On the mortality of life

I have always believed that I’m going to live forever. There’s no such thing as dying in an accident, and heart attacks are reserved only for the other people. Not me. Not anyone in my family.

We are immortal.

Even thinking about death seems weird. What would you like to be written on your obituary? they ask. Well, I don’t know. Something nice and touching? Even thinking hypothetically about it seems wrong. It doesn’t feel like we are planning on our deaths – we are wishing ourselves dead instead.

And, they ask, how about writing a will? That’s reserved for the elderlies. I’m still young. I’m not going to die anytime soon. In fact, perhaps I’m not going to die forever. If, and this is a big IF, my time is up, I will somehow know it. I’ll have a feeling about it. That’s why I’ll live my one last perfect day and keep things in order.

We’re going to live forever.

Tomorrow will come, and it will still be similar with today. And tomorrow will soon become today, and today will become yesterday. The day we die is one day. One day that we don’t believe in. One day that doesn’t exist.

Life, I think, is a lot like love. If there’s one thing I completely understand from the movie Interstellar, it’s that love is the only thing that can transcend space and time. Love is forever. Love is immortal. Hence, so is life. Because if you are not alive, how can you love?

Alas, humans are not designed to live forever.

No matter how much we try to defy gravity.

No matter how much we try to fight death.

We all will die one day. We know it, we just never believe it. Only a little brush with death’s sting makes us realise how mortal we are.

We are mortal.

Mortal as ever.

The mortality of life, consequently, is the thing that makes us truly live. Or should I say, ironically. Through death, we know that one day our lives could end, and thus we ought to truly live it.

But still, it’s one day.

One day, when I’ve reached a ripe age. One day, when I’ve done everything I want to do in life. One day, when I’ve lived a full life.

Yet I find myself asking, what is a full life?

We only get one life. Can this one life be a half life or a full life? Can it be an almost full life? Why do we lament on ‘the life we could have lived’, ‘the potential we could have brought’, ‘the accomplishments that could have been’?

I don’t believe there’s a rating in life. You don’t pass or fail as a human, you simply are. But why, at the same time, do we always, always feel the urge to finish something, to have our names be left behind as heroes?

Why, I ask, do we need to be remembered?

It’s the only way to live forever.

Our bodies may fail, but our names can be made immortal. If only.

On the mortality of life, is there an answer? Will we face death squarely in the eyes, knowing that we have beaten it by living a hell of a life, or will we beg to stay?

If the time is up, will we find peace and contentment – acceptance, knowing that we don’t exercise control anymore, having handed it over to a Greater Being? In those precious final moments, will you have your whole life flash in front of you?

Will you wish to have more time, knowing fully that ‘once more’ will never be enough?

On the mortality of life, I know no answer. For I hope I’ll never have to die, so I can kiss my loved ones once more.

Always once more, and never one last time.


Photo by Billy Rowlinson, Creative Commons