By Forest Melton
I’m up late as per usual and instead of listening to music whilst working, this time I choose to listen to YouTube videos, which isn’t unusual. A Greg Plitt video comes on, and he is saying something powerful around giving it your all. With my adrenaline pumping, an opposing emotion entered my psyche. I began to reflect on how young Plitt was when he died (mid 30’s, train accident, Jan 2015). Even though I’d heard his video maybe 20 times prior, I had a strange thought, “Holy moly, Gregg Plitt had no freakin’ clue that he was going to die that day. He was at the top of his game, peak of his life.”
And then I had another strange thought, “Whoa, we are ALL going to die, and none of us are going to have a clue when it happens.”
And another peculiar thought followed, “And it might actually be really soon!”
Wait, what!? This is completely unfair! And as if my brain wasn’t already riveting with critically high levels of new information, I pondered still, “If this is so, then why don’t we all live our lives to our own personal max? Why don’t I live MY life to my max.”
I have always been aware of the concept of us all dying someday, at least intellectually. But yet I lived life the same. With this new information, I immediately felt confronted. Naturally I thought others would be interested in hearing about this epiphany. In sharing this revelation with my friends these past few days, I got 2 responses. There’s the “Holy crap, that is so true I forget that regularly, thank you for the reminder!” and then there’s the “Yeah, we’re all going to die. Of course.” With the latter response I consistently found myself somewhat deflated, I wanted to say “This is a big deal! Don’t you see that this is a big deal!?”
And then it occurred to me, of course people ‘know’ they’re going to die. They also ‘know’ how to lose weight but that doesn’t change how they show up in the world, or whether they actually apply that knowledge.
“To know and not to do is not yet to know” -Confucius
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply.” -Bruce Lee
If we’re all going to die anyway, why do we waste time living a life we settle for? Why do we hold back on our expressions of love, gratitude, sadness. Why do we fear what people are going to think of us? Why do we play small and ‘hope’ for a good enough existence instead of giving our all always? We should kiss the girl, stand up to assholes, exercise hard, speak our minds, call our mothers, give our change to the homeless, laugh – like really really laugh. We should be exactly who we are called to be in every moment of existence. Or that moment is wasted. If you’re watching Netflix, watch the HELL out of that Netflix episode. Don’t just have it on in the background barely appreciated.
The bigger fear shouldn’t be in how people perceive us, it should be in living a life that we did not consciously choose. Going to bed each day having given partial effort, barely surviving our circumstances.
I want that when my head hits the pillow, I know I left nothing behind. I did it all that day. I did the very best I could. And I can rest well, knowing that tomorrow I’ll do it again. That’s the difference in knowing that we’re going to die and acting as if.