We enter the world, make a canvas of our lives filled with rich experiences and memories, and then we exit the world – hopefully with the knowledge that we maximized our lives to the fullest.
We hope that we have made wise life choices, lived productive lives, been good to others and have relished the love of family and friends. Foremost, we hope that we have left our mark on this world and that our legacy lives on.
My husband recently had his 60th birthday and he emphasized that he didn’t want a celebratory party with all the bells and whistles. He spent the day in quiet solitude, as if it was an ordinary day. I thought he was somewhat depressed and down with being 60, not yet retired and feeling acutely aware of his creeping life span.
It recently came to my attention as to the actual reason for his quiet and somber mood. He shared that turning 60 meant that his parents were more than 20 years his senior, and thus their lifespan was slowing as well. He was not dwelling on his age, but theirs.
Why do we fear death and the loss of a parent, child or loved one? This question does not have a simple answer, and is multi-leveled as to its meaning. Perhaps it is the sheer depth of pain and grief that we do not want to endure; that deep inner turmoil filled with raw emotions that we must succumb to.
In some ways, we want to build a protective shell around our being in order to ward off the inevitable, death and the loss of a loved one. Perhaps, too, we just simply haven’t processed that the lifespan ends. We view life as timeless and live in a make-believe world that it never ends. Similar to teenagers who think they are invincible, we go through life living in the moment, not wanting to recognize that someday, our time will run out. Similar to a marathon runner who is experiencing immense exhaustion and feels that the finish line is non-existent, we go through life thinking that death is nowhere in sight, and we go through each day assuming there will be another, and another, then another.
After doing much soul-searching, I have concluded that the answer to all of this is not to dwell on death, but to put our best foot forward and carry on for as long as life allows. Yes, it ends at some point, but, for now, I will live in the moment and try not to focus on what tomorrow brings.
Livin’ the dream and livin’ life to its fullest.