How do you know when you have come-to-terms with your own mortality?
Everyone eventually learns that they will someday die, but how do any of us actually come-to-terms with that knowledge? How do you make peace with death?
A defining question we can ask ourselves is: if we died today, would we be satisfied with our lives? This is a defining question because whichever way we answer we are judging our entire lives and the decisions we have made to come to this present moment. If the answer is no, that if I died today I would not be satisfied with my life, then we have two options. 1: we live the rest of our lives in the same way, burdened by regret and a fear of dying before we accomplish our goals. Or 2: we can change the way we live so that it fits into our definition of a satisfactory life. If the answer is yes, that if I died today I would be at peace knowing that I lived a satisfying life, then we have much more freedom. We could keep living the way we had before, happy and content, or we could change our lives completely without worry. Is being satisfied with one’s life a way to dissolve the fear of death?
Image via: Landis Blair
There is an aspect that the question above does not address though. That is: has one truly lived at all if they haven’t made peace with death? But this is where the paradox comes in. If one can’t tell if they have made peace with death, then how does one go about living a satisfactory life? If one can’t live a satisfactory life until they have made peace with death, then have lived unsatisfactory lives? Are we unsatisfied until we die? Is the gift of satisfaction only given to those who have had near-death experiences? In order to truly live life, does one have to accept death? The question remains: How does one accept, or know they have accepted, death? How does one come-to-terms with their mortality?