It's sad that it takes death to realize the beauty of the life we have. Grab that experience with both hands and try to live without regrets.
For a lot of us, living is easy but being alive isn't. And there's a world of difference between the two. We may breathe, our hearts may beat, and we might be physically able to carry on. But how many of us are able to really enjoy the smaller pleasures in life? How many of us are moved by a simple smell from a flower or really feel the wind brush through our hair?
A lot of the time, we exist on autopilot, never really knowing what the future holds for us and whether we have a purpose to fulfill in our lives. Though we brave a smile, there's an emptiness inside us that brings us to our knees in private. Nights become restless, constantly worrying about things that though are insignificant in the bigger picture, can be so heavy on our souls at that point in time.
And for as long as you can remember, you've been locked down with commitments and responsibilities, barely finding time to take in a breath. With so much going on, caring for yourself is at the bottom of your priority list. Then when you're tired of it all, you start to wonder. What is the point of it all? Will I ever find happiness? Why am I even here? Well, maybe this confusion might just be cleared up by the words of a dying 24-year-old who took to Reddit to give some advice on how to truly live. And his description will be a wake-up call. It might just change your life.
“I am only 24 years old, yet I have actually already chosen my last tie. It’s the one that I will wear on my funeral a few months from now. It may not match my suit, but I think it’s perfect for the occasion.
The cancer diagnosis came too late to give me at least a tenuous hope for a long life, but I realized that the most important thing about death is to ensure that you leave this world a little better than it was before you existed with your contributions. The way I’ve lived my life so far, my existence or more precisely the loss of it, will not matter because I have lived without doing anything impactful.
Before, there were so many things that occupied my mind. When I learned how much time I had left, however, it became clear which things are really important."
Knowing your days are numbered and that you never really got to experience everything life had to offer can be heartbreaking. But you still do your best to find some meaning in life.
"So, I am writing to you for a selfish reason. I want to give meaning to my life by sharing with you what I have realized:
– Don’t waste your time on work that you don’t enjoy. It is obvious that you cannot succeed in something that you don’t like. Patience, passion, and dedication come easily only when you love what you do.
– It’s stupid to be afraid of others’ opinions. Fear weakens and paralyzes you. If you let it, it can grow worse and worse every day until there is nothing left of you, but a shell of yourself. Listen to your inner voice and go with it. Some people may call you crazy, but some may even think you‘re a legend."
– Take control of your life Take full responsibility for the things that happen to you. Limit bad habits and try to lead a healthier life. Find a sport that makes you happy. Most of all, don’t procrastinate. Let your life be shaped by decisions you made, not by the ones you didn’t.
– Appreciate the people around you. Your friends and relatives will always be an infinite source of strength and love. That is why you shouldn’t take them for granted.
It wasn't easy for the young man to express his inner turmoil when it came to these small realizations. But he hopes for one thing "that you will listen to someone who has experienced how valuable time is."
You might think that he might be angry or upset about the lack of time he has left. But, "I’m not upset because I understand that the last days of my life have become meaningful. I only regret that I will not be able to see a lot of cool stuff that should happen soon like the creation of AI, or Elon Musk’s next awesome project. I also hope that the war in Syria and Ukraine will end soon.
We care so much about the health and integrity of our body that until death, we don’t notice that the body is nothing more than a box – a parcel for delivering our personality, thoughts, beliefs and intentions to this world. If there is nothing in this box that can change the world, then it doesn’t matter if it disappears. I believe that we all have potential, but it also takes a lot of courage to realize it.
You can float through a life created by circumstances, missing day after day, hour after hour. Or, you can fight for what you believe in and write the great story of your life. I hope you will make the right choice.
Leave a mark in this world. Have a meaningful life, whatever definition it has for you. Go towards it. The place we are leaving is a beautiful playground, where everything is possible. Yet, we are not here forever. Our life is a short spark in this beautiful little planet that flies with incredible speed to the endless darkness of the unknown universe. So, enjoy your time here with passion. Make it interesting. Make it count!
Don't give up on yourself. Whether you have days, months or years left to live, give yourself the chance to feel alive. Brush the cobwebs off those dreams of yours, find new ones, explore the world whether it's in your town or across the globe, love with your full heart and just be yourself. You have the strength to take it on and more than that, you deserve it.