“All people, no matter who they are, all wish they’d appreciated life more. It’s what you do in life that’s important, not how much time you have or what you wished you’d done.” — David Bowie
“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” — David Bowie
How did you spend your time in the last 24 hours? Did you find yourself out of your depth? Someplace exciting? I hope so. My own time was spent digging a ditch for a drainage pipe, and then filling it in again. And I tried a new way to cook bone-in pork chops and corn on the cob. On the surface, none of this is particularly exciting, but it was all unique experience compared to the norm. Life is about trying new things to see what we’re capable of, after all. Sometimes those new things seem pretty mundane.
The point is to do more things out of our comfort zone. I’ll never be a rock star, but I’ll keep trying new things in this lifetime. I can confirm that 26 meters of ditch digging teaches you a few things about yourself. There was always going to be sweat equity paid this weekend, whether a hike or a long walk on the beach. Both of those sound a lot better than digging that ditch, but I’ve done each many times in my life. The ditch informed. And now that it’s done, I will take that labor with me to the next decision I make down the road.
Choosing adventure and experience over the routine is a path towards a larger life. But so too is choosing the small challenges that everyday living presents to us. We won’t always be up on a stage with the spotlights on us, but we can all appreciate life a bit more. Doing more is the way.
David Bowie might have been a rock & roll star, but he was also an avid reader, who would look around at all the books in his library mournfully, knowing he couldn’t possibly read them all in his lifetime. We all feel that way about something in this brief lifetime. All we can do is live with urgency and celebrate what we manage to get to in our days.