Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eyes on the Prize

I recently turned 44 and am more convinced than ever that the ways in which we spend our time are vastly more important and telling than the ways we spend our money. People will tell you that death and taxes are the only certainties in life but really death is the only one; many people find ways around the taxes they owe. The money one makes in one's lifetime is really a man made construct, a tool, and has no inherent value. Our mortality is a biological mandate not of man's making. And given that death is the ultimate reality, for me, wasting time is tantamount to a crime. Humans live their lives under the assumption that they will live to some calcuable age and that the end of their life, even if statistically close, is under their control to some degree. This is a defense mechanism as people find the subject of their mortality distasteful, unsettling. But I say, Embrace your mortality, welcome it, understand it. I do my best to keep my mortality, with all its implied frailties, fixed in my consciousness. I wake up every morning and ask myself, "If I die today, what is left unfinished? Are my loved ones taken care of? What is on the stove?" I'm sure this comes across as a counterintuitive way to feel motivated but that's the exact effect it has on me. I remind myself every day that my time is limited, to use it well, to not put off what I should be doing. Planning every day, even in small ways, for what will really be the most profound day of your life, the culmination, offsets the arrogance that can accompany its denial. Death has become less scary for me as a result of a sort of self-imposed bombardment. It's not as though I think people need to be inventing or creating or conceptualizing in every waking moment but I do think people should be aware of what they are doing and its implications. Socrates imparted that, "An unexamined life is not worth living" and I couldn't agree more.

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