I had a very jarring moment recently that out of nowhere caused me to start thinking about mortality. Notably, my own.
Throughout the course of my life, I’ve rarely given it thought, or if I did, only in dark hours of sadness I’d care not to revisit. For the most part, though, I’ve been susceptible to what many youth are – that feeling that you will go on forever; that there’s always tomorrow; always next month; always a few years down the road.
It allowed me to cultivate an ongoing sense of forward vision, always looking to what project, what script, what new story, what task, was coming down the line that could be tackled or scheduled in.
There was always time.
Then, on a recent weekend, I was sitting with my son on my lap, now almost eight months old. He smiled at me and I looked into his eyes and realized, this moment I’m experiencing was one my father and me no doubt had, and his father before him and so on and so forth.
It was in that simple moment of a smile that I realized this is the circle of life at work. This little guy is the next generation. He will follow me as I followed my father, etc. But in that moment, staring into his beautiful eyes and having him smile back at me, I suddenly realized, truly, for the first time, I am not going to live forever. That someday, he might be bouncing a baby upon his knee and I may be older, and eventually as that circle continues, I may no longer be here.
It was an eye opener. I wish I had something quite profound to wrap this all in a bow with, but I don’t. In fact, I’m still processing the feelings it brought about.
What I do know, though, is that it just proved as one more example to me to get up and live life. There are things we can’t always control. Unless we’re independently wealthy, you know what, we have to get up and go to work each day. We have to do housework, we have to do grocery shopping, we have to repair things when they’re broken.
But that makes the time in between all the more precious. Whether it’s getting out, going for a walk and experiencing the world around you, whether it’s sitting under a tree with a good book, or whether it’s just telling your parents or your child you love them and spending time with them, DO IT.
Despite what you think, you won’t have the chances forever.