The big picture is simple and applies to everyone: You’re going to die and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. And when you die–assuming you don’t invent something life changing or found a new religion–it will take two generations before there is no one that remembers you ever existed. Let that sink in.

The pessimists respond, “Well fuck it! Why don’t I just end it here and now?” You don’t because you still have feelings, desires, wants and needs that you can’t just shake off. It’s part of being human.

They say the only guarantees you have in life are taxes and death. Well, that’s only partially true–you can evade taxes at your own peril. I’ve known people who have never paid taxes. The government never finds out. It’s not as difficult as you think.

Perhaps they’ll continue to beat the system. They might not. But they certainly aren’t going to beat death. Then it won’t matter. Nothing matters in the long run because it’s all going to end. We don’t know what’s on the other side, but we do have some facts about this side of the equation:

  • You can’t take shit with you
  • Once you leave, you can’t check back in
  • People alive can no longer affect you
  • You can no longer affect them

Once it’s done, it’s done. With that said, how you spend the next 60-80 years is up to you. Life has no meaning in and of itself. You are born, get to kid around for a while, hit puberty and sex becomes your driving force, you may or may not reproduce and then you die.

Everything else in-between is whatever you want it to be. You’re free to do what you want knowing that in long run, it doesn’t really matter. You can lead a life full of great experiences and no regrets or you can be timid and tentative. The music will stop either way. The great Jay-Z once said, “I can’t beat death so I’m trying to beat life.”

You can smoke crack and rob people or commit to a rich and fulfilling life. I’m not telling you which to pick. My life has been such that I’ve met a lot of crackheads as well people who are successful.

Even though both are going to land of no return, the guy with more non-crack related options seemed happier. We all want to be the person enjoying life on the beach. Not sleeping in an alley coming down off a crack binge.

The natural conclusion of this line of thinking is that life means nothing. Realizing it’s a one shot deal made me place more value on things.  Life is too short for most shit. This shit includes unhealthy obsessions, interpersonal dramas, self-pity, holding grudges or sulking.

These lead to unhappiness and resentment. You will never lay on your death bed wishing you had done more of these things. You’ll wish you had spent more time happy and enjoying life. The time is gone and all that you have in your final hour are the memories of how you spent it. Hopefully, those memories are dominated by joyful experiences.

When you feel yourself getting down or stressed, just remember the Big Picture. See if you don’t feel a little better.