Life is long


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Life is long if you know how to use it.
— Seneca

By the time I turned 29, I'd been living in LA for 4 years. Prioritizing my film editing career, I spent years honing my craft, culminating with trips to Sundance and SXSW. My overwhelming feeling after 4 years? "That sure as hell went by fast."

Damn, I’m almost 30. Where did the time go? I would often ask myself. Each time I would feel a little regretful; a sense that I wasn’t satisfied with how my life was going up until that point. I wanted to do more, but feeling like life was short, I would start to panic.

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.
— Seneca

Why was my life going by so fucking fast? After 33 years of wondering, I finally figured it out. For me, life was going fast because I was taking actions to speed up my life. Those specific actions came in the form of escaping.

 
escapism | noun: the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

 

  • Always on my phone. Countless check-ins on social media were common. I found it easier to live someone else’s life than my own.

  • Binge watching TV/Movies. Incredible thought goes into character/story development to make the audience relate to them. This results in hundreds of hours spent living vicariously through characters and stories. I found it easier to live fictional lives than my own.

  • Working too much. If nothing was going right in my life, I could always fall back on my career. Career progress gave me a false sense of fulfillment. By tying my self-worth to my career, I worked 50-70 hours a week. It consumed me, leaving me no time to live a life I actually wanted.

...when [time] is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing
— Seneca

I actively escaped my real life because it wasn’t going as well as I wanted it to. It was much easier to live a life that wasn't my own. Since I got struck by the cancer bug, I’ve put a lot of effort into creating a life I would want to live. That meant changing priorities and making sure my actions matched what I believed in.

Ever since then I’ve focused less on “escaping” and more on what is important: like Paulina, family, and health. I’m less stressed, healthier, and happier.

The interesting thing that happened was that this change slowed life down; I came to the conclusion that life slows down when you spend time on what is truly important to you. In other words, when you spend time living a life you actually want.

My life is slower but much more enjoyable. This is the type of life I could live for a long time.