“Where’d It All Go?”

Your life and how long it feels consists of the amount of memories you create and the amount of things that you do. Therefore, if you wake up and do the same thing every day for the next forty years, time will fly by. However, if you get out and explore the world and build things, well then you will have lived a long life.

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About eight months ago I thought up a scenario that has stuck with me. It shook me to my core and has compelled me to strive to do great things. Truthfully, when I am not wanting to do things like get up at 5:00am and go to the gym, I simply say to myself “where’d it all go?”. Let me explain.

I see a man who is about 50 or 60 years old. His body is reaching worsened states of breaking down, he surely doesn’t get around like he used to. And even like he used to wasn’t much. He’s been through two marriages, both failed due to his alcoholism and settling for the wrong women. But you’ll never hear him own both of those thoughts.

This is David.

David has been an accountant for the same company for 32 years. And he’s had the same cubicle for 18 of them. David has lived in the same surrounding area for all of his life, not always with enjoyment. He at one point wanted to move away to the east coast, but it just wasn’t in the budget during his first marriage and he didn’t want to take the financial risk. However, when he was married, he would take family vacations every few years down to Destin, Florida because that’s all they could afford. David has lived his life very safely, must be the accountant in him.

Despite David being an accountant, he never really saved much for the future. A great deal of his money goes to lotto tickets and booze. Being within a few years of retirement, he still owes quite a bit on his house, as well as a bit of credit card debt, but that’s always been the case. Conscious spending was never something that David prioritized because he thought there would always be time to save in the future.

David also had this thought process when it came to starting his own small business. It was a dream of his to open his own accounting firm. However, things just always seemed to be too busy at work, and by the time he got home at night he just wasn’t in the mood to work any more. So he would enjoy a few beers, and then head to bed to do it all again the next day. The business was put on the back burner for a few years. And then for a few more years.

So one day David decides to break out the photo albums. He browses through looking at all of the memories that he’s created throughout the years. Initially, he thinks upon all of the good memories that he’s had. He reflects how quickly time has passed on by. However, that soon fades because that list is fairly limited. Next comes the broken memories. The loss, the divorce, the relationships that he has been a part of that have failed. The people he’s let down, and the promises he has broken. He continues browsing through and he eventually finds a journal entry from when he was 23 years old.

The journal entry details the places he would like to travel in the world some day. “Egypt, man I always wanted to go to Egypt and see the pyramids” He thinks to himself. Later throughout the journal entry, he finds a business model for the accounting firm that he had the best of intentions of starting someday, as well as a love letter from Laura, who at the time was the love of his life. In his eyes, the one that got away.

It hits him like a ton of bricks. David breaks down, and starts crying.

Where did all this time go? I was supposed to do so many great things. I wanted to see Egypt, and Rome. Oh man I wanted to see those pyramids. I was supposed to build a business. But I never did because I was scared of failing and losing everything. So I stayed in that fucking job that I hated. And I never tried boxing even though it was my dream to win a boxing match. I can still picture the crowd cheering for me. But I never did because I was always too scared that people would judge me for not knowing what I was doing. I married two of the wrong women and never approached the right ones because I was too scared of rejection. Where’d all the time go?”

David has realized the harsh reality that so many only realize when it is truly too late. David now realizes that he has wasted the opportunity of life. He has had the privilege of growing old, and has the audacity to ask “Where’d it all go?” after recognizing that he has wasted all of it. He has lived a life based off of fear, so he never took any chances, or risks. He never executed or took action in his life, so therefore he was never given any true rewards. He is sixty years old with nothing that defines him other than his bad habits and broken promises. And the worst part is, he has recognized it with absolutely nothing that he can do to change it.

I would advise you to live your life the opposite of David. The truth is, most of us still do without recognizing it because it is happening in the now, only to later realize it when it is too late. We make excuses for not executing, and not chasing our dreams aggressively. Let me make this very clear to you younger readers. Failure is a teacher, and should be welcomed gracefully. You will get no reward in life without risk, and taking chances. So take the trip, approach the girl, fight the fight, and go out with a bang.

I will leave you with this.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! what a ride!”

Hunter S. Thompson

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