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Coming to terms with Mortality
Coming to terms with Mortality
There is a sober moment for most of us when we cross the threshold between youth and adulthood, the moment in which we realize that we aren't superhuman, we aren't immortal, and that we will indeed die someday. That what we are will simply cease to exist. Some people attempt to dampen their horror at this idea by deluding themselves with the soothing warmth of religiousity, pretending that an afterlife really does exist and that their consciousness will go on indefinitely.
I'm not one of them. The fact that i will die someday is somthing i am trying very hard to come to terms with, not only will i die but so will everyone i care for. will i look back with regret about the way i lived my life? i doubt i will be happy about the fact that everything that is me, my entire conciousness will simply cease to exist. and i will also be full of wonder about how things might have turned out if i had done one little thing differently. or if one chance event or coincidence had never happened. this will lead to regret.
We try, as human beings, to put aside thoughts of our own mortality. Life seems so permanent, like it will go on forever. but then suddenly you realise time is so relative to the amount of time our conciousness has existed.
coming to terms with mortality is i assume somthing which happens as we get older. We assume we have at least a hundred years in which to live our lives, but sometimes the dealer calls our hands before we're ready, and we're gone. The end. The curtain comes down on our life. A car accident, cancer, a freakish medical problem. game over...
I suppose my thoughts this last few days have left me in a morbid mood. The unspoken dark side of love is loss. If we dare to love, we open ourselves up to lose what we love...it is an inevitability that we all face. First, if the plan goes according to schedule, our parents. Then our spouse or partner, our friends, our peers. Then ourselves. Or, if the schedule is twisted by fate, we must cope with the horrific idea of losing a child and continuing to live with unthinkable loss.
So, how then do we live without being overcome by despair at the futility of it all? For me, I try to remember that time is short, it goes by so fast. I try to think about what I'm purchasing with the limited and valuable quantity of time I've been given. In 40 years, will I be glad I watched some crappy programme on the television? Or will I be glad that I shut off the tv and spent that time comforting somone i care about? In 40 years, will I be glad I worked late and finished up that report? Or will I be glad that I left work at five and spent the evening with my girlfriend/wife?
I feel lucky for having been forced to learn this lesson when im young, I know with full consciousness that I could die any day in this insignificant life. It was driven home to me on 9/11/2001... that we never know when our time will come, life is short, fragile and tenuous. For myself, I need to live in such a way that when I die, I die without regrets (or with as few regrets as possible). I need to live in such a way that when my parents die, they do so knowing what a tremendous blessing they have been in my life and how deeply they are loved. I need to live in such a way that if/when I lose the one i love, I know in my heart that I loved her as I should have. And, when I go, I want to know that my life meant something. That i lived well. That I left this rock a better place than I found it. That I helped when I could. That I was a decent person. That I was a loyal and trustworthy friend. That I made aware to the people i care for how much they were loved.
When I die, all that will be left of me will be the memories of the people who knew me. I sometimes wonder what they will put on my tombstone... And in the end, I think that joy outweighs the sorrows, and always will.
if you read this far then well done.. probably only the people who know me will be even mildy interested in reading this, but i dont care. my advice? ok, there is so much badness and negativity in the world that there is only one thing you can do, and thats to live your life to the full, do what YOU beleive in as a person, make sure you do your best for those that you love and above all dont go out of this life with any regrets. there is no logic behind regret, all it will do is make you feel bad, and lets face it - it doesnt really matter anyway. the only reason anything really 'matters' is because of our own individual selfishness about the way things make us feel.
best wishes in this life to all of you,