The March of Time

I originally wrote this article a year ago but decided to put it on the “back-burner” as I felt that this blog was just turning into a rolling obituary. I’ve since revisited it in light of current events and thought that I should put it out there.

The recently reported deaths of Alan Rickman, David Bowie and Lemmy in the news while representing a tragic loss to their family, friends and legion of fans also serves as a poignant reminder that life is a transitory state and that all living creatures share a common fate. It goes without saying that we human beings are so wrapped up in our own self-importance that we cannot comprehend the fact that time is relentlessly passing us by.

The one thing that the stars who have left us has in common is the fact they all passed away in their 60’s from cancer that had a devastating effect on their lives. So what has this got to do with you, me or anyone else for that matter? Well it all boils down to what your perspective on facing your own mortality is.

Can you remember when you left school and were going to take on the world and make your mark? Remember how you felt about the whole of your life stretched out in front of you, riches for the taking without a care in the world. Talking with your friends about all the things you were going to do and be into the small hours of the morning. Those were great days weren’t they. You couldn’t imagine becoming “old” (i.e. anyone over 30 to a 16 year old!) but time marched on and before you know it you knew it you had a girl/boyfriend, a child, split up, made up, hooked up with someone else, got married and divorced and before you know it days blur into weeks, months & years.

Suddenly one day you learn of the passing of a friend, favourite artist etc., and start wondering where all that time went to!

For those of you who are approaching a “significant” birthday, one ending in a zero it becomes all too clear. Especially when the number in front of the zero is greater than the last one and is closer to the age of those who have left us.

No one likes thinking about the end, it’s a scary prospect but inevitable and inescapable. We all tend to dismiss it in the hope that if we don’t think about it perhaps it will go away. However it’s always been with us silently ticking away the countdown to oblivion.

So what should you do? You could make out a list of things you would like to do, places you’d like to visit etc. The phrase “bucket list” springs to mind. But don’t let that scare you. Instead think of the things that matter to you. It doesn’t have to be travel related it could be a desire, goal or a wish. You might want to do something, go somewhere, reconnect with someone you knew, say you’re sorry etc. All that matters is that you put them down on paper, or whatever you use to take notes with and act on them.

The measure of a life should not be in terms of how long you lived but on how well you lived it.

I have no idea who said the above or where I may have heard it but it sounds like good advice. On one of the episodes of Grand Designs, one of the participants who was recovering from cancer had said that you should not wait until retirement to do the things you want as by that time it may be too late. Wise words indeed.

As the great social philosopher Ferris Bueller said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”