I am not invincible.
When I was in my early twenties, I felt invincible: didn’t need any/much sleep, could eat whatever I wanted, went sky diving, did multiple Spartan races. Those experiences were all a blast and I would do them again, but in the young invincible mindset I had, I wasn’t acutely aware of or concerned about the risks. Now that I’m in my mid- and entering my late twenties, I’m starting to realize how fragile, and therefore, precious, life really is.
The concept and sentiment of this poem is not lost on me. Read “The Dash” here: https://www.linda-ellis.com/the-dash-the-dash-poem-by-linda-ellis-.html
There are only two things of which I am certain: I was born, and I am going to die. I don’t know when, where, or how, but I do know that it is going to happen. I can do everything in my power to mitigate and increase the odds that I live a long and healthy life. I can eat well, exercise, sleep enough, and joyfully express my soul. But even hedging those bets, how much control do we REALLY have over our own mortality?
It terrifies me that I can lose my family or my boyfriend at literally any moment. I have no idea at what point it will have been the last time I got to see them, hug them, or tell them “I love you.” Sure we could lock ourselves up at home to minimize risks of ever getting hurt or being in harm’s way. But that isn’t living, that’s just not dying. People can die in their sleep. People can die jumping out of planes. People can die in car accidents. People can die playing sports or crossing the street or drowning in the ocean. People can die at any moment. So what’s the point of it all?
I have no ownership over my birth, and I am grateful that my parents had me. I have minimal to zero ownership over my death. I DO have ownership over my life. If I can die doing anything, then I might as well live doing anything and everything I want to do.
I want to feel strong and healthy. I want to explore and go on adventures. I want to be so gracefully, fully, wholly present that I don’t have time to analyze the past or worry about the future. I want to surprise myself and allow myself to see my unknown and full potential. I don’t want to be on auto-pilot anymore. I don’t want the weeks and months to passively come and go. I want to do the thing and be my best self. I want my words to match my actions and vice versa. I want to live with integrity and create fertile soil in which I can blossom. I want to LIVE while I am still alive.
It is pointless to fear death, because death is inevitable. Worrying about it only detracts from the possibilities of today. I am learning that the thing to really fear is not living while you’re alive. What do you want out of your dash? You still have ownership of it. You and I still have time to make it what we want. We can’t predict our deaths. But we can live our lives.