When I was a very young
child, my mother cautioned me from impulsive behavior
s, staring at the sun
) with a similar phrase:
Those are the only eyes you'll ever have, so you'd better take good care of them.
That idea shook me and stuck with me so well; my first shadowed glimpse at my own mortality. Fear of only having one thing, and accidentally, irresponsibly fucking it up for good. It's protected me well in the past, kept me from sports injuries, from pissing away my resources, from letting drugs take over my life. By grokking that rule and its implications, I got to skip over much of the pain/loss that burns everyone daily -- not just of my eyes, of course, but everything I personally possessed: all of my mental and physical faculties, my money, and especially my time.
A long time ago I realized that time is what made all of my other resources valuable, and thus it should be protected the most. This is a common idea in Western thought, and since it fit right in with my notions of how to take care of myself, I incorporated it.
I think it may have protected me too well.
I find myself too often discarding my experiences (or even not pursuing experience in the first place) because some frontal lobe thought process has deemed them not up to par for spending time on. I do not love as much as I should, for I don't know if she is The One. I do not work in any science in depth, for in ten years all of its rules will change. I do not enjoy periods set aside to relax, for I should be spending my time on something more important.
I find that the idea which has done so much for me has done almost as much against me. A bulletproof vest and straitjacket in one, and I no Houdini.