My grandad recently turned 95 years young and is still going strong. It’s always a privilege to spend time with him and hear him talk about his life. He remembers the key points in his life like it was yesterday.
He will often talk about being stationed in North Africa during World War II and the time they captured a German Tiger Tank. At the time this tank outgunned anything the British had. He was part of the crew that dismantled the captured tank in an effort to learn how the germans engineered it to fire such long distances. I like to think my grandad helped win the war thanks to this tank but in reality is was down to many men and woman who willingly gave up their lives for future generations.
Gramps talks about how much snow they had in 1930 and how he met my dads mom. His decision to move to Africa with a young family and the house he built from nothing. We take international travel for granted nowadays but back then, it was a 2 month boat trip to Cape Town and then a few weeks overland to reach Bulawayo; the city where I would be born.
Not many people have the privilege of living such a long life. I’ve said goodbye to a few friends over the years. Life is frail.
If I live to be my grandads age then I have 58 years left to do my best work. 58 years doesn’t seem like much to me. My finite time on this planet is like a single breath when compared to the unending time that is eternity.
I wonder how differently we would live if we knew how short our time was.
We all have dreams, skills and talents. We’ve all been given something - no matter how big or small. We have a part to play, a mission to fulfil while on this planet.
We attach ourselves to what we do, the teams we support, our social status or the talent we have (or lack). These things often define us.
History shows us that our time here is limited. Empires have been built only to crumble in time. My time started the day I was born and this week I turned another year older. I don’t believe that when I die that is it. I believe this life is just the beginning of the story and that you and I have been born at this time in history for a reason. I can’t force anyone to believe what I believe. You may believe that when you die that is it. We all have free will. We were given free will the day we were born. Life is beautiful in this way. Choice is central to our being. We choose our path and what our lives add up to.
I think it’s important to ask yourself this question; “What is the mission of my life and what do I live for?”