Unfortunately, this title was a reality for Morrie Swartz in the book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. Morrie was a sociology professor who received the life changing diagnosis of ALS which slowly takes away the ability of the muscles to function and has no cure. Morrie, being the introspective person he was, did not become morose over his predicament but rather analyzed death and was extremely optimistic throughout his dwindling state. He tried to answer the hard questions of life and was a metaphorical bridge between the living and the dead.
One of the most profound points Morrie made was that you must first embrace death before you can really start living. This seems like a contradictory statement but it is a paradox with profound implications. Most people, including me, think death is a far off event that should receive little thought. We are all born and we will all die. We celebrate the birth part and avoid the death part. This creates a problem because death frames our life journey; accepting that at any point you may die frames how you live each and every day. If I die tonight will I be happy with my life up until this point? I asked this question to myself and I didn’t have a very satisfying answer. I currently am in a state of constant work which takes away my ability to maintain relationships, read, meditate, love, learn, and create. I still want to see the world, kiss my future children, and learn new skills. Why do I put off these life activities in the current-even though death may come at any time? Well the reason is that I have not accepted death yet and therefore I cannot truly start living. At current, I have accepted the desire of accumulating money to provide myself security which will keep me far away from death. Unfortunately, no matter how much financial security I have there is no escaping the unknown time of death. I am using money as a pseudo-god that graces me with a mentality that “tomorrow is a guarantee.”
Of course we need a certain amount of money to pay the bills but I bet if people accepted that death would come at any time they would change their spending habits. That big house may be a small house, that boat may not be so important, that new car may be unnecessary, that 5-star hotel just wouldn’t make much sense. What would become important would be a meal with your Dad, a camping trip to see the majestic Smokey Mountains, and maybe a homemade dinner with your beautiful spouse. My goal is to rid myself of the false security of money and find the bare-minimum amount that I need to truly live my life. I challenge you to think about this balance so that your full-time job becomes a part-time job or maybe you can even quit your job. Ask yourself, did you wake up this Monday excited to live your last day or did you wake up just to grudgingly trudge off to work as if you are going to live forever?