The Art of Living as if You’re Going to Die Tomorrow

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

They say we are capable of experiencing millions of different mental states, yet we waste most of our life cycling through the same five or six of them.

There are around 200 countries in the world, yet one in five people never travel to another country. They also tend to die within a fifty-mile radius of where they were born.

The average person spends eight hours per day sleeping, six hours watching television, and more hours than I’d care to count rewatching the same movies and TV shows, reading the same books over and over again.

The average woman will kiss 15 men, enjoy two long-term relationships, and have her heartbroken twice before she finds someone she can settle with. The average woman will have seven sexual partners, while the average man ten.

I, too, am guilty of most of these things. I have wasted most of my twenties by being depressed, socially anxious, broke, single.

I have wasted three years of my life wishing for someone who didn’t love me to come back.

I only ever traveled to England for a total of ten days. Once.

I, too, have rewatched the same movies, over and over again, with different people or all by myself.

And I, too, have been reading The Great Gatsby once a year ever for the past decade or so.

But more tragically than all of that, I have wasted an awful lot of time vacationing on Someday Island.

“Someday I’ll be a published author. Someday I’ll find the love of my life. Someday I’ll be financially free.”

Someday…

And you know what makes someday such a perverse word? We often couple it with “if only.”

We lose hope before we even embark on the journey.

And that’s how we waste our time.

The truth is that life’s a beautiful thing. Yeah, life’s pain. But it’s the kind of pain that reminds you that you are alive.

It would be quite terrible to live forever because then we’d all be kings and queens of procrastination.

You’re going to die. And I don’t say this to make you panic or anything. The panic will grow inside you, as your time runs out, as you grow tired and weary and unable to do what you’ve always wanted to do but postponed.

Two Dates and a Dash

If you were to walk through a graveyard, you’d see that all a person was can be described as a name, two dates, and a dash. And all that person ever was, all their dreams, aspirations, achievements, heartbreaks, all of that is contained by that dash.

We waste an awful lot of time only to beg for a few more moments when we feel time’s running out.

I’ll never forget the look on my grandfather’s face when he realized his time was running out. I remember sitting on the bed, next to him, and him grabbing my hand. I never before saw him scared. Yet, he was. Time had run out. It was too late.

Too late… words that break hearts, words that make us realize what is lost to us forever.

I can’t help but feel that all of these thoughts I am now expressing have been written into existence, over and over again, and have become terrible cliches.

Carpe diem, memento mori, the Romans were big fans of reminding themselves that we’re all going to die.

Sic transit Gloria Mundi…

Thus passes the glory of the world.

We are born and then we die. And there’s nothing extraordinary about this. Not really.

History remembers those who were truly alive before they died. Another cliche.

But, like I often say, the thing about cliches is that they’re so damn true it almost hurts if you weren’t busy rolling your eyes.

We should try to be alive, truly alive, and do the things that we want to do. Do them as if the world would end tomorrow because it just might. Do them because we’ll be dead soon enough, no matter how long we live.

We should be truly, fiercely alive before we die, because the pain of running out of time, the regret of having lost all that could have been is going to poison your last moments on this earth.


Try to be alive, and do the things that matter to you, and do them well, and live well, and laugh often, and love fiercely. Because you will be dead soon enough, and all that you ever were will be contained by the dash between two dates.

5 thoughts on “The Art of Living as if You’re Going to Die Tomorrow

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