What would you do if you had one day left to live? If all existing things ceased to exist, if all you’ve ever experienced collapsed. If you knew you would not be here tomorrow, how would you handle it?
Lately, I’ve been haunted by the choices that rule my life. Lost in this incremental script running hourly, daily. Optimised not to fail. Unable to stop. Wake up, shower, work, cook, sleep, repeat. On my way home, I remembered that work colleague telling me about the relationship between trying out new things daily and life expectancy. Apparently, if you try a new thing every day, your life will last much longer. It can be stopping at the previous metro station or just saying “hi” instead of “hello”. Some advertise expensive skincare and some others give unverified existentialist advice, for free, straight to your soul (surprisingly, we don’t have influencers in this field yet).
But this is quite serious, we’ve reduced humanity to a mere autopilot flight from the day we are born till the day we die, allowing absurdity to command our fate (I’m quite the nihilist today). Decision-making is mechanical, unintentional. It doesn’t even seem to come from us, we just happen to be there, just in time to be hammered with the consequences. We’ve filled our minutes with labor, hustle, entertainment, there is no space for absence, dullness. There is nothing but immediate purpose, a bunch of short-term achievements we can’t even celebrate (or remember). Well, life is supposed to be boring too, you know? It’s so easy to get sucked in by TikTok’s hypnotic loop, distraction is so damn accessible that we even forget what we are distracting ourselves from. Is it ignorance? Is it fear? The truth is I don't want to fall any deeper, I want to believe there is beauty in just existing, in the fragility of humankind, in the hidden discontinuity of things.
“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet”, said Emily Dickinson. Amen. The last bite of dessert is always the tastier. Crossing the final line is what makes a race worth running. The same way weekends make your weekdays meaningful, death makes our lives substantial, precious. How ironic it is that the one and only truth in life is death? Like, seriously, who the hell designed this game? And how ridiculous it is that we’ve been pushing away this one and only certainty as history evolved. We have reduced death to a whisper, it is so unpleasant that we have decided not to make room for it, to avoid it and deny it at all costs.
The single The End we allow us to conceive is a film’s denouement, that one final light in the movie theater's screen. Yet, every year, unknowingly, we secretly celebrate the anniversary of our future death.
I can stop listening to Chopin now.