“This is the number one rule for your set
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets
On the, rise to the top, many drop, don’t forget
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets” – Regrets – Jay-Z
When I think of a placeholder, I think of the bookmarks or old cards that I use to mark my pages when I am reading a book. Yes, I am one of those old school people who still read paper books. The placeholder serves a simple function. Keep my place in the book so I don’t forget where I am and more aesthetically I don’t have to bend the pages to accomplish the task. Recently, I have given more thought to the idea of placeholders and what it means for our lives outside of the pages of our recent novel. They are for the most part innocuous items but when we use placeholders of a metaphorical type in our lives it can lead to unseen problems. You see, placeholders are great for keeping our page in a book, but they are far less effective when used to keep us from living remarkable lives. Placeholders can mange to hold us still while we miss out on living. No facet of our lives is immune and how we work, play and love are areas of high risk when it comes to holding our place.
“In your real life treat it like it’s special
In your real life try to be more kind
In your real life think of those that love you
In this real life try to be less blind” – This Is The Life – Living Colour
This is it. What are we waiting for? If you’re standing still then you are falling behind is the only mantra to be heeded. We waste our time. We procrastinate. We do not live up to being our best selves. Placeholders keep us seeking a future time and place to do what it is we have always wanted to do. In our professional lives, we stay in careers that do not fulfill us. We are making a living but we not making a life. Many keep their heads down and toil in service that is neither worthy of them or even remotely close to what they would most love to do. The popular refrain of “waiting for the right opportunity” is that placeholder rearing its complacent little head. Our holidays are pushed further and further into some indefinable future. All the while we take on more work and more responsibilities that actually disconnect us from the life we want to lead rather than leading us to it. Our love lives hold no more promise. Many of us remain in relationships not because of an enduring passionate love but because it feels safe..the ultimate placeholder. Our fear dictates rather than going out and looking for the person that is best suited to complete us that we maintain the status quo. Going down a familiar and untenable path is preferred than taking a different tack to find the love of our lives. All of these placeholders must be eliminated if we’re to truly capture the essence of living before it’s too late.
I have seen friends leave me. I have lost two close friends in the prime of their lives and nothing prepares you for that. In both cases, I didn’t see it coming. There is nothing like loss to put things in perspective and no matter what you can never be prepared. No one could have told me my last time with my friends was going to be my last time with my friends but it was. It’s a well work cliché to treasure each moment because it could be the last. Of all clichés this is the one that is most relevant. We have to cherish our moments because our lives are ultimately a collection of these moments. It is too fragile and beautiful a thing to put on hold…
“The future is no place to place your better days” – Cry Freedom – Dave Matthews Band