Mortality
Japanese graveyard – Photo credit Reiko

I was out for an early ride this morning around our sleepy suburban town of Koganei City on the outskirts of Tokyo. Early morning rides (4:30 am) are the best! I get the roads all to myself. It’s the most peaceful time just before sunrise and with a slight nip in the air reminding me of Minnesota.

After thirty minutes of warming up, I kick into high gear pedaling more than a notch faster than my warm up. When I hit my stride thoughts floating around my head ratchet up as well. Usually I do not grab them. Most are just trivial and related to politics, resentments or plans for the day. If I am in the midst of working on my book or blog, ideas tend to float in. On this occasion I got one idea. Having breached my 50s five years ago and weathered the mid-life confrontation, I still get the occasional residuals. On this particular morning what hit me was the word – mortality. I changed the title to “Mortal” because I didn’t want to freak you out.

How many of you think of your own mortality? That inevitable truth we cannot escape. You can be the richest man in the world, what’s his name that owns Amazon? He will die. You can be the most famous actor or actress in the world and you know what, they will die. The president of the US will die. In short we all will die. I would say it is on even more people’s minds these days with the worldwide pandemic.

How many have even said these words? – I will die someday. This does not have to be morbid in any way, it just is. Knowing this truism I choose to live my life like I may die today. I certainly did not coin the phrase, but I do on a regular basis try to “Live like you’ll die today,” or another way of saying it, “Live like it’s your last day.” I try not to get caught up in the pettiness of life, and there is a lot of it, more it seems these days.

I try and treat everything and everyone one with at least a modicum of respect and even love. I am not perfect and have been known on occasion to “lose my shit,” as in get angry, especially during those later morning bike rides when those pesky, annoying cars hit the road.

It seems hard to admit that there is an inevitability to our demise. And for those results oriented people what is the payoff?  I would say it can be truth, serenity, clarity, joy, lightheartedness, compassion and love. The list of positives goes on and on and on …

Really, I find it comforting knowing there will be an end and that I get to live my life on this planet in the best possible way.

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