“For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way” – Frank Sinatra
Death… The final scene, the fate of all men, the ultimate peace. We as a species have always been fascinated by death; on ancient times we have lustrious rituals in burying our dead. We have holidays to commemorate the dead, and here on the Philippines, we celebrate Halloween in the cemetery to celebrate our dead loved ones. If its a celebration of one’s life, then why the hell are we so afraid of dying?
Last night, I was watching a men’s lifestyle video on Youtube and I came upon something so profound. In the video, he said “Nobody in this life gets out alive” and it just stuck in me. I am 32 with a 6 yr old daughter. The idea of dying scares me out of my wits. Dying when there is still so much work to be done. Even as I write this, I could feel the fear slowly creeping it’s a way to my heart.
But writing this has to be done, as inevitable as death itself… we all should embrace our own mortality. We all live to die and it is scary but it is also a fact of life, the sooner we accept this and start doing something about this the better. And with that, I would like to share the lessons that I have learned through the years, in hopes of better understanding our own mortality and embracing the inevitable.
- Stop wasting time waiting – I have recently quit my job as a programmer. A job that has its perks but my old boss, never really appreciated the work I did. I kept on waiting for that appreciation but it never came and it has gotten worse to the point that I started questioning myself and my purpose to the place. So let’s stop waiting for things to get better for us, stop waiting for that person to love us back, stop waiting for that raise or promotion that we have been dying to get. Waiting for clouds the clarity of our purpose and the longer we wait, the more we lose ourselves of its clarify.
- Take care of your self in order to take care of business – raising a child on my own is demanding especially for us guys. We all have to deal with the hand we have been dealt with, but we must always make sure that do not lose ourselves in all our duties. We all just have one body and we must do our best to take care of it, and we cannot expect others to take care of us. So let us try our best to eat right, exercise, have plenty of rest, as well as take care of our grooming and hygiene (so guys, there is nothing wrong in using a moisturizer 😅).
- Make a habit of investing in yourself – try to constantly improve our and acquiring a new skill. The most useful man in the room is the man who possesses the most useful skill and that is how people will remember us (especially our children), that is our true legacy. Not the things we leave behind when we die but rather the things we did in life.
- Be wise on how you spend your money – need motivation for saving money? Think about this, when we die it will be difficult for the people who loved us. Let’s not make it more difficult for them by saving up to pay for our own funeral. That means saving money, be frugal and just be generally conscious of how we spend our money.
- Nurture your relationships, especially to your mom – make time to call our mom and tell her how much she means to us or let us work out any issues we have with her. Nurture our relationships with our friends and love ones and forge new ones along the way. Let us remember that our funeral will be the celebration of our life, it would not be much of a celebration when no one is around to tell stories of how we had lived. So I beg of you do this before it is too late.
- Conquer your fears – if something so simple yet so difficult for us to do, the more reason we should do it. Fear is a good thing; fear tells us that something needs to be proven, that something needs to be done. Let us prove to ourselves that fear is conquerable so that when we die, we die with no fear or no regrets, that we have lived our lives full.
- Live life with dignity – there is no dignity at the moment where we are about to die; it is often ugly, painful, and full of misery. We die not being able to wipe shit off our asses or wipe the snot in noses, we die grasping for that one final breath, we die trying to hold on to the very essence of life itself. So let us live our lives with dignity while we still can.
- And lastly, be faithful to the small stuff – it is often that the smallest splinter that takes us to shore when the ship has sunk. We may lose all our fortune or be abandoned by our loved ones but it’s often the small stuff that saves us. We do not know when death comes knocking but rest assured that we did our best to stay afloat by hanging on even to the smallest of the splinter.
Writing about death is pretty much writing about life. That looking into our own deaths feels like auditing how we lived, contemplating with the end in mind. I cannot help but be motivated knowing that we cannot control how we die but we can always control how we live.
Life and death are both sides of the same coin and dying simply tell us we have lived. Death is just about as inevitable as life itself. Writing this is scary yet motivating, knowing that we all live on borrowed time. That each of us in our pace marches to our own coffin.