Cycles, Life & Death

Everyone is different; all of us mutate slightly in different ways, and we don’t all come out identical—well, at least most humans don’t. This bundle of differences is called humanity. I guess that’s what makes it fun—a randomness factor. For some reason, I’ve never liked cycles. In a way, cycles annoy me. The irony is that over time I started to embrace routine, but not for the sake of it, but rather due to an aging body.

20 years ago, I got a gig at a car parts factory, working the night shift, packing plastic parts and cleaning floors when it was slow. The job sucked; I didn’t like working nights and going to sleep when everyone was out and about. But what bothered me the most was the job itself—the endless repetition of the same steps, over and over again, all night long and the next night and the next. It seemed like an endless cycle of doing exactly the same things over and over again.

Although I enjoy video games, the reason I don’t tend to play a lot (besides not having enough free time) is the repetitive cycle. Yes, different cycles and repetitions with a different combination of red, green, and blue on the screen, yet with sufficiently different cycles to get me bored or annoyed. There are only so many times I can go on a quest to kill 10 boars or whichever virtual animal is demanded by a virtual quest giver. Now I’m not complaining about games; I do enjoy them—I played Diablo repeatedly—I just want to point out my own personal mutation for lack of a better word.

Life itself seems annoying; it is repetitive cycles with a different given at each new start. You are 10, so you need to do this and that. You made it to 20 – education time, 30 – family time, 40 – wealth gathering time, 50 – health…, 60 – retirement… and so on. The illustration is crude but has some merit to it. Does it have to go that way? Well… no. There are different ways life can be played or be played out. Hey, remember: “live fast, die young”? – it is a viable option too. If I had a choice, I would probably go to the other extreme; let’s do the whole life thing for a few hundred years and then decide.

Human time constraints seem to put us into well-defined, optimized, and seemingly inescapable cycles. Each cycle presents its challenges, and there’s never enough time. Ricardo Semler had an interesting idea about working less and spending more time on ourselves early on and not waiting for retirement when the body is broken and tired. His arguments and ideas were very convincing! As much as I would love to implement that, I do not live in theory; bills are due, time is running, and food should be on the table. So cycles continue… meanwhile, we miss moments, and before you know it, people near and dear start to die off.

Those endless cycles of being busy, accomplishing things that seem meaningless now. If only we had more time, more time to make educated choices, more time to figure out priorities, more experience to understand what’s important to ourselves. Perhaps one day we may get more time, but for now, the only thing is to dispense it conservatively.

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