What is life anyway?
Here are the humble perspectives of a 21 (almost) year old me with comparatively underwhelming experience of life trying to fathom life (and the end of it, death) and its enveloping abstractness.
Imagine you are on your deathbed in the hospital, your life is hanging on a thread. You see nurses and doctors whizzing around performing their duties, you smell the pleasant yet overbearing stench of sanitizer in the air, you hear the monotonous beeping of the life support machine just next to your bed, you feel the softness and smoothness of the overwashed bed sheets beneath your wrinkly fingers, and you can feel your heart beating ever so slowly.
What will you be thinking in your mind?
Would you be regretting not having some things struck off your bucket list? Would you be doubting some of the decisions you made in life? Would you be hoping to live another day to spend with your loved ones, watch your favourite movie, eat your favourite food?
Most importantly, will you find closure? Will your life end with inner peace and contentment?
Of course, there are infinitely many factors that affect the answers but generally,
I don’t believe anyone will be able to materialize these thoughts and provide definite answers because it’s simply impossible to feel such emotions unless you are really in those shoes.
How do you find closure in life then? I am unable to comprehend this concept.
You only live once, indeed. So when your one and only life is being taken away from you, it is unmistakable that you would have some regrets and doubts regarding the decisions you’ve made in your one and only life. But, it’s too late to do anything about them now. How can you possibly find closure with that in mind?
Monica was telling me about ‘grief work’, which is the process of learning to deal grief which includes that of imminent death. This can be in the form of spirituality, religion and simply acceptance. This whole concept still does not convince me that it is possible to have a “happy ending” to death but who am I to say that when I am a healthy young adult with so much more in life in store for me?
This illustrated poem really struck me in the feels.
Even at this point in our tender lives, we sometimes already reminisce and wonder if the options we chose were the optimal ones, the ‘correct’ ones?
Truth is, there are no ‘correct’ options in life. There is no way for you to do a cost-benefit analysis between the path you decided to take and the others because simply put, you would never know how your life would have turned out otherwise.
There’s this thing called the ‘Butterfly Effect’ which in its namesake and laymen’s terms states that the flap of a butterfly’s wings could have caused the formation of a hurricance in the future.
I feel that this is apt to relate to the volatility and unpredictability in life. Every single action we make would seriously change our lives, and even the lives of others we interact with, forever.
The comic epitomizes this very nicely.
It also prompted me to ask “does it really matter at the end?”
When death is staring you in the face, will your whole life lived mean anything?
I am still trying to find my own answer.
What life stories will I want to tell my grandchildren? (provided I have the chance to)
Will I want to tell them about being how I got onto the dean’s list or about how I played for the school’s floorball team or even about my university exchange trip to China?
I will never know until when I am really in that situation.
[Side-tracking, If you tried asking yourself the same question,
“What life stories will you want to tell your grandchildren?”
Chances are, you kind of just listed some things you currently aim to achieve in life.
Well, I just did, at least.]
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
My inconclusive conclusion for now would be that we should all live our lives to the fullest: explore, experience, learn, interact, love, as much as we can so that we minimize our regrets when we are really in the situation I’ve described at the start.
As for making decisions, we just have to follow our hearts. As long as you yourself believe wholeheartedly in the path you’ve chosen, no matter how things turn out eventually, you would be comforted by the fact that you steered your own life and remember that no matter how unintended that path you chose plays out, there would always have been some gain along the way.
All in all, as cliché as it sounds, trying to avoid remorse will be what I’ll do for now.