We control the dash that is our life


I believe that our life is already laid out for us.

Now, allow me to elaborate more on that statement. I do not believe every action we take in our lifetime is planned, but rather, I think it is planned when we enter this chaotic world and when we exit it.

I believe this because we do not control when we come into this world. We cannot pick what decade we arrive, what country we are born in or who our parents are–that is chosen for us. And much like our birth, we cannot choose when we die.

When I state that one cannot choose when he or she dies, the obvious rebuttal to that statement is suicide. Sure, in that context, it appears people are choosing their fate, but what if they are not? What if that was the plan all along for them? What if they completed everything they were supposed to, and can now rest in peace.

When I state the span of our lifetime is already decided, I am not making such a claim solely built off religion, certain deities or even the universe. I am making my claim because I believe it is true.

In making this statement, it may seem like I am saying that we have no control over our life. However, that is not what I think.

Think of a tombstone. On a tombstone, it always states who lies beneath it, perhaps a quote on it in remembrance of the deceased, and most importantly, it states the date of birth and death. Between the two dates, there is a dash.

That dash is what we control.

Within that dash, our life happens. We get to choose how our life plays out. We get to choose how easy or hard our life will be. That dash can represent the best years a human has ever lived, or it can represent the most troubling years a human has ever lived. It is up to us to decide what that dash will represent.

In saying that we only control that dash, I am saying that no matter what we do in our life, no matter how much we abuse our bodies, we will not die until our time has come.

I do not believe research that comes out that states, “With this you will live 10 years longer!” No, I do not buy that. You may live a healthier 10 years, but not 10 years longer. We cannot decide how long we live for; we can only decide how well we live.

Think about it in this sense: someone could be a smoker for decades and live until they are 95, but a triathlon athlete can be in peak physical condition and die at 34. Within those two scenarios, which person seems to have a better chance at living a long life?

Most people would answer the athlete, and they would be right in doing so, for all science states that exercise and eating healthy is the key to a full life. Yet, I guarantee all of us know at least one person who drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney for decades, but was still kicking at the age of 90.

This example helps support my idea that we control how happy or miserable our life may be, just not when it ends. With that being said, why do more people not go out and live life?

If we all knew when we were going to die, I guarantee that people would be a lot happier in life, for nothing would be holding them back to live life to its fullest. If everyone stopped worrying about how much time they have, and started just living life, we would all be happier.

It does not seem right to state that life is too short to not live to the fullest. By my previous comments, life may be short or may not be. However, no matter how much time a person has, it seems like they will always find themselves wanting more. Keeping in mind that we only control that dash will hopefully encourage people to go out and take advantage of the time we have.

Something decides when we are brought into this world and when we are taken out, but it is up to us to control that dash, for within that dash, there lies unlimited possibilities.


Jordan Bierbrauer is the opinion editor for The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected].