What would eighty year old you do?

I had a thought this morning.

I was in that state where your eyes are opening and closing every few minutes, where you know the day has started but you are not quite ready to join it, and my mind had started ticking over and running through seemingly random scenarios. Although they seemed random I am sure they were guided by whatever crazy dreams had pervaded my sleep. I dream a lot lately, and the ones I do remember tend to be real crazy shit.

As my eyes fluttered and my brain fired up, between thoughts of how I might get out of going to the gym today and more ethereal nondescript brain farts, a thought popped up. It was not the most original thought in the world, and it was not the first time I had thought such a thing, but today it remained clear enough for long enough for me to want to put it into words.

The thought was not a lucid and immediately coherent one, not something I could necessarily put into a nice clean sentence which would make it easily graspable by myself or anyone I might share it with, but it was and is a thought which is innately clear and understandable to most everyone, whether in the recesses of their minds or as a constant nagging burr of ‘conscious’ thought.

Why do we think we are truly conscious? Why when we spend most of our lives acting out unconscious rolling nondescript events almost completely void of substance and not worthy even of remaining in our memories, do we think ourselves conscious? We put people above animals because generally speaking they do not know what it means to live. Yet neither do we.

conscious life

If we did, why would we spend the little time allotted to us here on this earth wandering in a daze through hours, days, weeks, months, years and eventually our individual eternities? We can only think and feel as much as is allowed us by our biology, but we hardly ever practice the furthest reaches of the experience that biology is capable of. We have all read and/or heard a million books, movies and prophets telling us to live in the moment, yet we struggle to grasp it in any meaningful way because the extreme of it is not achievable by biological beings. To me there is something even more sad than not being able to truly live in each moment, and that is how few of us ever truly live at all.

Day after day passes doing the same thing, barely even realizing that this thing we have is finite, promising ourselves that one day we will do this, or one day we will do that, yet it barely ever crosses our minds that one day there will be no more one days.

I have by no means perfected or even taken more than a few steps along the path which leads to living in the moment, and to be honest I doubt I will ever get very far along that path. Every now and then, in fact a couple times a day I have the realization that I have a wonderful life, and that I am so grateful I get to make the most of every moment. Even if being on this diet sucks, even if I have a lot of work to do, even if Sarah and I have had an argument, or the douche mechanic has ripped us off. I am getting to live. My moments are my own.

I do not think anyone is truly capable of living in the moment, not for an extended period of time anyway. If we did our moments would be a lot fewer than they currently are (we are biology, and biology needs sustenance, which requires thinking about how we are going to get that sustenance). The thing that is available to us though, the thing that truly raises us above the animals (aside from toilet paper and cable TV), is the ability to acknowledge the time we have on this earth and to make the most of it.

We will not live forever, but we can at least choose to live for the time we have. Save your money. Do the things you love and love the things you do. Share your life with people that make you happy. Take back the years, months, hours and minutes that you are lucky enough to have, and live while you can. If you make it to eighty, do you think you will be fulfilled because you did well at your job or jobs for the last sixty years? Do you think you will be happy that you paid off your mortgage? As you sat back and contemplated the moments that made up your life, what do you, the person who is living now, think would shine through as the things that were worth doing?

If you have an idea of what eighty year old you is thinking, why not go out and live like that now? Why wait until all you can do is think back to the things you should have done. As humans we have the gift of foresight, use it and live a life you will one day look back on without regret.

Live your Life

My life is not perfect, and I do not live it in a perfect way, not even for me. But I try, I walked the plank from a safe life, and found a real one waiting below the waves. Within a couple months I knew I had done the right thing. Everyday I remind myself that I have a fantastic life, not because I have money, not because I have really nice toys and cable TV (although I really do love my pretty laptop… And cable TV), but because I have freedom, I have choices, and I have time.

Something not many people know about me is that I have an almost over-riding fear of death. Not of how I am going to die, or even of when, but the pure reality of knowing that I am going to die, and that this life will come to an end for me. It seems obvious, but it is pretty much the only thing in life which I worry about these days. In fact everything else seems trivial in comparison which is why I very seldom get stressed out in any meaningful way.

It has been a huge influence on how I live my life and why I do the things I do. I am trying to overcome it and not let it rule my every thought. I remind myself about how amazing it is to be alive, which is why I manage to suck as much joy out of every day as possible. But it is there and has been as far back as I can remember, a feeling of futility, a dark cloud of oppressive gloom which lives on the edge of my mind.

In my younger days I gave in to it more often than not, and it was one of the reasons I self medicated with drugs as much as I did. As a slightly less mature but older man, I have managed for the most part to live around it, it is still almost always the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep, and the first thing I think about when I wake up, but once I take control of my faculties I push it to the side and get on with living.

The thoughts and emotions the inescapable thought of dying brings up are powerful. But more powerful obviously, is the feeling that I want to make the most of what I have. I know death will come to me, and I am terrified of its finality. But until then I do not want to waste a minute of this tiny period of existence where I am awake. I will, undoubtedly, waste some of it, but I am damn well going to do my best to live while I can.

I woke up this morning and had a thought. One day this thing called life will come to an end for all of us, I would like to make the most of it. How about you?


