothing to stop it. After he gets off work at 5, Ben goes to the gym. Sometimes at night Ben and his friends will go out. This life seems to drone on and on.
It started just like any other day; Ben went to work and got off at five. However, after work he had a doctor appointment. The doctor walked into the room talked to Ben for a few minutes then left. Everything jolted to a stop as cold sweat rolled down Ben's neck. He seemed to almost fade out of consciousness. His brain stopped its incessant thinking and worrying. Suddenly, Ben felt as if he had been awakened from hibernation for the first time in years. He was going to die and he knew this, yet somehow he felt more alive than he ever had before.
Ben was wheeled into the intensive care unit for cancer treatment. In order to get his three months of life, they would have to operate. Otherwise, the cancer would kill him within days. The nurses left him there and went out of the room. Ben was still frozen in shock. The sound of laughter broke Ben's paralysis.
"You just had a near life experience, eh?", Ben heard a voice next to him.
A voice chuckled. This was not the courtesy laughter everyone forces to be polite, thought Ben. It sounded so raw…so real…it was strangely refreshing. Ben responded in shock,
"Huh?” Ben replied.
"You see most people are never really alive, they are just waiting silently to die.", the man in the cot next to Ben said.
Confused, Ben said "How do you mean?"
The man goes off on a rant to Ben, "Take Bob, the middle aged man. He hates his job, his boss, but goes to work anyway. After a grueling day at work, he comes home to be with his family and kids. His kids don't care; they're playing video games or smoking pot. His wife isn't that enthused about his return home either. She says, Bob is just so emotionally distant. Bob is just a nice guy. It's not his fault. Bob plans to retire at 60 and live until he is 100. But when people ask, he always says he will live until he is 80 of course. Bob still has dreams, just like when he was a kid. Dreams of being batman or a rock star, but they will never come true. He will keep going to his cubicle and coming home to the same unfulfilling life day after day after day until he finally dies without ever truly experiencing life."
“Um…..ok.” Ben uttered, dumbfounded.
That night, Ben thought, Just in case I do die soon, what do I wish I had done before I died? Ben imagined himself a rich, successful CEO with a Ferrari, mansion and a trophy wife. But none of that seemed to make him feel happy. The next day, Ben went to work, punched his boss in the face and then left. It felt good to do what he wanted. He went home soon after. So this is what it is like to be retired, Ben sat in his yard for what seemed like hours, doing absolutely nothing. All the while feeling the most intense peace and joy he had ever felt. He no longer craved things to make him complete, a girlfriend or a new car for example.
Ben was reminded of a quote from the movie, Fight Club, “It’s only after you have lost everything that you are free to do anything”. All the egotistic bull c*** running through Ben’s head all the time seemed to come to a halt. Ben wanted to be a house DJ and tour the world soaking up glory and having a great time. Sometime after realizing this Ben was frustrated that he still had not accomplished his dream, his time left to live was dwindling. The simple truth of the matter is that life is not like a Rocky movie. There is no training for a few hours and then accomplishing a goal. Goals are accomplished by the forming of daily habits that compound over the years to a substantial skill.
Ben came home one day and opened his door. “SURPRISE!” a group of people yelled. Ben’s friends Jacob and Sarah had thrown a going away party for him of sorts. Ben said good bye to all of his friends and spun at his party. In the end Ben never became a great house DJ but he practiced everyday until he died.