I think about death a lot. Not in a guy who likes horror movies a bit too much or Juggalo rapper type of way, but in a maintaining an awareness that I will die someday kind of way, and trying to have that inform how I live my life.
I honestly expect to live to be at least 150 years old because of the technology we having headed our way, but I also expect to die at some point. I get that people have various ideas about what happens after death, and I really don’t want to get into that discussion, but I think that no matter what we believe we can accept that post-death, things will be different. What we have right here and right now will never be again, and we are very fortunate to be here to experience it at all.
It is a very weird thing that there is something instead of nothing, and even weirder that we think we get to judge or assess this “something” according to what we like and don’t like. No matter what I am experiencing right now, at least I am here to experience it. At least it is “something”. Happiness, sadness, pain, pleasure, it is all being experienced, and someday it may not be.
This helps me remember that what I say, what I do and where I put my attention should be intentional. I find that the things I regret the most in life emerge from my words and actions toward others, so I try to remain conscious of this. I still say dumb shit all the time, but I try not to.
I try to keep my focus on things that matter, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t be thinking about my level 92 Skyrim character or what kind of car I had when I die. I am pretty proud of my Skyrim character though. It’s a Nord. All dragon armor. Maxed out weapon AND magic stats.
Thousands of potions stockpiled because my alchemy skill is legit.
Anyway, I try to ask myself what I can do to make the day worthwhile each morning, and in reviewing the day I ask what I would regret if I were to die in my sleep. I envision what it would be like to lose Barbara or Tyler or Max, because they will die someday too. I want to appreciate them while they are here, even when they are asking something that interferes with what I want. I am continually struck by just how irrelevant what I want is too. That’s a whole blog in itself.
I try to ask myself what is worth my time and what is not, and the answer I come up with over and over is that other people matter. The more I am able to set aside the things I want in order to give someone else what they need, the happier I am. The less noise I have in my head when I am spending time with people, the more I am able to be with them and the more coherent I feel. The more conscious of the finiteness of my life, the more every moment matters, and the more I want to use my time to help others find peace and contentment.
What would you regret if you or someone you loved died today? What would you do differently if you were viewing all of this from a point after your death? What kind of Skyrim build would you focus on instead?
These questions matter…
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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