(Wherein our intrepid hero continues on the long march into extinction)
I am 23 today. 23 on the 23rd. This is (I am reasonably assured) a once-in-a-lifetime event. This is of course true; I shall never again actually turn 23 on the 23rd. I’ll turn 24 on the 23rd, (hopefully) I’ll turn 32 on the 23rd (hopefully… I guess?) but never again 23. Perhaps one day I shall turn 84 (which is the year of my birth) and who knows, maybe one day I’ll be celebrating my 2311th birthday, on 23/11 – in the year 4295. But this specific occurrence, shall never happen again – special, eh? Well… the thing is, technically every moment is a once-in-a-lifetime event. 12:47 on Thursday the 14th of January, 1988 was a moment that will, according to the inescapable laws of physics, never happen again. Oh, there are things that happened then that will happen again – I’m pretty sure, for instance, that I drew breath at that point, but the exact moment itself will never happen again.
So what qualifies one particular moment as notably once-in-a-lifetime? I mean, should I really be getting so excited about a day in which I will spend 8 hours in an office, just because of some numeric coincidence? I went to 5 parties in a row last Saturday, surely that’s a little more notable? The fact is, these distinctions are arbitrary, and, frankly, unhelpful. As I said, every moment of your life is a once-in-a-lifetime event – and they should be treated as such. By acting as though only certain moments are important, we give ourselves the freedom to waste the rest of our time, because “it doesn’t matter”. We waste far too much time in our lives, and tend to leave everything to the last minute; is that really how you want to look back on your life, the same way you look back on that essay that you did the night before it was due because you spent your time sitting on the couch watching re-runs of M*A*S*H? I mean, sure, you passed, but really, don’t you wish you tried a little harder? Are you really happy just shooting for a pass? When I first thought about “23 on the 23rd” I thought “cool, I should throw an especial party!” when really, I should have been thinking “That’s an interesting anecdote that I’ll be able to share at whatever party I end up at tonight, as I’ll naturally not be wasting my time sitting around at home.“
So stop wasting time! You only get one life, and the only way to screw it up is by not even trying!
P.S. – Party at my place! When? Whenever!