Today is the 10,000th day since the day I was born, back in May 4, 1988. I actually found out about this a handful weeks ago, interesting coincidence if you ask me. There may not be much significance to this achievement and not many people take it into consideration. Nonetheless, it is an achievement and it can be taken into consideration. There is much that comes with time and 10,000 days of life can’t be so easily disregarded.
There are people who like to talk about the “10,000 hours rule”. I believe this term was first used and explained in the book “Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell” (an excellent read). According to Gladwell, the key to mastering any art or skills is to practice correctly for a total of 10,000 hours. Considering there is 24 hours on a day we can deduct that I have been alive for more than 240,000 hours. If life is an art (which it is) and living is a practice (which it is) then I can say with confidence that I have mastered the art of living. If you are older than 27 and a half years you may be able to say so too.
Surely we must take in consideration a key ingredient in Gladwell’s theory, this is the part about practicing CORRECTLY. However, this is a discussion open to much debate and it is absolutely subjective. What does it mean to live correctly? We can attempt to answer this question from an infinite perspectives; ethically, morally, spiritually, socially and more. At the end of the day I think it is up to each one of us to decide if we have been putting effort and dedication into our own life. Have we spent time practicing how to improve the art of living? Have we searched for and taken advantage of teachers and the teachings that life gifts us to improve our skill?
There are infinite skills useful for the art of living. In the same way there are hundreds, or even thousands of different skills that are useful for being a great musician, or a great artist. One does not become a world class piano player by simply learning the skill of playing piano. One needs to learn how to read music, how to use the right hand, and the left hand, and the pedals, and posture and much more. Even the greatest players in history like Mozart had much room for improvement. One can never reach absolute perfection on any art, you can always get better.
It is obvious that we all have our own unique lives. We are all born at different times, in different places under different circumstances. We all end up, by need, desire and coincidence, learning different skills that add up to the art of living. Some of us become more skillful at taking care of our own health, others learn more about taking care of and relating to others. Other people develop their survivals skills more than those who develop their business and career skills. They all sum up to ours of practice in the art of living.
We can look at anything and everything we do and consider it a skill. From eating and brushing our teeth to sleeping and breathing. In fact, you can do a quick search online and you will find thousands of pages teaching you how to improve any of those skills and many more. From the most fundamental to the most mundane, everything is a skill that we used to shape the masterpiece that is our life. Once again, it is all about practicing correctly.
After 240,000 hours of being alive I like to think and am confident in believing that I have dedicated at least 10,000 hours of correct practice to develop my life. I was well educated by my awesome parents, played a ton of sports through high school and college, graduated from university with a double degree and went on to learn countless tools, techniques and forms of self-development and self-care such as meditation, yoga and qigong. I also learned many ways of helping others improve their health and wellness through massage therapy, private yoga, Foundation Training and much more. I have certainly dedicated the last five to ten years to consciously improving my life. That alone gives me about 80,000 hours’ worth of consideration. Of course this includes much time sleeping but who says that we don’t practice living while we sleep, like I said, this is open for debate and a very subjective topic.
I wanted to commemorate this day because I do see it as a checkpoint in the history of my life. I would have liked to throw a party and celebrate with friends and loved ones but because I am currently traveling I was only able to write this article. Perhaps I will host a gathering when I return home but at least I got to write this article and contemplate on this achievement. I am happy that I did so because I now have something to go back to in another 10,000 days to compare my life too. Surely enough things will be much different then, the date will be May 2nd, 2043 which falls two days before my 55th birthday.
I know I still have much to learn and much to master. My life skills have room for improvement and my life is a masterpiece with infinite potential for creativity and exploration. That being said I am very proud of who I am and who I have become. For me it is not easy to say that, I have always been an extreme perfectionist and quite a critical judge. However, I am starting to find ways to cut myself some slack and allow me to relax into being, this is another skills which I have learned over the past few years which I am still perfecting.
The truth is that we do not need to wait till our 10,000th day to be proud of ourselves. We don’t even need to wait that long to feel and believe that we are masters of life. Part of me believes that just by being alive you are a master of it, no matter who you are or what your current life situation looks like. One of my teachers shared with me a piece of wisdom I still remember. He said that the sole act of being alive is a miracle, from the moment of conception to everything that takes to keep or body running day to day. We, and the world we live in, are saturated by a mysterious grace that permeates through our existence. The fact that we are not always tuned in to it doesn’t mean that it is not there. The simple act of existing is a tremendous accomplishment all on its own.
We can look at our lives from an infinite points of view. We can judge out lives and ourselves from infinite perspectives. If we compare ourselves to others we can always find how they are better than us in one way or another. We will never be good enough as long as enough is a condition fixated on someone else’s qualities. We just need to stop for a second, even just a second, to feel our life and our being to realize that we have already won, that we are all masters of existence learning and teaching each other how to live.