Appreciating Life By Celebrating The Dead

Photo by Michael Competielle

“There are three deaths: the first is when the body ceases to function.  The second is when the body is consigned to the grave.  The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

An excerpt from Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

Breathing is life. When a child is born there is that sudden moment when they leave the safety of the womb and take that first breath. Irregular and short until their lungs fill with air, an essential requirement for life.

We hardly remember our first breath and fear the taking of our last and so therefore somewhere in between, we need to recognize the ever precious gift of life.

As I sit here and write I question my mortality and attempt to determine am I living life to my fullest potential? Listening to the words at my eulogy will it be said that I lived a fulfilling life? And what of my legacy? My children. My life’s work. Will it matter and shall it be remembered?

You can’t quit until you try
You can’t live until you die
You can’t learn to tell the truth until you learn to lie

Can’t breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you’re the joke
There’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive

Songwriters: Darren Jay Ashba / James Michael / Nikki Sixx
Life Is Beautiful lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Downtown Music Publishing
Photo by Michael Competielle

Many people I know are only half living. Their motions not dissimilar to a zombie on The Walking Dead. Lacking the ability to communicate honestly, living life vicariously through an Instagram feed.

Snapshots in time that will fade away if our experiences don’t promote a fulfillment to living. Our minds worry about what our friends will think, say and Tweet. #youralreadydead.

I’m not going to suggest I’m perfect as I am a work in progress. Sort of like pushing a boulder uphill, I’m advancing at a slow yet steady pace. Just like anyone else the second I stop pushing I run the risk of being crushed by that boulder. My own personal adjustments improve daily as I push myself forward, step by step.

Photo by Michael Competielle

Imagine you’re on a beautiful beach and you need to arrive at a spot far away in the distance. You can jump into your car and drive there. Expedient yet why the rush? What did you loose by speeding along that beach? The smell of the ocean, the feeling of the seas salts on your skin and in your hair, the radiating warmth of the beautiful sun.

Time wasted or time served? When I question where it is I’m going and how quickly I need to get there it is often daunting. Now image you had to write the narrative of the experience. Could you? Would you be able to tell an engaging story certain to inspire?

Life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Imagine the destination is our death, and there we sit at the Day of Reckoning and retell the story of our journey. What would you have to say? Have you lived and loved and suffered?

I’m inspired by living while stacking the decks preparing for my death. I’ll breathe in deep and embrace the freshness of the air. The changing of the seasons I embrace and recognize and hope to see more.

With the passage of time I find I need to reassess my daily activities. What could I have spent more time enjoying and what could I move on from. The modern convenience of dishwashers and washing machines has changed who we are and how we function. Those activities used to be done collectively amongst family members and that time would also be spent in conversation.

Recently I wrote about writing memoirs and as I think back I’m not really that interested in pursuing the idea. Better yet to create an inspiring and engaging body of work. From films to photography to creative writing daily I’m working on my legacy. When I’m dead maybe no one will ever really care about my works however, I realize it’s a requirement for me to live.

As I reflect back on the bodies of work created by my influences I see a pattern. Each one started nowhere yet they pushed themselves to create masterpieces, and they lived, even to this day.

RIP David Bowie, Nikola Tesla, Stanley Kubrick, Ernest Hemmingway, Prince, Sun Tzu, General George Patton. May your names be uttered forever.

Author: mtcwriter

Michael Competielle is a Creative Designer specializing in Sound, Brand and Experiential Design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *