Each movement of every step, the seconds adding up to minutes and days, takes you closer to a finite end. In spite of all we want to believe, or all we put off, we are slowly making our way towards a certain death.
I can’t sugar coat it. I’m neither a pessimist nor an optimist, but a realist. We are all dying; it is a natural part of our evolution, the last step of life’s cycle.
Many of us are, or may be, fortunate to walk through our time steering clear of the multitude of diseases that accelerate the process. A greater number of us will be blessed with a cure for ailments unknown, or will be healed. Some of us won’t be as lucky. I, at this age, count myself in the first group, though things can change; things always do.
All of us are dying. From the moment the cord is cut, it is part of the process. We grow up and grow old. As the years pass, our skin will fade, hair will thin and take on a silver tone, bones become brittle, eyes grow weak, and gravity just happens. We see it, most noticeably, as the ageing process is personified by our parents. We watch, we listen, as they do, and as they do, so do we. We don’t notice it to the same effect until they are gone, as they pass on through old age or otherwise.
And we keep stepping forward.
The death of a parent forces a closer look at what you are doing in your own life, and how you are living. You think a little deeper of changes, physical and spiritual, you have made or are making. You question choice and chance.
How we choose to move forward makes up the difference between a life lived, and a life well-lived. Caution rarely seems to work, for in doing so you miss out on what this life affords. At the same time, reckless behavior — tipping the temptations that cross your path — will surely hasten the pace. Some things are simply too good to miss, and some things are mistakes.
It’s finding a balance, making decisions on how to live, without becoming obsessed or depressed with the end result.
Death is neither a possibility nor a probability, but an eventuality. You can decide to face it head on, or choose to ignore it by trying to squeeze as much life and experience out of your years. Still you need to be cognizant of where you’ll end up. Ignore is the root word of ignorance, and I will no longer be ignorant. I’m well past the Peter Pan stage (I was a lost boy far too long) and would like to think my decision to live is a somewhat serious concern.
It’s deciding how my body and mind, and thus my soul, are to be nurtured. I still carry a manageable share of vices, can occasionally be led into temptation, but I’m trying to create that equilibrium between what will prolong, and what will kill. I’m hardly middle-of-the-road, but I am more careful how and where I spend my time, and with whom I spend it. It’s how we decide to live now that has the greatest ramification on how we die.
I am attempting to find value in all that is around me, and weed out things with less worth. Simplicity is attractive, but getting there is rather complicated. I suppose patience has a lot to do with it. I’m more patient now than I was when I was younger.
I’m past the point of wanting things, but hold a desire for what I need in my life. Yet, I no longer think about it, as much. Time is wasted wanting things that may never occur. But to allow the desire to continue means accepting things the way they are right now, and leaving your mind open to what may be.
Desire surpasses want (on so many levels), but is less forceful and occurs naturally, much like death. Or like life. The things I want to do, the places and people I want to visit, become more significant when they are desires. They become the things worth living for.
I don’t know how much time I have left, yet I do know my time is precious, so I’m going to enjoy as it flows. I will do so patiently, naturally, with intent, appreciation and forethought.
I’ll continue dying to live, instead of living to die.
“When did the choices get so hard
With so much more at stake
Life gets mighty precious
When there’s less of it to waste”
– Bonnie Raitt