...but it used to be the opposite, death was something I was afraid of, for myself and those close to me.
This idea had felt so surreal and horrifying; losing life, rotting in the earth, being “gone,” any thoughts that would creep in about it I would just try to immediately push away. But I've since embraced these thoughts, and fully considered the reality of this truth.
This truth that is the ONLY thing we're certain of, the only thing, we all know we're going to die and we really don't know anything else.
Yet we're often the most far removed from, uncomfortable, terrified by this. It's taboo to even talk about, and we rarely know how to act when it happens.
Through a series of recent events in my life, I've had moments that I've felt fully, the fact that nothing in life is guaranteed.. Not an expiration at some expected time in the future when we're old and ready. Not another day. Not another moment to tell everyone how much you love them, or how much unsettled stuff you have with them that neither of you could bear to deal with if either of you were gone.
Our time does have an expiration date, and we really don't know when that is. Our bodies are fragile in a way we seem to forget about as we go about our daily lives. It could be lost with something as simple as a coconut falling. That idea now makes every day more valuable for me.
This hard truth gives me strength when I'm scared and just want to write off or delay action on something important. It reminds me to not let my insecurities get the best of me. To do the important things like continue to create and write when I don't feel like it, tell a family member the difficult realities of how I feel about our relationship in order to move forward, to get up in front of a group and speak publicly, to share the truest parts of me that I'm afraid I'll be rejected for, to believe in my passion and contributing to the world in a positive and unique way.
Something switched in me from fear to excitement. I have discovered in an immense freedom in allowing my mind to go to this place I previously relentlessly avoided. Liberation in this realization of the inevitable. A freedom from worrying about all the little pride-related-seemingly-scary things, allowing me to act on what is truly important to me. As the late Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford address;
“all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
I do, however, need to remind myself of this reality again and again. It is so easy to forget and go on with the regular stuff. I remind myself, and you, to live fully. Don't waste this life. It doesn't matter how scary it is. Speak your truth, have the uncomfortable conversations, live your dream, believe in your greater purpose. I think we all might as well go all out, as we know our shared destination.