0 thoughts on “What would eighty year old you do?”

  1. Loved this Thyrone. Have you heard of the book, Proof of Heaven? Basically it the story of this famous neurosurgeon who fell into a coma and believes he had an interaction with God (a lot of it is about consciousness) and then woke up totally convinced that the realm of life we experience on earth is just this tiny drop in the bucket. It’s pretty interesting and you might like it.

    1. Thanks Kim and no worries, even my mum has trouble spelling my name :).

      I haven’t read the book you mentioned I don’t think. I did read one along the same lines about a guy who was in a car accident and thought he went to heaven.

      It’s a fairly large subject to tackle, and one I have spent a great deal of time researching. The saving grace for me is that despite everything I have learned (I went through a stage where I got quite heavily into particle and quantum physics as well as biology and chemistry), the one thing we don’t know yet, is how it all started.

  2. Great post. I think that a lot of people have a fear of death & the finality of it. I think it is one reason people fill their lives with so much stuff – to help distract themselves from it, which in turn prevents people from living in the moment.

    I love the idea of taking back the time you still have. It’s a scary proposition for some because you have to ask yourself what you truly want. But, like many things in life, there are two sides of the same question: what are the risks in taking back your time and what are the risks in not taking back your time?

    1. I think perhaps I am not quite as adept at distracting myself. Despite being on this amazing journey, or maybe because of it. I have always found it odd how seldom most people bring life’s biggest question to the forefront of thought and action, and admired that they don’t.

  3. Great post! I think it’s great you’re living the life without worry or fear and letting it lead you.

    I wish I had a magic answer for you about not fearing death… that’s got to be a challenge to push past some times

    1. Thanks Lauren. A lot of the time to be honest. I am fortunate enough though to have so much good in my life, and so much potential to where it goes that I have a much more wholesome place to purposely direct my attention.

  4. This one really gets the noggin’ workin’ doesn’t it! I have thoughts like this all the time. What if I was 80 right now, would I be happy with what I did with my 20’s (not that I have much of it left)? What about 30’s or 40’s or 50’s?

    A fear of death is a challenge I have no pearls of wisdom for, but I do often think about how I’d be feeling on my death bed at the ripe age of um… 126 (give or take). What am I regretting? What would I wish I had done differently? Most importantly, what are the most memorable moments I am going to take away with me?

    In your case, you’re doing it every day – living life. Working it out like the rest of us, not wanting to get out of bed – like the rest of us. That’s ok too sometimes, give yourself a break. Keep on keepin’ on ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Wow, 126, that would be nice, at my current rate of decomposition I’ll be lucky to make 70 and still be vertical and mobile.

      I try every day and do two things, remind myself that worrying about the inevitable is completely nonsensical, and asking myself what if anything has any meaning in this life, and then I try and do it. People are funny things, all of us are the least logical creatures on this Earth, but I think our strength lies in the fact that we do indeed just keep on keeping on ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wow Tyrhone I like this, you are a deep thinker. Not only do you have time to think about flan you also have time for this ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a different view though. I fear the process of death, body decaying, losing dignity etc. I wasn’t worried about life before I was born, so I probably won’t worry about it once I take my last breath.

    It’s actually seems to be quite a healthy thing for you though, it seems to be driving you to make the most of life. No go have some flan ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks mate, and here was you thinking I was nothing more than an exquisitely shaped face and classically handsome figure.

      I think one of the problems I have is the idea of futility, that and thinking about all the amazing things I am going to miss out on in the future. Space travel, anti-gravity belts, flan pills, the future holds so much potential, especially flan pills.

      As for decaying, that sucks a fat one, and I lost any semblance of dignity when I started telling people I spend most of my day in my underpants, but I am counting on virtual reality keeping up with my steady decomposition, that way I can just plug into the matrix in my latter years.

  6. I agree that we can’t always live in the present. I have a friend whose husband usually does and he’s crap at planning out simple practical things like what to have for dinner. But on a more serious note, I’ve been thinking about this concept a LOT during our travels. I find when you’re under a certain amount of duress from huge life changes, you are more present than ever. And sometimes it sucks. When we were having problems back in the Philippines wondering whether we had made a mistake doing this travel thing, it was hard to think about anything except how we felt at that exact moment. That made it really hard to think about making changes that would improve our situation. I felt crappy, that was my reality and I couldn’t think of anything to fix it. Same thing when we deal with death, especially if it’s sudden – it’s hard to be anything but in that moment. At least, in my experience it has been. That makes it hard to look to a better time in life. So for me, the goal isn’t to live more in the present, just to live with more awareness. That leaves a little room for planning and reflecting…two of my favorite things.

    I love thinking and talking about this stuff.

    1. That’s a great way to put it, being more aware as opposed to more present. Sarah and I have been in a number of Buddhist countries, even up in the mountains where the local monasteries are hugely cut off from the world and monks wander the streets in robes, and even there and even they would often be texting on a Nokia straight out of the 90’s.

      Being present has its place for sure, but as you say, being aware is (for me anyway) often far more rewarding. Unless of course sitting under a Bodhi tree your entire life is your idea of a good time ๐Ÿ™‚

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