Memento Mori

You know when everything in your life inexplicably revolves around one thing? Like, WHAM! POW! Pay attention to this!

For me, lately it’s been the kind of life I want to live. And death.

I’m reading They Both Die at the End, a YA book set in a world in which people get a phone call on the day they’re going to die. No specifics, no time or place, just the cold, hard fact that their life is ending sometime in the next 24 hours. The main characters, two teen boys, wander the streets of New York on their End Days, trying to live the best they can before they die, not knowing exactly when their time will run out.

It’s an incredibly affecting premise, one that’s haunting me even before I’ve reached the end. (Heh.) I relate strongly to one of the main characters, Mateo, a quiet boy who spent most of his life in his apartment. On his last day on Earth, he wants to change everything—live the life he was always afraid of living.

It’s probably no surprise that I’m an introvert who prefers books and reading to nights out and loud parties. But as I leave my early twenties and begin to face the possibility of turning *gasp* 30, I often wonder if I’m enough.

Am I exciting enough? Am I doing enough? Am I living, or just going through the motions?

It’s a tricky question. On the one hand, a quiet life lived with purpose is certainly enough. (A lesson learned from another YA novel, The Fault in Our Stars. Classic.) You can’t measure the value of a life with plane tickets and Instagram photos. On the other hand, there can be compelling, vital stories behind those tickets and photos.

How do I know if I’m living a full life or living in fear? Or even worse—if I’m living entirely in my comfort zone?

In the midst of these questions, I’m also convicted by my not-so-stellar attitudes and actions. My life is built on a foundation of faith, a faith that tells me to love others as myself and to be joyful in every circumstance. If a good, full life can be lived in any circumstance, then what excuse do I have for my endless complaining and negative words? What excuse do I have for ignoring my coworkers in the morning when I don’t feel like talking to other people? What excuse do I have for the countless moments every day when I choose myself over others?

If we all die in the end, then I must make every day count. In small ways and in big ways, in words and actions and attitudes, I need to live a life of freedom, love, and hope.


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