You never realize that life is short and it is meant to be lived. Instead, you are immersed in stress, anxiety and fear. Fear. That is a word that you live and die by. Not physically. But emotionally and mentally. Even financially. Yes, sometimes even spiritually.
If life is short, you should expect its shortness to take you by surprise. And that is just what tends to happen. You take things for granted, and then they are gone. You think you can always write that book, or climb that mountain, or whatever, and then you realize the window has closed.
The saddest windows close when other people die. Their lives are short too. After your mother dies, you wish you would have spent more time with her. You live as if she would always be there. And in her typical quiet way she encouraged that illusion. But an illusion it was.
So, cultivate a habit of impatience about the things you most want to do. Do not wait before climbing that mountain or writing that book or visiting your mother. You do not need to be constantly reminding yourself why you should not wait. Just do not wait.
How you live affects how long you live. Most people could do better. You among them.
There are two ways this kind of thing gets into your life: it is either forced on you, or it tricks you. To some extent you have to put up with the bullshit forced on you by circumstances. You need to make money, and making money consists mostly of errands.
It may be that less bullshit is forced on you than you think, though. The amount of time you have to spend on bullshit varies between employers. If you consciously prioritize bullshit avoidance over other factors like money and prestige, you can probably waste less of your time.
But while some amount of bullshit is inevitably forced on you, the bullshit that sneaks into your life by tricking you is no one’s fault but your own. And yet the bullshit you choose may be harder to eliminate than the bullshit that is forced on you.
As well as avoiding bullshit, you should actively seek out things that matter. But different things matter to different people, and most have to learn what matters to them. A few are lucky and realize early on what they love and then figure out a way to spend a lot of time doing it.
But most people start out with a life that’s a mix of things that matter and things that do not, and only gradually learn to distinguish between them.