The little things are important too

Two graves

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What do you think about when you sit in a cosy café, tea in hand, staring out onto a rainy street? I was there, a few days ago. I was thinking about the ‘me’ in the future, on the day of my death actually.

I had my big four-0 recently, which I think triggered this moroseness. But also, my granddad died a few weeks ago, which was very sad, but was not unexpected as he was nearly 90 and had been ill for some time. He’d had a good life. Married to my Nan for 60 odd years, and died with loving family around him.

One thing that occurred to me was that when imagining myself on my death bed, the little irritating things in life would seem so irrelevant, inconsequential. It has been said that when you are on your deathbed you don’t remember how much time you spent at work or how much money you earned, but you will remember the people you loved, and who loved you. Petty annoyances will no longer matter. But does that mean we should dismiss the trivial, day-to-day things such as getting the washing off the line or cleaning the house? Should we just ignore these things because they will be of no consequence when we look back, and should we instead spend our lives hugging everyone, talking and generally being sickeningly loving to everyone we know? Or do these insignificant things all contribute to the whole?

Although it seems a little morbid there are benefits to considering one’s own mortality. Firstly, no matter what you do with your life, no matter how much money you make, however many friends you have – you will, at some point die – it’s a sobering thought but death is a lonely affair. No one and no thing, including money can accompany you through the gates of Hades, across the river Styx, to the other side, wherever.

We all seem to be in one hell of a rush to get somewhere these days. Is it that we are trying to get to our own deaths as quickly and as painlessly as possible? Or is it that we want to get everything done, get to a state of completion before we sit back and relax and enjoy the remainder of our lives? Who is to say that we will not die before that day comes, and then we will have wasted time and effort in the pursuit of ‘getting stuff done’.

While I ponder these questions I think I will have just one more cuppa, because although I probably won’t remember this small event years in the future, I will, I’m sure, be just that little bit more relaxed. And perhaps maybe, it will make my life just that little bit better.

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