You can spend your whole life living for other people and not even know it.
According to palliative care worker, Bronnie Ware, the number on deathbed regret is living the life others expected of you, and not having the courage to live a life that’s true to yourself.
To me, this is not just sad. It’s terrifying.
Imagine you are looking at what little you have left. Life is most precious in the end I think. And you come to the conclusion you’ve wasted it. There is no going back. No do-overs.
In my experience, it is enormously difficult to truly get into that headspace because of all the other unsettling thoughts and emotions that come with it. Will death hurt? Will I be terrified, the most terrified I can ever imagine, the worst nightmare I have ever had, suffocating, painful panic? How can I imagine no longer being here?
At best those thoughts inform the idea that your time is finite so get off Facebook or Instagram. Go hug a friend.
At worst it creates paralyzing anxiety or even panic that feels like death might just around the corner, something that many in their 40’s and 50’s understand only too well. The midlife life crisis is no joke. Grey hairs, sagging bodies, sore joints, these things are telling you that death is real after all and it’s coming for you.
And we exchange one fear for an easier one, a short term fix for a long term one. We are human after all.
But life whispers at you anyway. It’s up to you if you listen or you try to drown those voices out. I’m listening.
This middle-aged period taught me the lesson I needed to learn: I am no longer immortal. I will die. And when I let it, it scares the crap out of me. But I came through this phase with the understanding that there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t sort out the unknown. I can’t resolve it and I certainly can’t fix it. And you know what? I’m never going to solve the time paradox and that kind of pisses me off, because, you know, I think about things like that.
But now I know I also have a decision. We all do. It goes like this: do I want to spend the rest of my life unconsciously in fear only to find out at the end I wasn’t really living? Or do I really want to live?
And what does it mean to really live, anyway?
Indirectly, that is what this blog is really about. At least, that is the undercurrent, the subtext, what propels it.
Yeah, there are some pretty pictures here, too. You can go distract yourself with those instead, if you like.