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The Great Paradox: To Live A Better Life; Embrace The Certainty Of Your Death

“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin

"…all living things have to die. … We all die, some of us sooner than later.” Georgia Lass

There are events in our lives that make us aware of our own mortality. I have had three definitive instances in my lifetime that have done this. Unfortunately, that was all those particular instances did — made me aware.

Most of us know that one day we are going to die. As we have grown into adulthood, we have lost loved ones and we reflect on their life and we take a moment, especially if someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly, to realize that one day that will be us. Sometimes we reflect for more than a moment, other times even less. However long we reflect or pause, we move on and forward, but inside we may not genuinely believe that one day that will be us.

Our mortality is one of those intangibles in life because it is so hard to grasp. We learn by experience, and while a brush with death, battling a life-threatening illness or a near death experience may remind us that we are merely mortal, we may not actually accept the fact.

You see that is, in my opinion, the difference that really matters. We can be aware that we will one day die, but we may not really in our hearts accept it. For most of us we look at our deaths as something that may happen and if we concede the certainty, we cling to the belief that it is a day that is a long way off.

After my cardiac catheterization years ago, I went from being aware of, to accepting of my ultimate demise. It was a moment that freed me of many of my worries and concerns. To not only know, but genuinely, whole-heartedly accepted the one truth about life, my person was suddenly set free. But time passed, and the learned lesson again faded into an intangible thought.

I have written about the detriments of negative energy in the past. It was a concept that I was always well aware of, but until the moment of my mortality acceptance, it was more metaphysical than substantive. When I embraced my mortality, when I accepted that one day I will die — it was then that I fully began to live. The passing of a friend I have not seen in years, has again given me pause to reflect on that lesson.

It is again time to no longer allow the, often times, real worries of daily living to impact my life.

It is again time to no longer allow the uncontrollable actions of others to dampen my joy of living.

It is again time to no longer complain, whine and chatter endlessly about the unimportant aspects of everyday existence.

As is no secret to any who know me, I do not love nor even like, the area in which I reside. I don’t like the attitude of despair and hopelessness. I am not a fan of cold temperatures, icy roads, snow or any other aspect associated with winter in the Northeastern United States. However, right now, at this moment in time, this is where I am. I am here because of decisions that I made, so instead of bemoaning the aspects I don’t care for, I need to again focus exclusively on the positives that are present.

Because I need to again, not only acknowledge and accept, but dare I say relish in my mortality. I must again embrace the dawn of each and every new morning. When I go out for a jog in the soon to be very frigid morning air, I will allow the briskness of the atmosphere to stimulate my senses. When the white precipitation falls from the sky, instead of grumbling about shoveling it, I will again look forward to the manual work I am physically capable of performing.

I must also relearn perspective:

  • In the cold temperatures, I have a warm place to sleep.

  • In tough financial times, somehow, I always manage.

  • When I thought I could never complete a triathlon, I've now done four, with a fifth around the corner.

Because living a fit life is living a better life, I have been quoted as saying, “Eat and exercise as if you will live forever; live as if you will die tomorrow.”

I still have the goal of changing my residence to a warmer climate, near the ocean and earning enough to unite my family in that one location, yet as I hope for that goal to one day be reached, I must again accept, that for reasons beyond my control, my life may end before I get there so — I will not allow today to pass in hopes of a tomorrow that may never arrive.


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