And it’s dwindling down as I type this. I assumed I would live by 90 years old. I’m almost 31 now and I did the math. 21,600 days is what I have left. A morbid idea? Perhaps. But let me share with you one unchangeable fact:
we’re all going to die.
It’s crazy how our perspective can change when we think of death by the days. Death seems to be abstract, an idea from a faraway future. But from the moment we were born, we become lit candles slowly and painfully burning off our wicks.
I’m sure you’ve heard about living life to the fullest and living today as if it were the last. But they are so cliched, the meaning doesn’t make an impact anymore. And it shows within our society how we neglect this idea. If we truly believe that today would be the last, our attention wouldn’t be on our phones, our decisions would have been bolder, and our time would have been spent building something that would matter.
But we are humans and we love procrastination.
So we say to Death, “Not today.” And with that, we abandon also the urgency for living the life we wanted. If Death has spared us, then why spend our time doing the hard work if we can lavish in pleasure? There will be time for that.
Yes, there is. Until there is none.
I think we only take the concept of death seriously when we have brushed upon it. When a car almost hits us when we cross the street, when we try to feel our heartbeat and we’re unsure if it is beating normally, when a loved one dies. It is during these times that we are forced to acknowledge the possibility of death. As I said earlier, it’s a fact that we’re going to die and I believe that making our peace with that idea will teach us what is essential in life.
We can start by acknowledging that death is like the other larger-than-life intangible elements around us – time and space. We know that these are always present and we acknowledge their presence (most of the time). So should death.
If we acknowledge death’s presence, we diminish its power over us. Putting it in another way, if death is a stranger, then acknowledging it will make it our friend. (This reminds me about the Deathly Hallows narrative) I’ve also read an article about reminding ourselves about death and even having a physical totem for that. Memento Mori. Inspired by this, I created a countdown reminder on my Notion homepage.
The aim is not to live out of fear. We don’t want to be paranoid about our death. We want to acknowledge its presence and use it as a motivation to lead our lives and make better choices. History and literature have told us about people wanting to cheat death and being immortal. In a way, we can. If we choose to make the most out of our time, we can create our legacy. Something that we can leave behind after our passing.
The clock is ticking and Death might be knocking at your door. What will you do today?