Talking about Mortality

Why is it Good to Talk about our Mortality?

If you didn’t realise – January has almost come and gone.  I remember when I was a boy January school holidays going on forever.  You didn’t worry about school starting.  That was ages away. 

Finally when school did start, the year ahead looked endless.  Friday afternoon, I couldn’t even imagine it arriving on Monday morning.  The weekends always went a little faster, which really wasn’t fair. 

Today there isn’t really any difference between weekdays and weekends for me.  Throughout a major part of my adult life Sunday was a work day for me.  Now weeks feels like days and months feel like weeks.  Heck, even decades are wanting to zip past.

It’s a double sided sword that we face.  As time speeds up and your body slows down.  It’s disconcerting as when you realise that you can’t jump over the fence, but slowly and awkwardly climb over it.  You can’t jump off the back of a ute, but fumbled around trying to find somewhere to put your foot.  It’s like needing to get somewhere quick and realising that running more than 20 metres is no longer an option.  The best you can do is increase your walking speed… marginally.

Perhaps the greatest realisation of how things sped up is when you look back on your life.  You ask yourself, “Where did those years go?”  If you have children there may have been times that washing, cleaning and toddler wrangling felt endless.  Then one day the kids are gone, living their own lives.  Or perhaps you started a job or a career where the world was your oyster.  Then suddenly it’s not the career that you are thinking about, it’s the retirement.

When life nears its end, I wonder how many things we thought were so important at the time have no importance at all?  Getting that Facebook photo just right.  Getting ahead regardless of the cost.  Having the latest car, phone, outfit…  Winning an argument with your husband.

There is a saying that goes a little like this: 

Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies — so the living should take this to heart.

What I think it is saying is that we when we come to the end of our life, may our regrets be fewer and our delights more.  Realising life is finite for us all tends to focus our attention on the important things in life.

We live in a face-paced world, bombarded with advertising to buy all kinds of products, memberships and services to battle Father Time. 

In our western society we don’t really like talking about death.  However a quick Google search reveals a number of benefits addressing our own mortality.  Not simply because death is something no one avoids.  But because it helps us to live a life worth living.  Not distracted by the superficial unimportant, but dedicated to fully living.

Here is a link to a Ted talk.  She says it much better than I can.  I hope you find it positive regardless how quickly time passes by.