What Death Teaches You

girl learns from grief
Ivan Jevtic

I’ve only been on one side of the death bed, luckily. Well I guess I wouldn’t be writing this if I had been on both…anyways, my point is I’ve lost some people, not many, but I have lost quality people. I’ve seen the clock strike its end and I’ve gone through tremendous amounts of pain, the kind that you see in those CW shows when a character is super tortured and silently cries in the shower to that Band of Horses song.

We have all been there, we’ve mourned too hard and too long. But sadness and despair aren’t the only things you get out of death, no – there’s actually a silver lining.

After the death of someone you loved or were close to you usually have some kind of epiphany or new perspective on life. Suddenly your job matters a bit less, the fight with your BFF is minimized, and the top your sister borrowed (and stained) is forgotten about.

You start to realize, in the least negative way, that nothing really matters in life – nothing except the people you love; not your phone, your shoes, your new picture frame from Anthropologie, your job title, your Snapchat streak – none of it.

What this perspective and reassessment of my life has taught me is not to waste time. We’re the only species on earth who’s aware of their own mortality and yet we live as though we have all the time in the world. As though we have time for the silent treatment, for resentment, for mind games.

The contemporary notion of “ghosting” and the ability to block someone out of your life, whether that’s temporary or permanent, allows us to action this silent treatment in our life. I hate it and I wish we weren’t selfish with our minutes, I wish we hashed things out instantly rather than prolonging our negative feelings, allowing them to ferment and become more potent with time. I’ve been living my life according to a quote by…Dr. Phil (trust me, I know how that sounds), the quote is “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

I get that it’s not a healthy process to just bite your tongue and agree with something and of course, that can’t apply to everything but by using discretion you can rule out what deserves energy and what doesn’t; what deserves silence and what deserves immediate attention.

Hey, I wish I was perfect and didn’t let my emotional chimp side cloud my judgement but unfortunately it does. All I can do is moderate that side and be cognizant of its impact. I’m taking an oath and pledging allegiance to myself and my minutes and I hope I can moderate my emotions and my immaturity like Dr. Phil (and probably Oprah) said. TC mark

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