A light at the end of the tunnel – almost literally.
In about 5 billion years of so from now, our sun will enter a new phase called supernova where it grows. Now, just like puberty in humans, the sun growing will cause a lot of turmoil and chaos to everyone around it. Mercury and Venus will be eaten up, (talk about a rock solid diet) and earth will be unceremoniously microwaved. All the oceans and life will be boiled away. Not a pretty picture at all, however, we won’t be around to experience it. Just like the sun has phases our life too has phases and one of them is death. We will one day all die…spoiler alert? As Benjamin Franklin once said, “There are only two things certain in life; death and taxes.” Death can be a scary thing, many fear what’s to come (or not to come) after. But in this post I am going to tell you why death doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. Instead, death should be used as a means of focusing on what matters and an appreciation of life as a whole.
500,000 freakin’ hours later
You will die. Life is said to be an average of only 500,000 hours or so and many of which are gone and will be spent sleeping. Lot’s of people don’t even get 500k sadly. Now, understandably you might fall into a 250,000th-hour life panic over hearing this but remember death is an ending. Endings are necessary for beauty: otherwise, we don’t appreciate the thing, because it’s unlimited. Limits are beauty. And death is the ultimate limit, a reminder that we need to appreciate this beautiful thing called life while we have it. The samurai (more on them in a future post) are said to have contemplated death every morning. They realized that this could be their last day here and would spend it preciously. So here’s a DIY experiment that you can try at home kids! Every morning remind yourself “I could die today” and see how differently you see the world. You will begin to appreciate a lot of things you never could before. The way the wind blows through your hair or the way someone laughs etc. etc. In the olden days, people used to buy a skull and place candles on them and keep them in their homes as a reminder of death. Usually, I am all in favor of people overachieving, but I highly discourage you going to Walmart and asking for a human skull. A simple reminder on your phone or a change of your desktop background should suffice.
For hundreds of years, Momento Mori, (“remember you will die”) has been the topic of many art works and writings. Despite what many might think, this isn’t meant to be a foreboding message but instead a figurative shake to make you be the person you want to be and live the life you want to live. There’s a strange phenomenon that I have noticed. The more we try to chase the positive the more negative we feel. The more we focus on the negative, the more positive we feel. And in this case; the remembrance of death strangely makes us feel alive. It helps us let go of the small petty things and anxieties. How Alice from HR forgot to invite us to her potluck dinner or how the cashier didn’t greet us. How we said “you too” to the pizza guy after he said, “enjoy your pizza.” (happens to the best of us) We tend to no longer make compromises and don’t care much for humiliation. We realize that in the end, it doesn’t even matter. (Yes i did just quote Linkin Park)
To put an end to this post..(get it?)
The remembrance of death and understanding of death is a very crucial key to overcoming our fears. Use the shortness of your life to do all that you’ve wanted to do. You only need to live life once if you do it right.