Living your Buried Life…

29 Jan



Do you ever feel like your Life is living you?  Like the life you intended to live somehow got buried beneath the life you have?



It’s been a while since my last post because I have been so busy.  I have been racing around, doing and accomplishing and checking off the things life demands of me.  That’s when this post came into my head and I thought it should be shared.

When we are kids, we are told we can do anything we want to do.  And we believe it.  We can’t wait to grow up and go do all the things we’re told we can do.  And sometimes we hold on to that belief through High School and maybe even College, but somewhere in our twenties Life finds us.  It steers us off course with marriage and kids and jobs too good to pass up.  And before we know it there’s a mortgage and bills and pets and insurance and we find ourselves buried beneath Life.   Most of us go on living beneath the rubble, some completely unaware, and we find we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore.  We go into “sleep mode,” working and saving for that last little bit of life, when let’s face it, some of us are too unhealthy to enjoy anyway.

We put our dreams in a box marked ‘tomorrow’ and we bury the key.

I know I am not the only one who feels this way.  There is a famous literary poem by Matthew Arnold about it called “The Buried Life,” and then a show on MTV based off that poem also called “The Buried Life.” There have been countless songs about it.  Some of my favorites are “I’m in a hurry and don’t know why” by Alabama (hear it).  “Live like you were dying” by Tim McGraw (hear it).  And one of my favorite kids songs “Fast and Slow” by Laurie Berkner (hear it).  There are whole movies also about it, “Fight Club,” and “Office Space.”

Every once in a while, when Life finds us again and awakens us from our “sleep mode” we are reminded of what is truly important.  Unfortunately it usually takes a tragedy to do this.  Illness, Death, a Close Call, and for a brief time we live life differently.  We try new things, we go new places, we cherish the ones we love, and we dust off that old hobby of ours we once thought would make us riches.  We change and we find happiness.  But if we aren’t careful, Life’s cold hand will find us again and place us back into the race of living to work and saving life for tomorrow.

When I am feeling lost and regret about all the things I haven’t done yet I remember an article I read a while back about how to find the true value in your life.  It said to do this, first ask yourself 3 questions:

Question #1:

What would you do if you had a million dollars?

Go ahead and answer, I’ll wait.

Did you answer?

My answer is probably pretty standard to most.  I would buy a slightly bigger house.  Nothing enormous because who wants to clean that?  But one that definitely has an office.  Then I would set aside money for my kid’s college.  I would travel and see all the exotic places I’ve envisioned in my head.  And I would probably start a non-profit to help keep drunk drivers off the road.  Pretty typical right?

Question #2:

What would you do if you only had 2 years to live?

Go ahead, answer.


Knowing my time is limited, I would do all the things I save for tomorrow.  I would write that book and I would publish it without fear of rejection because hey, I’m dying.  I would still travel.  I would spend money more easily, so long as I knew the people I was leaving behind were taken care of.  And I would write letters to my sons.  I would want to leave a piece of me with them for every birthday they would have without me, every celebration, and every milestone I would miss.  Suddenly the house from my millions doesn’t seem so important with only 2 years left to live.

And now the final question.  Are you ready to find out what you should be doing with your life?

Question #3:

What would you do today, if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?

Please, if you answer any of these, answer this one.


I would spend it with my family.  I would take them to one of our favorite places like the beach or river and I would just play with them.  I would laugh and cry and be entirely in that moment.  I wouldn’t be worried about the bills or dinner or the next holiday coming up.  I would just breathe them in and tell them all that I love them.  And then at night I would still write those letters of things I wanted them to know until I physically couldn’t write anymore.

You see, that last day I wouldn’t spend it vacuuming.  I wouldn’t spend it traveling to some far off land and taking pictures of the 7 wonders of the world.  I wouldn’t spend it working for a job I hate or with people I don’t like.  I wouldn’t spend it surfing the web or tweeting to my peeps.  I would spend it doing the only thing that really matters.

I know we can’t just shut off our life and live that last day every day.  But maybe in understanding why we are running the race in the first place can we start to find ourselves.  We can start to live our buried lives because none of us really know when we are living our last day.

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