“Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?”MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.56-57
What a challenge: imagine that you’ve died today, and yet somehow you get a bonus stage in the game of life, and you get to continue living. How would you live that bonus life? With the knowledge and perspective that it gives you, what would you do with the extra time you’ve been granted?
The Daily Stoic book points out that “we have an irrational fear of acknowledging our own mortality”, and it’s true. I really don’t expect this post to be the most popular on my site, because people don’t like reading about dying, or thinking about their own death. (Heck, all of December has this theme — probably won’t get many viewers on this months’ posts, haha!)
But it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable and sad.
Thinking deeply about the shortness of our lives can actually inspire us and give us energy. It can remind us that life is short, and that we should seize each opportunity as if it were our last. It might actually be!
It’s possible to reach a new perspective that in actual fact, we are each of us dying one day at a time — and we should therefore live like a dying person. Not in sadness and regret; but rather boldly, with joy and determination.
The Sword of Damocles can drop at any moment, but in this particular case you have been granted a bonus life. Lucky you. “Love the hand that fate deals you“, as Marcus said above — and make the most of it.