I am 37 years old, and death is starting to feel more real to me.
Even though I have always known about death, the reality is hitting me a lot more than ever. I have actually had physical reactions and bouts of anxiety thinking about death that have kept me up at night and have made it hard to focus during the day. For the first time that I can remember, I am struggling with the idea of death and the seeming futility of our lives. We are only here for a breath and then we are gone!
The idea of death didn’t bother me when I was younger. Even during my time in ministry, I conducted many funeral services and comforted grieving families during their time of loss. I had to confront death and spend time reflecting on it often. However, it never would keep me up at night feeling tense or hopeless like it does now. My beliefs haven’t changed about what happens after we die, but now that I am older I am seeing death in a different light.
I definitely view my work and career in a new light as well. Because we only have so much time on this earth, we have to be careful how we spend it. I want to make sure that I am using my time and talents in a way that will matter long after I’m gone. I also want to make sure that the time I spend is not just hunched down over my laptop ignoring the people around me.
Death as a Motivator
It is interesting that as death has caused more anxiety within me, it has also motivated me more than ever. I find myself wanting to make the most of every day and not take anything for granted. I am cherishing the time I have with loved ones and am more intentional about staying connected to them. I want to live a life that is full of relationships, connection, love, and meaning. I want to be someone who makes a difference in the lives of others. I want to look back on my life and feel like it was well-lived.
So, in a strange way, death (or the fear of death) has actually given me a new lease on life. It has made me realize that life is precious and fleeting. It has motivated me to live more intentionally and with purpose. And it has helped me to see that the relationships we have are the most important things in life.
What about you? What are your thoughts on death and the meaning of life? Have they changed as you’ve gotten older?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below (if if you prefer, you can send me a message through my Contact Form)