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We All Have a One-Way Ticket for Life
I’ve always thought I would die young. I don’t know why I’ve held onto that belief, but it’s like I’ve never been able to project myself into the future – as if the future were something impossible to imagine and tomorrows were never guaranteed. Over the years, this idea of emptiness and numbered time have greatly shaped the person I’ve become. In my frenzied race against the clock, stuck with my one-way ticket for life, the fear of FOMO has infiltrated my daily life. Convinced that opportunities will never come twice, the urge to say yes to everything – to live every moment fully and wildly – seemed to be the best way to escape an impending death. I began to excessively fill my life, like a workaholic obsessed by her work. Then one day I woke up, exhausted and overwhelmed, wondering if by trying to outrun time, I had forgotten to pause to live the present moment. For too long, I thought always being busy would make me feel more alive.
But over the last month, certain events have forced me to slam on the breaks. First, I found myself at funeral homes twice, and I also had to mourn the loss of my pet. I therefore rubbed shoulders with death and mourning, but at different levels. It’s fascinating to see how death is a part of our life, but how we’re so determined to keep it out of sight that it remains somewhat of a taboo. Even though we all know that we’re born to eventually die, we hate thinking about when our time will come, let alone when our loved ones will leave us. Though we know that each great journey has an end, we always struggle to explain the tragic or fateful destiny of a loved one. I attended two very different ceremonies in memory of deceased people, but the pain and sadness experienced were the same. Humans will never get used to seeing the people they love leave them, nor do they ever know in advance how they’ll mourn. However, there’s something hopeful to be glimpsed at funerals: the feeling of common desolation which, through support and solace, is only waiting to become consolation.
To tell the truth, this stage of life has greatly helped me view death in a different light. While it’s often synonymous with darkness and sadness, death is also a wake-up call for all. It’s death that forces us to take a break to focus on the most important things in life. Faced with the void created by the passing of a loved one, mourning sometimes leads us into a sort of rebirth, where the desire to reinvent oneself seems vital. It presents an opportunity to take stock of our own life, to review the choices that define us, and thus, to perhaps discover the values that are dear to us…
I’ll wrap things up with a testimony that touched me and acted like a balm for my heart:
“It’s the moments of darkness that finally make us appreciate the light, because it’s impossible to see the world’s beauty without the vulnerability that we discover in ourselves when we say goodbye.”