Life is Short

Life is Short

Yesterday, I was caught off guard by a medical diagnosis. It’s the second time in my life that my day started unassumingly but ended in a startling way. I felt panicked and unprepared. I started ranting about end-of-life plans. My husband patiently listened and then coaxed me back to reality. Unless I get hit by a bus, I probably won’t die tomorrow. But this surprise diagnosis has left me regretting that so much of my life was wasted in distressing and hurtful situations.

I’m proof that life as we know it can change in a matter of seconds. It could end abruptly, as mine almost did once. On the other hand, one could suffer for a long time before the inevitable, which I suddenly find myself contemplating. The bottom line is no one gets out alive.

If we’re fortunate enough to be born healthy and loved, when we’re kids or even young adults, we feel invincible. But as we age, we experience death either through our relationships with older people in our lives, experiencing tragedies within our circle of family and friends or witnessing violence as it plays out live on our televisions. We can’t avoid the reality that death is part of life. And it seems like we race toward the finish line at an accelerated pace with each birthday.

Death is a known life event, but we don’t know when our lifetime clocks will cease to operate. And maybe that’s why we spend so much time treating other people like garbage. Perhaps if we knew what time the clock would run out we’d be more concerned about making the most out of the days we have left and we’d take better care of each other. Maybe we’d be more concerned about spreading joy than disdain.

Maybe we’d smile and hold the door for someone else. Maybe we’d buy a meal for the homeless person on the sidewalk. Maybe we’d even mend broken relationships.


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