No matter how much we try to suppress it, death is an indisputable part of life.
Yet we still choose to maintain a state of denial to avoid getting up close and personal with it.
This leads us to live a life in a default state of unconsciousness.
One that’s filled with procrastination, unhappiness, petty drama with family members, and generally using up time to do stuff that’s not important, not fun, and not useful to anyone including yourself.
So why does this topic matter to me?
Looking for answers, it led me to the concept of momento mori—remember you must die, so I want to talk about how this simple idea changed the trajectory of my life.
It was just another day for them.
They woke up, got dressed, nothing unusual to indicate that they would never see, touch, hear, or taste ever again.
No clue that it would be their last day on earth.
Contemplating their sudden disappearance and witnessing their burials, metastasized through my body like cancer.
But before I could even begin to understand death—religion and society came rushing in to explain this mystery.
And here’s 3 ways they minimize it:
First is time. We assume that death is not for a long time. It’ll hit us when we’re 80 or 90 years old and by that time we’ll be too dumb and old to care. So we push thinking of death to some later time so we’re not bothering by it right now.
Second, is through our afterlife beliefs—heaven, hell, rebirth. The idea that this life is just a transition into something better and you’re going to get everything you want after you die, so its serves its purpose of getting death out of sight and out of mind.
The third tactic is by society always keeping our minds perpetually distracted by the trivialities of life— shopping in the mall, spending family time, watching sports, gossiping, drinking alcohol etc…
And I’ll be the first to admit that it actually makes sense to accept that death is just an illusion because it pays high emotional dividends to know that everyone’s going to be reunited in a few years.
But what is the cost of thinking this way?
Ultimately, running away from death, takes all of our time and energy—and that’s how we spend most of our existence.
We live it in fear, rather than embracing its ephemeral beauty.
You can turn away from it, but you can’t push it away.
Death will always be with you.
And there are no such things as just another day.
My mom was attending a high school reunion, Fahim was returning from a run, and my uncle was playing with his kids.
Everyday is an anything-can-happen type of day.
And there is not a single day or hour or second so boring that it can’t play host to death.
Everyday is doomsday and the best day of your life at the same time.
And our extremely limited time makes it really important that we don’t spend it being miserable.
Time is limited and we can’t pretend like it’s not.
How would you look at the world if you knew you couldn’t see tomorrow?
What would you eat if you couldn’t eat another meal ever again?
One day, it’ll actually be your last time.
Because every breath you take is one less breath you’ll have left.
So visit your favorite cities.
Listen to your favorite songs.
Eat at your favorite restaurants.
Hug your favorite people.
Contemplate what it means to be alive and appreciate each moment fully.
And when death comes, you’ll treat it with indifference.
Because you’ve been preparing for it all along.