Mark Twain once said that ‘the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time’.
I chose a quote from Mark Twain to put on Twitter today because I’m related to him and maybe because of that, always wanted to be a writer. I’ve flitted with the idea of doing many things over the years: being a teacher, something to do with sport, being a full-time mother (I’m none of those things). I ended up starting work after A-levels and moving quite naturally into accounting and then analytics.
I do feel that I fear death and that I live life quite quietly. I am an introvert and do like to take time to recuperate from the outside world, but others might see this as a waste of life. I especially struggle at this time of year, and wonder if I have SAD. I’ve travelled a lot and go to lots of events that I want to go to. In 2017, I was given the chance to take some time out in what would have been my twentieth year of work. I felt that life was passing by too quickly and I wanted to reassess what I wanted from it.
Naturally this can lead to spiralling thoughts and emotions, but ultimately everything ends at death. I have perhaps become too morbid too quickly, however the older you get, the closer death gets to you. You assume you will live to a good age, but actually there are no guarantees in anything. That scares me as I like routine, organisation and feeling in control. However, we aren’t really in control of anything.
I recently found a website where you can see how long you have been alive via many different metrics http://www.howlonghaveibeenalivefor.com. I thought it was quite interesting (that could be the analyst in me!). There have been articles in the news about ways to find out how long you have left, but would you want to know? Would you make different decisions if you were aware of your fate? Or are you better off not knowing and taking opportunities as they arise? Though if we wait around, then time passes by before we realise and it’s easy to procrastinate and then nothing gets done. Someone once asked me to imagine I was an 80 year-old sitting in my rocking chair, and what I’d want to say about my life.
I’ve been off work for seven months now, and have mainly been enjoying the time. However, despite having perceivably ‘all the time in the world’ to do things, I still find that I put myself under pressure to enjoy the time off as I probably won’t get it again. I’ve used the time to do a lot of trips away, write, think about who I am, study up on some topics of interest to me and my job etc.
I plan to use this blog to explain how I’ve felt as I go through this change journey, as I hope it might help others who are facing similar questions.
To end on another Mark Twain quote: ‘give every day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life’. I hope that we are able to turn into beautiful butterflies exploring the meadows in our own time and in our own way.