In my childhood I was never particularly interested in media, television, comics or the like. The only things I consumed with volume were sci-fi books – but I never reached the stage of seeing role models or heroes in those books.

My only hero growing up was my grandfather. He was one of a small number of Ph.D chemists of his time, and boy could he tell an incredible bed time story. He also had this calm, unshakable rationality which seemed to me, through my lens of so many feelings, to be both impossible and also an incredible superpower.

I'm writing about this because I was also there to watch my one childhood hero age out of his glory years, slowly begin to lose his abilities, and finally pass away. The lesson to me was loud and clear: a human life is finite.

... which immediately brings up the next question: how does one make the most of the limited time we have?

So what makes life worth living?

A lot of smart groups have come up with a lot of ideas around this, but I think the reality is that we each have to decide for ourselves what is important and what isn't, what goals to set (or not), and what dreams to hold (or not). Humanity thrives because of a diversity of ideas, and it's on each of us to independently verify those ideas and contribute our own direction.

The important thing is to regularly and carefully consider what you want from life. Without careful consideration, you may soon look back and realize you've simply been swept around by the whims of others

Beware reckless dreams

The goals you choose for yourself will come with a set of consequences -- many goals require a lot of hard work, others require quite a bit of studying, others still require taking risks, and so on.

Be careful about goals that are incredibly large, significantly out of your control, or very unlikely.

Some goals come with a very low likelihood of success and can lead to a lot of unhappiness. These goals tend to be very large (world peace), very popular (becoming a pop star), and are usually very unlikely. These goals also take a lot of power out of your hands and place it in the random number generators of the universe (and in many cases it's worse than that because the deck is actively stacked against you unless you were born in the right place, time, and family).