"I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlor,
drinking milkshakes, cold and long,
smiling and waving and looking so fine,
don't think you knew you were in this song."
Mortality is a slippery truth, translucent most of the time, and chameleon-like. We feel it so rarely, the honest and real feeling of our mortal selves. On the surface we say we know it doesn't last forever, that nothing ever does, and that our days - each stacking on the other - are numbered; but do we really believe it? We live our lives as if we have all the time in the world, as if we'll have time (eventually) to live our dreams, to tell the ones we love that we love them, to take that trip, grab hold of that love in our life, quit that job that makes us miserable, take that risk, say what we really feel.
What if we woke up tomorrow and the news said we had five years, no more, no less. What would we do differently? Would it sadden us, our grief holding us hostage within ourselves, making us unable to move? Would it motivate us, making us race and run to do those things we've put off so much? Would it make us reckless, jumping off bridges and pulling strangers round an alleyway, kissing and screaming and dancing in the street? Or would we continue to be us, in our lives, and just embrace it more, appreciate it more? Would we leave behind a story, with all our favorite characters (even the ones who don't realize their significance to us) typed and painted and coloured in brilliantly? Would we do something big enough to leave a mark behind?
Why not live like that today?
“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.”
:: Richard Dawkins