Life – Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. PAIN. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace – Death.
Death is very likely the single best invention of life (Jobs, 2005).
“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” This particular quote has only recently hit my radar.
It certainly made an impression on an aged 17, Steve Jobs who claims that since reading it, he had looked in the mirror every morning and asked: “If this day were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And if the answer had been “No” for too many days in a row, he knew that he needed to change something. However, he did not say if and how he had?
An incurable disease diagnosis will do that to you? Evoke undesired, uncontrollable thoughts that require attention. Reflection is a powerful symptom of dyeing.
About a year after Jobs was diagnosed with incurable (initially, terminal) cancer he revealed that: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life”.
He went on to qualify this, ‘because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – all those things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
I can certainly resonate with the second of his statements, the first is over reliant on context, circumstance and opportunity? Not everybody has all of those in similar or equal amounts as Jobs? Sometimes we do what we (have) to as we have no choice?
Most of my own initial concerns were about money, finances, will my wife, Gail be ok? I need to sort things out (for her)? How will she sell my collection of cars, ‘they’ will rip her off? Where are my insurance policies ….things SJ had no need to worry about?
Remembering, yes remembering (we all already know), that you are going to die is (the best)? way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. To prompt you to take more risks? To remind you of the ticking clock, to buy that Ferrari, run that marathon, visit that place? More importantly? Right that wrong?
When you are told by doctors (experts) you have cancer, your cancer is a type of cancer that is incurable, and that you have a measurable timeframe for your death, you are already naked, you have nothing to lose? There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Getting ones affairs in order, (code for preparing to die), becomes a priority, however, there can (might ) still be room for ‘throw caution to the wind’. In reality it means to try to tell your kids, wife (grandkids), friends everything you thought you’d have the next 10-20 years to tell them in an (unknown) but shorter time, in some cases too short.
It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes. We have to live with that diagnosis. We have no choice. Facing death. I can say this to you: No one wants to die.
Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. Yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. That is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.
Death clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away, it is true. Life’s only unarguable truth, our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by living within the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary (Steve Jobs).
Thanks for reading