I came across the following inspirational text last week which completely opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about life. It was apparently written by a terminal cancer patient (no confirmation of the original source) and it goes like this: “Do not be sad for me, we all come to this world to be tourists, enjoy life, go sightseeing, do good deeds…I just so happen to be leaving earlier than others.”

We all come to this world to be tourists, enjoy life, go sightseeing, do good deeds.

Reading this text made me think again about the meaning and purpose of life. No one really knows the perfect answer, but I like the idea of thinking of life as tourism and thus seeing everything from the viewpoint of a tourist. There’s a lot we can learn from the qualities of the ideal tourist, that is someone who is:

  1. Always looking for new adventures (and has the guts to try new things in life)
  2. Fully understanding that vacation time is limited (and by that, life itself is limited)
  3. Respectful of other cultures and is eager to learn about them (and from them)
  4. Patient and can handle delays calmly (and thus understands that things in life happen at the right time, no need to get angry or try to force things to happen faster than they should)
  5. Easily capable of finding locations on a map (and thus knows where they want to head towards in life)
  6. Willing to share precious vacation time with others (and understands the value of sharing life’s most precious resource with others in need of our attention)

If we wake up every day thinking that living life is the same as becoming the ideal tourist, we would be capable of enjoying a stress free time and we would stop giving work the importance we do today. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian writer once said that work is what horses die of (and that everyone should be aware of that).

Work is what horses die of.

With all this being said, don’t over work yourself to misery and death, and don’t let work become the center of your life and the fake source of your happiness. Remember that you are just a tourist in this world, and your objective should not be what successes you convince yourself to endlessly chase, but instead the memories you leave behind, the impact you have on other people, the moments you share with loved ones, the adventures you push yourself to join, the places you visit and the good deeds you do in your free time. Everything else should just be background noise that you give attention to only for the sake of survival and no more.

Therefore, live every day as if you just died, got resurrected and every minute of your new life is a gift.