“If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself.” – Martin Heidegger
Momento Mori is the symbolic/artistic reminder of the inevitability of Death. The thing is that we are all going to DIE at one point in our life. No matter how long you and I live, whether as long as Methuselah (969) or as short as Jesus Christ (33) or Tupac (25), Steve Jobs(56), the most important thing is the legacy we live behind.
In his very wonderful book Unf*ck Yourself, Gary Bishop shared this thought on dying:
Imagine that you’re on your death bed. You hear the beep… beep… beep of the monitor nearby. Your health is critical, and you’ve only got a few hours to live. You can feel your heartbeat and energy slide.
As you lie there, you start to look back on your life. You never made the change you wanted. You stayed stuck in that same job, that same relationship, that same overweight body until now, the day you die. You read books, but you never applied them.
You planned diets, but you never followed them. You told yourself what you were going to do, psyched yourself up a thousand times, but you never did it. You started dozens if not hundreds of life changing escapades and then wilted.
As you lie there in your hospital bed, loved ones cycling in and out over the course of the day, what do you feel? Regret? Remorse? Sorrow? What would you give if you could go back to this moment—the one in which you’re reading this book—and do things differently? If only….
Here’s the thing: future you is not going to regret a lack of achievement or the absence of any one thing in your life. The only thing you will regret is not trying. Not striving. Not pushing through when the going got tough. Not all mountaineers make the summit, sometimes they turn back, re-tool, keep coming at it.
They’re just never satisfied with standing at the bottom, hanging out with all the other non-climbers and explaining their lack of ascent. No, they packed up their tent and moved forward, and they will pass from this world knowing they gave every ounce of their effort. That they played full out. They loved the climb.
You won’t regret not making a million dollars, you’ll regret never starting that business or quitting that lousy job.
You won’t regret not marrying a supermodel, you’ll regret staying in that dead-end relationship when you knew you could do better.
You won’t regret not looking like a bodybuilder, you’ll regret stopping at the drive thru every night on your way home and living a lie. And this will happen to you.
You will die. You will go through all of that on your own, in the quiet solitude of our own dwindling consciousness. Unless you take the action that’s needed to change, to build the life you want, the life you can be proud of.
Momento Mori: Be mindful of Death – You are going to be gone Sooner or Later. Keep striving, Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.