66 Years of Vitality

The life expectancy for a citizen of T&T is 69 years, and even lower for men at just 66 years of life, according to data compiled by the World Bank. Pause for a moment to contemplate how you fit into that range. Let’s face it, it’s always sooner than we think. To meet reality on reality’s terms, we Trinidadians have short lives, compared with Japan, for example, that has an overall life expectancy of 86 years. 

Of course, it’s better to live a shorter blissful life than a longer miserable one, but are we really happy? I doubt that most of us are satisfied with the quality of our lives, especially as crime, traffic and pollution bleed the vitality from our small republic. 

Today there are increasingly higher rates of depression. Depression is not exactly sadness, but rather a lack of vitality. So many of us seem to be stuck in a holding pattern of living for the weekends, forced to do things that we don’t enjoy doing, so that we can survive in order to keep on doing the things that we don’t enjoy doing—selling our lives one second at a time.

When you really think about it, it’s absolute insanity. So we go on like this, and bring up our children to do the same, so that they can bring up theirs to perpetuate the cycle; just surviving, but not thriving. Where is the fun? There has got to be more to life than this!

Cleanse the subjective lens through which you view the world and try to imagine what you would like to do if money was not an issue. Imagine that there is no wrong answer to this question and that you can’t make any mistakes. When you ponder this, don’t just think, but really feel it. Be natural, just as there are never wrong or misshapen unique clouds drifting across the sky or mistakenly formed waves in the ocean.

Don’t imagine a scenario in which you knew and controlled everything, because that wouldn’t be a future, it would already be the past. Try to think of it as a surprise that you would look forward to. Now dream, imagine and envision what that possible life might be like. Consider how a tree never tries to be anything else; it excels at being a tree, thriving as it lets its universal purpose, god’s will or whatever you want to call it, unfold naturally as its leaves and branches just grow perfectly.

Where do your interests and talents converge? It doesn’t matter what it is, everyone is interested in something. If you like something, it’s only natural that you would enjoy learning more and becoming an expert at it. Once you get really good at something, you will be able to get paid well for whatever it is.

The truth is that happiness doesn’t come from success, but rather success comes from happiness. To be great, it is essential that you enjoy and revel in what you do. I have often considered that the notion of being a professional swimmer is a rather strange occupation. It’s definitely not easy, but I absolutely love it, and it is because of this love that I have managed to become great at it.

Like I said, once you become great at something, you can find a way to do it for a living. I am a living testament to this. Don’t give me any excuses either, considering that I am a professional swimmer from a country that doesn’t even have a proper pool or starting blocks.

Bees are ridiculously hardworking industrious creatures; building and defending hives, gathering pollen, making honey. 

“As busy as a bee”, however, if bees were sentient beings, and perhaps they are, I imagine that bees absolutely love what they do all day, every day. The life of a bee would be constant fun. Consuming nectar and rolling around in pollen, pollinating plants in the process would be absolute ecstasy. It would be so much fun that they would rush back to the hive to tell their friends about the good news and where to find it before heading out again.

If we in T&T aren’t going to live long, we absolutely owe it to ourselves to maximise our time on this earth and live well. I am not necessarily saying quit your miserable job just yet, leaving you out on the street, but start to research, develop and make steps towards eventually finding your bliss. 
What good is being happy if you don’t know you are unhappy? However having experienced this unhappiness in the past you will have the ultimate pleasure of being happy, while knowing that you are happy. You need to get on good terms with your own being.

As the musical culture that invented steelpan, calypso and soca music, we should intuitively sense that we need to play life like a song. The purpose of which is not just to get to the end of the short sweet song, but to harmonise with the melody, revel in each note, sing the chorus, and to express ourselves with dynamic motion, grace and energy as we dance. Even if it is just for 66 years.