Rest in Peace-Thoughts on Death and Dying
I just finished reading a book on Stoicism called “Lives of the Stoics” by Ryan Holiday. The lessons that Stoicism provides are as relevant today as they were in ancient Greek and Roman times. Stoicism answered the question, “What do I want out of life?” The Stoics offered an operating system that dealt with the trials of the human condition.
One of the themes that the Stoics dealt with in their writings and teachings was Death. It was a theme that came up often. Maybe because death was much more likely in ancient Greek and Roman times? Most Greeks and Romans died young. About half of all children died before adolescence. Those who survived to the age of 30 had a reasonable chance of reaching 50 or 60.
Most of us either don’t like thinking about death, especially our own, or we just haven’t given it much attention or thought. However, when you really consider your own death whenever that might be, it allows you to truly start living. As Seneca, one of the stoics wrote “We complain that our days are few but act as though there will be no end to them”. Or as Red, the fictional character from the Shawshank Redemption said, “Get busy living or get busy dying”.
The average life span in the U.S. in 2021 is 78.5 years meaning that the average American will live 28,652 days or 687,648 hours. If I live the average life span, then I have lived almost 19,300 days or 464,280 hours of my life. For me, that puts things into perspective. HOW do I want to live the rest of my life? What do I want to do with the days and hours that I have left? With WHOM do I want to spend those days and hours? What do I want to accomplish with those days and hours remaining? What legacy do I want to leave my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren once I'm gone?
One way to truly change your life for the better is to contemplate your own death. In realizing that your time on earth is finite, you start to make better use of the time you have left. My 19,300 days are gone and aren’t coming back to me. However, that means I have 9,352 days left if I live an average life span. That doesn’t make me afraid, it inspires me to start living. To do the things on my “bucket list”. To stop wasting time and start using the time I have left to live your best life. How about you? How much time do you have left and what do you want to do with it?
Stoics practiced the principle of "memento mori". Its purpose was not to instill the fear of death but to inspire living a life worth living immediately, like TODAY! Instead of living with the fear of death, we must apply our best efforts to our duties on this earth. So, from this second, hour and day forward, don't fear death and dying, fear that you aren’t living, and do something about it now.
Yours in Good Health,
Dr. Dane Donohue
Dr. Dane Donohue is a Chiropractor in Newtown PA and has been serving his community for over 25 years. Wellness Solution Centers provides all the services you need for a healthy life.