Imagine if your life experiences were all grouped together with similar experiences, one after the other. It might look something like this parable from the book Sum:
You spend 2 months driving the street in front of your house, seven months having sex. You sleep for thirty years without opening your eyes. For 5 months straight you flip through magazines while sitting on the toilet.
You take all your pain at once, all twenty-seven intense hours of it. Bones break, cars crash, skin is cut, babies are born. Once you make it through, it’s agony-free for the rest of your life.
But that doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant. You spend six days clipping your nails. Fifteen months looking for lost items.
Eighteen months waiting in line.
Two years of boredom: staring out a bus window, sitting in an airport terminal.
One year reading books.
Your eyes hurt and you itch, because you can’t take a shower until it’s time to take your 200 day marathon shower.
Two weeks wondering what happens when you die. One minute realizing your body is falling. Seventy seven hours of confusion.
One hour realizing you’ve forgotten someone’s name. Three weeks realizing you are wrong.
Two days lying.
Six weeks waiting for a green light. Seven hours vomiting. Fourteen minutes experiencing pure joy.
Three months doing laundry.
Fifteen hours writing your signature. Two days tying shoelaces. Sixty seven days of heartbreak.
Five weeks driving lost. Three days calculating restaurant tips. Fifty one days deciding what to wear.
Nine days pretending you know what’s being talking about.
Two weeks counting money. Eighteen days staring into the refrigerator. Thirty four days longing.
Six months watching commercials. Four weeks sitting in thought, wondering if there is something better you could be doing with your time.
Three years swallowing food.
Five days working buttons and zippers.
Four minutes wondering what your life would be like if you reshuffled the order of the events.
Sum is a quirky book of creative stories guessing what an afterlife might be like. This first of the forty “afterlives” described in the book caught me. Not in any spiritual way (I haven’t really been spiritual in a very long time), but in a way that made me realize how powerful it is that our lives aren’t organized into these kinds of groupings of events.
I also realized how many people live their lives as if it were organized this way.
We put a whole lot of pressure on ourselves to make the right decisions. But the right decisions don’t matter nearly as much as we make them out to, because more often than not, we’re going to get a chance to make that decision again. Probably sooner than we think.
In your personal life, in your community, in your job, career, or business – more decisions are able to be made and remade than you’re probably willing to admit. You make excuses for the decisions you’ve made as if you’re still living with them instead of looking for the next opportunity to make that decision a different way – for better or for worse.
JFDI isn’t just an excuse to say “fuck” every time somebody asks me what the tattoo on my arm means. Just Fucking Do It is my way of reminding myself to let go of what was done and doing something new.
Try. Experiment. Iterate. Being willing to make a decision and then let it go when the next decision comes along is what JFDI means to me today.
Your life isn’t the result of your decisions until you stop making decisions.
The beautify is that if you’ve already stopped – you can always start again.
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