Author’s Note: I originally wrote this post back in 2019 but did not publish it at the time. As I read through some unpublished drafts, this one rose to the surface. I am publishing it here, unedited save for references. I hope you enjoy.
If you ask Forrest Gump what life’s like, we all know what he’d tell you. You can ask anyone to give their best comparison for what life is like and they’ll all give you a different answer. Some might say life is a feast. Others might say that life is like a party.
I’ve been reading through Dr. David Jeremiah’s 31 Days to Happiness as I embark on an extended study of Ecclesiastes. He explains that Solomon looks at life quite a bit differently than most people ever would. He compares it to a board game, like Monopoly.
Think about it. You start where you start and do what you can with what you have to make circumstances better. Maybe you can buy all the railroads or build hotels on Boardwalk. Maybe you can avoid going to jail, or get fortunate and get out free with a card. Someone wins (eventually) and hopefully everyone has fun.
In the end, though, win or lose, all the pieces go back in the box. The next day it really doesn’t matter who won, nor does anyone care.
While that may sound depressing, think about it and you’ll find that it’s true. You’re born with nothing. You live, work, and strive to exist comfortably, and then someday you have to leave it all behind. You can’t take any of it with you (Ecc. 5:15-16). No one can.
That sounds incredibly depressing, and it can be if you don’t look at life with the right mindset. I certainly don’t have the right mindset all the time (or even most of the time), but logically I know that, in the end, the big house, the new car, the six-figure job, none of it matters in the long run. It doesn’t matter what it is: When your spirit departs the material world, you leave the material behind.
How do we live, then, if everything is meaningless or vanity as Solomon cries (Ecc. 1)?
Live for the day. As best you can, seize it. At least seize the moments that the day presents and maximize them to the best of your ability.
You’ve probably heard the phrase carpe diem, which is Latin for “seize the day.” It comes from Horace’s Ode 1.11, and the full line is “Seize the day, as little as possible trusting the future.”
I think there’s some truth to that. I also think that, given our twenty-first century fast-paced world, we aren’t always capable of seizing the whole day. We have jobs, families, and other things to attend to.
One of my go-to mottoes in life is derived from carpe diem. It’s carpe momentum. “Seize the moment.”
What do you want to do in life? I mean, what do you really want to do? You might not be a able to drop everything else today and run off after your dream, but you can at least start taking steps towards it in the spare moments that are scattered throughout the day. Seize the moment. Carpe momentum.
In a way, you have to live every day like it is your last. We must live in the present instead of getting stuck in the past or relying on the future. While it’s good to plan out your next moves as you go around the board, you don’t know what the dice will give you, and you don’t know what you opponents are scheming (Ecc. 9:11).
All this to say: Live for today, not tomorrow. Take chances. Carpe momentum.
And remember that when it’s all over, all the pieces go back in the box. Let that dictate what really matters in life.