“The most wondrous thing in the universe is that all around us people are dying, and we don’t believe it will happen to us.”
- from Mahabharata, an Indian epic
Are you afraid to die?
I am. Or rather - I am afraid to die too early. I am afraid to die before I had the time to do all the things on my bucket list. I am afraid to die before I feel ready. But honestly - I don’t think there is the perfect time to die. There will be always things left to do and we will always wish to live to see tomorrow.
Truth is - we have to accept that everything changes all the time. We can’t stop ourselves from dying.
Thoughts about life and death have crossed my mind for a long time now. And when I look back on my life, I realize I have always been fascinated by these themes. I was always drawn to stories of times long gone, I love ruins and abandoned places and I am mesmerized by patina and everything wearing the signs of the times. There is and has always been a fascination for evanescence and mortality.
So quite a while ago I started to go in-depth with these themes. I started to explore my feelings, my fears, I started to read books about it and I examined my emotions and thoughts very closely. I discovered that it is not so much the fear of dying itself - it is more the fear of “running out of time”. And facing the fact of limited time has clarified my vison. Becoming aware that I will be dead (too) soon is the most important thing I encountered to help myself make life choices. In the face of death all external expectations, all pride, all ego, all standards, all failures fall away. In the face of death, I realized I have nothing to lose.
I now know that I will never have enough time and that indeed my time IS running out. All I have is now. And I will never have more time than I do right now. For that reason, I try - every single day - to live my live to the fullest, to be present, to listen to myself. I fill my live with love, with creativity, with joy - I fill it with people and things I love. I don’t want to compromise myself anymore. I don’t want to live up to the standards of other people. Last year I even got “Memento Mori” tattooed on my left arm, a gentle reminder to not get lost in every day trivia. I want to be true to myself - every single day.
So, what about you - do you live for yourself? Do you strive for things that make you happy? That fill your heart with joy? Do you do yourself justice? If YOU don’t live your life - nobody will. And if you live up to the standards of other people - you are living for them, not for yourself. It is not always easy to truly live, but in the end all of us will meet the same fate. Thinking about death can help you stop worrying about yourself so much. Do you give your live too much time? Do you think that you have forever? Do you delay doing what matters most? If yes - I beg you to stop it! Let the idea of death help you to overcome your anxiety and paralysation.
This one life is yours - don’t let it drift away.
We want to live forever, but the amount of time we have left is out of our control. Only one thing is for sure: You will die!
So, make the most of what you have. Your time is running out...
I way too often hear people say “When I’ll be retired I’ll to this and that.”, or “When the time is right, I’ll do this and that” - what if you will never be retired? What if the time will never be right? What if you die tomorrow? Then you have never allowed yourself to truly live. Life is short - too short. You can start now - NOW. Stop wasting your time! It’s your turn to live and now is better than next week, next month, next year… Now is all you have. And sometimes it’s about the little things. Carve out half an hour a day to do something you love or spend it with someone you love. Now is the time to cherish the moments that remain. There is no guarantee that tomorrow will come - there is no guarantee for nothing. We should be aware that all we have is now. And in now we find our eternity.
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Benjamin Franklin
Your live is waiting to be truly lived. Too soon it will be over. Be honest with yourself. Be present.
And never forget: Life is precious because it’s finite.
If you want to dive a little deeper I highly recommend you to read “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware.