Do you remember where you were when you first really recognized your own mortality? You know, that complete realization that you WILL die at some point in the future?
[I know, great cheery topic for my first post in two months but don't fear ... there's a good point.]
Now, logically, we all "know" this from early on, especially if you've watched a Disney movie. Ever. Someone at Disney seems intent on informing kids early and often that their parents might just up and kick it at any moment. Cinderella loses both parents, Snow White as well, Bambi, Simba ... sheesh! But I'm talking about that knock-you-on-your-ass moment of clarity when you truly recognize and accept that you will die.
It happened to me today. I was walking along the Grand River at lunch not listening to my MP3 player (dead battery) and in the midst of some absolutely asinine daydream about nonexistent characters (yes, I'm THAT immature), it hit me.
I believe my exact thought was, "I wonder how I'll die."
[Granted, this wasn't my first stumble of the day. That happened on my way back from getting my morning coffee. I was walking through the lobby of a downtown office building when I looked up and saw a hot man in downtown Grand Rapids. A rare find indeed and I managed to say "Hello" right before launching into a full-fledged Lucy stumble complete with undulations intent on keeping my ass in air. And to think I'm single. I know, I'm shocked, too. But I digress too long.]
Now, you would think that such a realization would frighten me, but I have to admit, it was somehow liberating. At that moment, the thought that this life is somehow finite, that this life ends, felt freeing. And I don't mean in a depressing way.
Recognizing my own mortality highlighted just how precious a gift we have in living in the first place. We have this incredible opportunity to live ... to have an adventure of literally a lifetime. Why on earth would we ever consider squandering that? It ends, people! This life!!
Regardless of your views on what, if anything, happens after that end, the fact that this is OUR TIME, right now, down here (all hail the Goonies) should mean something. Why hide or sit quietly by while time keeps moving on to that inevitable end? Even if you tried (anything) and failed miserably at it ... it's finite.
Quite simply, there's NO reason not to try to fulfill whatever dreams you have.
Holding on to that feeling is the hard part. My moment of clarity inspired me, yes, but I know too well that similar feelings get smacked down by the day to day responsibilities and drama. I've yet to learn how to keep from blinking another week gone, another month, another year.
If anyone has the answer to that dilemma ... there's oodles of money to be made and Oprah to meet.
Meanwhile, I guess I'll focus on the memory of today's epiphany ... and on not stumbling Lucy-style around hot men. Lofty goals indeed but one must start somewhere.