An awareness of death

It’s probably very rare to find two people talking about death. Definitely never makes for dinner table conversation. Mention it in passing (I sometimes do as an experiment) in a group conversation, and facial expressions ranging from bewilderment to disapproval arise. “My one evening out all week, and I run into this guy.”

However, it is probably the only certainty that awaits all of us: we were born, and we will die. I think the fear of what lies beyond, if anything at all, is not something we want to confront when trying hard to feel alive. It is better treated as a far away event, to be confronted only in its moment of arrival.

I believe that those of us who are capable of bearing this heavy thought, should sometimes think about death. Because it will make you more aware of how precious this time is. That you’re alive now, that you feel, and that this will not last, is a powerful realization. And this realization will probably make all of us live each day differently, prioritize things that give us joy over things we must do to exist, and try things we otherwise keep deferring, only to regret them when we have safely reached our final moment.

“Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.” – Dag Hammarskjöld (Swedish author, economist)


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