I’ve been thinking a lot about my own mortality lately. It’s been a weird couple of years. I’ve had close family members die, friends die, icons from my youth die, and a good friend stricken with something that’s really not fun. It’s gotten me to thinking a lot about life, how I’m living it, and why.
You see, as an atheist, I think that once I die, that’s pretty much it. No afterlife, no meeting the big invisible dude in the sky or reuniting with my dead family members. We are meat machines, and when the battery dies, we’re done. I know the religious amongst my readership will think that’s a horrible way to think about death, but to me it’s just practical science. I can almost get behind the idea that all energy is finite, so when we die our energy is released back into the grid so to speak. I just don’t believe I would be conscious of it at all.
Anyway, all of the death surrounding me has lead me to kind of re-evaluate things a bit. For one, I try to love on my kids as much as possible. If, FSM forbid, something were to happen to me, I want their memories of me to be of the best, most fair, most loving father they could imagine. The same with my wife, and the rest of my family. Also, things that would piss me off completely before are starting to roll off my back much easier. And I also try to avoid situations that will cause me problems. Even in the littlest of ways.
For example, On my drive home, there is one street where people make a one-lane road into a two-lane road by flying around you on the right instead of staying in the lane. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine and would annoy me daily. So now I drive one block out of my way to avoid the situation. It takes me a couple minutes longer, but I’m much happier. I know it’s not much, but I’m trying to do that with everything nowadays. It all adds up over time.
That’s why my Facebook Status at one point yesterday read: “Live each and every day like it’s your last, and love like there’s no tomorrow.” Do all you can to enjoy your life, because it is way too short. Now, I had friends at my cigar shop give me shit over it, but it’s the way I feel, however cheesy it may be. They’ll see in time when age gives them a little more perspective.
At the beginning of June something happened that caused me to undergo a lot of stress. Granted, most of it was brought on by myself and my work ethic, but I was a basketcase nonetheless. After thinking about it for awhile, I came to the realization that stressing out about it wasn’t going to change anything. So what I changed was my attitude. I did what I could about the situation, and changed the way I approached things completely. I’m still dealing with the situation (rather well I feel) but I no longer feel the immense weight crushing down on me. I’m still really busy, and I still have a lot on my plate, but it’s not all-encompassing darkness anymore. And I feel that I’m the best I’ve ever been in this facet of my life. Top of my game now, when just a few weeks ago I felt beaten, battered and scarred.
No longer. No one, and no thing will cause me to feel that way again. I am in charge of my life and my attitude. And it’s the most liberating thing that’s ever happened to me.