What Achilles, Son of Pelius, Can Teach Us About Life in the 21st Century

Achilles. A name that which is only known by one. The greats usually are. I’m sure I don’t have to give you a rundown about Greek mythology and who Achilles is. Or about the battle over Helen of Troy. Or the Trogan Horse. Heck, I’m sure we all had to read The Odyssey in high school.

In case you do not have any recollection, I’ll just say that Achilles was a Greek warrior, known to be the greatest and most selfish of them all. He was unbeatable. Technically. As the legend goes, he was dipped in gold, by his mother, Thetis, in the river Styx, but was held by his foot (or rather, his achilles heel). There in lies the name, the legend, the modern day cliche, and as fate would have it, his weakness.

I’ve always been a fan of ancient Egyptian art, Greek mythology, history of the old world and ruins that lay before our time. The stories (however true or untrue some may be), have always fascinated me. One person always stood out to me: Achilles. Still to this day, if I could have been one person in time, it would be him. The hair, the body, the fight, the scars, the name, the legend, the status, everything about him will live forever. How many of us can say that?

Not very many. But we can try. We can lead our lives as he once did, not because I want us to live in a fantasy realm. More so because of the simplicity, yet power, behind such a way of life. Every one of us has the power to live and breath the way we were meant to. We all have our weaknesses (achilles heels), but let that not stop us. It didn’t stop Achilles, and in today’s world, that should not stop us. I give you, five ways to live like Achilles in the 21st Century.

  1. Treat your body as a temple. This can be construed in many ways, depending on your belief of the term. My meaning is that one must treat their body as their own being. A temple is a sanctuary and place of peace. It can also be where you go to unleash your sins and cleanse your body of its urges. Working out, is never a detriment, only a positive. The more you work out, the more damage you can take and heal from. Wine was certainly the drink of choice back then (alcohol is rampant in today’s world), but moderation was key and still has health benefits. Manly and bodily urges will forever be a thing, and thus, cleansing oneself afterward keeps a man (or woman) sane. Achilles was in the best of shape, and as such, his body could tolerate much more than the average person.
  2. Live fast, die young. Now, I don’t mean this in terms of going out and partying, but more in the ways of philosophically living fast and dying young. The mere notion of that lifestyle breeds no fear. No shame. No regret. No worry about yesterday or tomorrow. In a lot of ways, we should all live that way. No live without judgment or fear in chasing a life we want. To go after that job we don’t think we’re qualified for. To ask out that man or woman who do not feel worthy of. To live, as if we will die tomorrow, only then will you live freely.
  3. Practice. Practice. Practice. Achilles was a warrior. Let me repeat, a WARRIOR. In every sense of the word. He battled with a sword and shield. A helmet and armor and grieves were worn, sure, but those were mere deterrents versus true protection. Anyone who is now in the military, or in the past, will surely let you know, that obeying commands and being able to do what you are trained to do, could be done in your sleep. But it protects you and arms you. Because of the training. Because of the obedience. Because of the practice. It’s what keeps you and your beliefs alive. An absolute honor for those who have served, are serving and will serve in the future. They practice what they preach, so we can live a freely.
  4. Let your passion guide you. In life, love, friendship, career, whatever it is that you do. Almost every single one of us has worked jobs we hated or stayed in relationships we knew weren’t good for us. We hung around friends that were negative influences. We lead a life we know isn’t good for us. Why? I don’t know. You tell me. My own reasons are for another article in time, but for now, it’s fear. It’s not having confidence. It’s comfort. Remember : live fast and die young. Achilles’ passion was fighting. It was battle. It was being remembered the best way he knew how. So, what is it that you want to be remembered for?
  5. Become your own legend. This one is a play on everything I mentioned earlier (1–4). Only you can write your story. Only you can lead the life you want. Not your parents. Not your best friend. Not your significant other. Do not let anyone guide your life, but you. What is it that you want? Achilles wanted to go down in the annals of time, for his heroic and victorious battles. And he did. We will never stop talking about him. Now, like 99.9% of us will not become someone as famous as Achilles or have ourselves be known as one name, but to those that are in our lives, and carry on that name, they will know us. Maybe your profession or those you helped along the way will remember you, and carry you on in such a way that you will never be forgotten. 

Immortality, it’s yours, take it.