Imagine you’re at the end of your life, and you decided to write an autobiography about it. What would matter and what would you want to be included?
I remember talking about this with a friend back in middle school. It’s a vivid conversation for me to this day. I remember discussing jobs, making lots of money, and of course, girls. At the time I had a crush on three different girls in my class, and they all really stressed me out. I told my friend about how each one would probably get a few pages in my book; one in particular being deserving of her own chapter in fact.
Of course, I couldn’t be more wrong. All it took was the arrival of high school a year later for these girls, and their impact on my life, to disappear entirely. Few pages each in my autobiography? More like zero combined.
I lacked perspective on what really mattered. A middle school crush ranks pretty damn low in the grand scheme of things, but I couldn’t realize it at the time. I was young, naive, and had a small view of the world. But just as the current 24 year old me is looking back at the 12 year old with disbelief, I’m sure my future 36 year old counterpart will do the same.
Perspective is difficult, but it’s perhaps one of the most important things we can try to find. Separating the things that matter from those that don’t is a life long process; but I believe it’s a process that is ultimately the key to fulfillment and happiness. Think about all the things that are on your mind everyday. Which one of those truly matter? Which don’t?
Every moment of our lives is a possible inclusion in our autobiographies. But not every moment can fit. We have to be selective in the things we deem important and write about. If you don’t want to have an entire chapter about spilled milk, stop living like it deserves one.
What truly belongs in our autobiographies? I don’t know yet. And I bet you probably don’t either. But I do know what doesn’t belong. Minor setbacks. Toxic relationships. Anything unnecessary that doesn’t bring joy.
Perspective isn’t found in a day. But the best time to start looking is today. Write the autobiography that you deserve.