The Reaper in the Shadows

So, I’ve been thinking. Not the casual, fun, thoughts-in-bubbles kind of thinking, but the dark, dense, all-encompassing kind of thinking. And I had this one moment of epiphany, but now I’m not sure what to do with it.

My moment of epiphany was this:

We all live as though we are not going to die. And then we do.

Ok, so this isn’t a groundbreaking thought, but stay with me.

Most of us absolutely refuse death on a daily basis. We ignore it, we dismiss it, some of us even mock it, but we all go about our every day making plans and decisions for that evening. That evening we make plans for tomorrow, and tomorrow for next week, and a month from then, and two years from now. We live as though we did not have a small ticking clock somewhere inside us, stamped with an expiration date.

And yet, we do. We all have a clock.

Ask an end-stage cancer patient about her life perspective. Ask a 99-year-old man how he views his time on earth. What do you think their answers would have in common? Probably some nugget of mind-blowing truth, which you want to understand and wish to make a part of your own life, but then you have to check on dinner.

What do they know about life that is yet irrelevant to you?

Death. They know death.

They know that their time is limited. In fact, with every passing moment their time is only drawing nearer. They can feel that in a very present, very real way, because their death is no longer a vague uncertainty.

But the truth is, death is not a vague uncertainty for any of us. We can all, and should all, feel like the near-centenarian. We should all feel that our moment could be any moment.

And if we did truly embrace our limited time, knowing that in the present moment death is just around the corner, how would we live our lives differently? Even more, what would happen if we all, each and every one of us, made that transition together? How could our world be transformed?

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