You Are Going To Die
Apparently, only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. However, the big corporations have proved that taxes are by no means certain, so the only thing we can absolutely rely on is death.
With that in mind, allow me say this:
You are going to die.
And that’s really where this article should end.
Those five words should be enough to provoke a life-changing reaction. Why life-changing? Because if we’re being honest here, we all have things that need to change, and if we’re being really honest, some of them probably need to change badly… and fast.
But I’ll bet that reading “You are going to die” had about as much effect on you as reading “You are going to eat a sandwich”.
Facing our own mortality with any seriousness usually only happens when we’re facing someone else’s (a family member or friend perhaps). Or when we’re forced to contemplate our own death in the form of a close call with the reaper, bad news from a doctor, or advancing old age. Unless you’re presented with that awful news, or you’re getting old, all other brushes with death are exactly that – brushes. They’re usually fleeting and easily forgotten.
But… let’s go back to the fact that you are going to die.
The days available to you aren’t unlimited. Once they’re done, you’re done. End of story. But in all likelihood, you’re still not living what’s left of your life the way you’d like to, are you? I know I’m not. Why? Because I don’t feel a sense of urgency. Not at all.
There’s a quote floating around the Internet that’s attributed to Buddha. It’s probably about as accurate as a quote by George Washington talking about his iPhone but anyway… it goes like this:
“The trouble is, you think you have time”
Barring old folks and recipients of bad news, we all think there’s plenty of time. We know we won’t live forever but that’s a theoretical concept, so we act like we have years and years to sort out our shit and to live the life we want to live.
But in most cases, we don’t live that life, and then before we know it, we die.
I’m not living the life I want to live. Not even close. I’m 48 years old today, and even though I’ve made a lot of progress lately, I’m still working on some of the same irrelevant crap I was dealing with 30 or more years ago.
What about you?
What are you still dealing with?
What baggage are you carrying?
What programming do you follow like a robot?
What beliefs do you never, ever question?
What tiny insignificant nonsense is allowed to destroy your serenity?
How does that affect your life?
What’s it doing to your health?
How does it affect your family?
Do you even care?
You should, because I promise you one thing, you’re going to die. You won’t get a single wasted day back, and you won’t get a second chance to be who you are.
So once again, let’s recap – You. Are. Going. To. Die.
The question has to be: How are you going to live before you do?
It’s easy to wonder what the point of all that was. It’s obvious that few people like to talk about death, let alone give it the deep thought it deserves. It amazes me how effortlessly we can just push the idea of dying way into the background.
I’ve done it more than once – had a close call or been given some potentially bad news by a doctor. For a moment in time, I saw the end but after it became clear that I wasn’t going to die, that familiar desire to LIVE MY LIFE TO THE FULLEST! hit me. Things would be different, I’d live and laugh and smile and not get stressed by the same old rubbish.
But that feeling vanished almost as quickly as it arrived, and things went back to normal. I returned to the same old, same old, mostly because it didn’t seem to matter.
As always, life went on as it does.
But it doesn’t.
It seems that there has to be a compelling reason to change, if change actually even matters. But if feeling life slipping through your hands one moment at a time isn’t compelling enough for you to change whatever you need to change, then I just don’t know what will.
And by “you”, I obviously mean me.
I don’t know you. Maybe your life is just perfect, but mine isn’t.
As much as I’d like to pretend that I have a pure and selfless motive for writing this, that I want to help, it’s really all about me (as usual).
By writing down these thoughts about death’s steady advance, I’m taking another step to reinforce this message in my own mind. Making it more real. Removing my ambivalence.
So if you’re bored, offended or barely interested in this post, that’s okay. If you get nothing out of this, that’s okay, and if you get a lot, hey that’s okay too. All I know is that any misery in my life is 100% down to me, and I’m running out of time to change that.
So I’ll say it again – but honestly this time:
I’m going to die.
I’m not okay with wasting any more of the days I have left.
So I’m going to change everything that needs to change.
If you need to, I hope you do the same.
Tribe of Change Blogger
Ashley Kramer is a freelance writer, minimalist, and traveler, not necessarily in that order. He writes about health and fitness, society, and technology. And strangely enough, he also writes books for children.