We Must Think About Dying Eventually
It’s time we turned off auto-pilot and started living our lives to the fullest potential
We spend our whole lives running away from death and getting upset when it’s even mentioned. When we are young, we somehow convince ourselves that we are immortal.
When we get older, we understand that death is inevitable.
Throughout my life, I faced the possibility that I would die soon. Being a person with suicidal ideation, I thought about my death a lot of the time.
In my teens and young adulthood, there were many times I got to the point where I had to decide to die, and I always chickened out. I could never pull the trigger, for lack of a better way to describe it.
But in 2015, I finally did it, and if not for the resistance I had built up to my prescription drugs, I would have died. Three bottles of pills couldn’t kill me, and I decided, right then, that there must be a reason I didn’t die yet.
I’m not a religious person, and I don’t believe in God, but after I survived, it was as if I had a new lease on life. I felt like there was a good reason I was still alive after all the shit I experienced in my life.
I set out to figure out what that reason was.
Death is Inevitable
Before the change in my life, death frightened me. I dreaded even the thought of not being alive. I raged against the idea that one day I would cease to exist.
I feared death so much that I never realized I was wasting my life trying to avoid the inevitable.
I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, and as such, taught that we should spend this life preparing for a future, worthwhile life in paradise. We weren’t supposed to go to college or strive for a career or build any assets in this “system of things.”
I learned that our faith and godly works in this life are what assured us we would live forever on a paradise earth. This life was a rehearsal for the big show.
You can imagine how hard it was for a mentally ill, and confused child to grasp that his life was meaningless unless he did with his life exactly what the church wanted, or as they say, what God wanted.
We were born into sin, but are not allowed to be human because any little slip-up meant the loss of our everlasting life. If we strayed from the path they gave us, we would lose our families and everything we knew.
I could never live up to the standard.
I realized at a young age that I would never be what my parents and the church wanted me to be, so I set out on my own journey. I was afraid all the time that death would come for me and I would be gone while my family and friends lived forever without me.
I never realized all those years that there was never any paradise, and we had to do whatever we could to make this life the best experience because this is all we are ever going to get.
If we are lucky, we get 80 years. That’s not much time to leave our mark on a world where everything feels stacked against us being happy, successful, and fulfilled.
Instead of creating a life in this world that I would be proud of, I battled my demons and hoped that God would pity me because I was sick. Maybe I could be a total screw-up, and God would still feel sorry for me and allow me through the gates to paradise.
When I almost died in 2015, I figured out the truth and set out to make something of the life I had left.
A Change of Heart
What I figured out was this is the only life you get. There is no God, or heaven, or hell, or paradise earth. When you die, it’s over, so it’s up to us to make the best of the time we have on earth.
Death is inevitable. What is important is what we did while we were alive.
We all realize that our lives were about the connections we made with the people we love, not how much money is in the bank. It doesn’t matter how many cars we die with or how handsome our corpse looks.
Most people focus on the wrong things. They focus on being rich instead of making enough money to finance a life that makes them fulfilled. They concentrate on status instead of the people who stuck with them through thick and thin.
Have you ever seen the regret that turns many older people bitter and angry? They focused on the wrong things, and now that they know they will die soon, regret they didn’t focus on the right things.
Instead of satisfaction with a long, fulfilling life, they grasp at anything to stay alive, screaming at the unfairness of it all.
I’m not going to be like that.
I may have wasted the first 40 or so years of my life, but there is no way I will do the same with whatever time I have left.
I plan to be comfortable financially, not because I want a lot of stuff, but because I want to use my wealth to design a life I can be proud of. I want to set up my family’s future when they must live without me, and I want to help all the people I meet every day that are struggling and suffering.
I want the people I love to know that I lived for them, not wasting my time buying fancy cars and iPhones.
And although I have a mental illness that I battle every day, I won’t let it define me and force me to live in fear of the day when I do finally die.
We all have to face our own death. Will you stare it in the eyes and smile, knowing you lived the best life you could, or will your grasp at anything you can to hang on to a life you never really lived?
It’s up to us to use the time we have left to make the best of what we have and who we love. We have to wake up every day ready to do whatever it takes to make our lives something we can be proud of.
We need to make sure our loved ones know that we live for them, and when we have finally used up our time, we leave knowing we did the best we could to make our life worth something.
How are you living?
Are you on auto-pilot, just barely making it through each day, or are you doing everything you can to do and be the best version of yourself you can be?
We will all eventually die, but will any of us really live?