Life and Death

”If we are not careful, we end up asking what life tasted like.”
—Jonathan Carroll

How would you live your life if you found out that you were going to die?

This question has kept confronting me in various ways the past few years, but life has had a tendency to interrupt and shift my thoughts to more trivial, short term problems. This week, the question was posed to me again, and I started to really think. I think I have an idea now of how I would want to live if my days were numbered – and I’m lucky enough to live a life that is already part-way there. I would want to spend more time creating tings – paint, write, sculpt, design, draw – and spend time with those people I love who make my days happier. I’d want to read more and learn more and possibly travel. Travel always comes up as a thing that people want to do before it is too late, but when I really thought about it I realized that it isn’t really true for me. I’d love to travel to meet friends, but traveling to see sights and experience other cultures isn’t high on my list. The wonders of literature and modern technology give me the key points and knowledge that previously required extensive travel, the internet lets you see the wonders (albeit a poor version of experiencing them first hand), and in the end: no matter where you go there you are. It’d be nice, yes – but loved ones, art and study take precedence.

But what would you do – how would you live if you were nearing the end of your life? Would you stay at your current job, working the same hours; would you stay with your current partner; would you do the same things in your spare time? What would you want to do more of and what would you want to experience before it is too late? What dreams and longing would you want to fulfill?

Think about it for awhile. What is it that matters most to you and how would that affect the way you live if you knew you were going to lose those things? Have you got an idea?

Now, I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you: you are going to die.

Slowly or quickly, silently or in pain, with a bang or with a whimper – the details are irrelevant. Every breath leaves you one less to your last. It is an inevitable, irrefutable fact. We are all going to die, so why do we put off that which we really want to do other things? Why compromise with the precious years we have left just because we do not know how numerous they are?

Start living like you were dying because – really – you are.


  • Read – Cloud Atlas; David Mitchell
  • Watch – The Fountain; Darren Aronofsky
  • Listen – Pull Me Under; Dream Theater

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