It Will All End One Day
“Pretend Today Is The End”
Do you remember a couple years ago when the mayan calendar suggested that the end of the world would happen on December 21, 2012? Most people didn’t change anything about their lives, but there were a bunch that were worried about it.
I happened to be on a mission in Texas, and that night I was out knocking on doors introducing a Christmas message to many. We came upon one house that was practically breathing out smoke when the door opened. It was quite strong. The individuals we spoke with were sure it was their last night so they took it into their hands to get incredibly inebriated and high to have a good time.
That’s probably not the best way to prepare for the end, it’s seemingly short sighted of what you would really care about if it was over.
This isn’t meant to be all drury and negative, rather a exercise of thought and resilience. The Stoics believed heavily in living as if it were your last day, more as a mindset than actions.
“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life's’ books each day…. The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” — Seneca, Moral Letters, 101.7b-8a
“‘Live each day as if it were your last’ is a cliche. Plenty say it, few actually do it. How reasonable would that be anyway? Surely Seneca isn’t saying to forsake laws and considerations — because the world is ending. A better analogy would be a soldier about to leave on deployment. NOt knowing whether they’ll return or not, what do they do? They get their affairs in order. They handle their business. They tell their children or their family that they love them. They don’t have time for quarreling or petty matters. And then in the morning they are ready to go — hoping to come back in one piece but prepared for the possibility that they might not. Let us live today that same way.” — The Daily Stoic, pg. 357
“Let each thing you would do, say or intend be like that of a dying person.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.11.1
“Have you ever heard some ask: ‘What would you do if you found out tomorrow that you had cancer?’ The question is designed to make you consider how different life might be if you were suddenly given just a few months or weeks to live. There’s nothing like a terminal illness to wake people up. But here’s the thing: you already have a terminal diagnosis. We all do! As the writer Edmund Wilson put it, ‘Death is one prophecy that never fails.’ Every person is born with a death sentence. Each second that passses by is one you’ll never get back. Once you realize this, it will have a profound impact on what you do, say, and think. Don’t let another day tick away in ignorance of the reality that you’re a dying person. We all are. Can today be the day we stop pretending otherwise?” — Daily Stoic, pg. 358
You can party it up the rest of your life like my friends in Texas; since your going to die anyway, or you can be like the soldier heading out on deployment and everyday have your affairs in order and always be moving towards achieving everything you hope to do in your short time here.