Dear Alexander #034: Live As If I’m Going To Die Today, or Tomorrow?

How would I live if I was going to die in 6 months?

How would I live if I was going to die in 60 years?

The old adage that one should live as if they were going to die tomorrow is fundamentally wrong…for my life.

If I knew I was going to die in the near future…

I wouldn’t work on those projects.

I wouldn’t check my emails.

I wouldn’t try to seek more knowledge.

I wouldn’t worry about falling asleep and waking up at a certain time.

I wouldn't care if exercise made me look good.

I would eat anything I desired.

I wouldn’t talk as much.

I wouldn’t do almost any of the thing’s I’m donig now to create a better future.

To live with the vigor that death is imminent is to forgo effort towards creating a more prosperous future for myself. Why would I care about working towards a future that I knew I wouldn't be here to live?

However, human life is not idiosyncratic, my efforts trickle down and affect others, it becomes systemic. To know I was going to die within a short time frame (<years) would cause a dramatic shift away from working towards a more prosperous future for myself towards immensely and deeply experiencing the wonders of the human experience within the natural world while being of service to others.

Now that sounds great in of itself, why wouldn’t I want to do that all the time? The pursuit of bettering one’s self and mastering one’s mind over a lifetime whilst being of service to others is one of the sweetest most satisfying gifts offered by life. But it is dependent on the assumption of an 80–100-year life. The assumption is statistically probable, but far from guaranteed.

So what do I do?

Live as if I was going to die soon, or live as if I was going to die later?

Both. You don’t have to pick only one — it’s not binary.

I would, will and must live with the gratitude and vigour that everything can be taken away. At the same time I must also seek and attain betterment for myself while serving others via my pursuit of excellence. During this process, I am free and able to periodically disconnect from the pursuit of self to engage in the deeply wonderous world that I inhabit. Right now, this is my magic to living a wondrous excellent life.

Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour.

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