We are all going to die someday.
It is a haunting reality that we as humans do our very best to avoid thinking about.
I can not avoid it. Every day I am tasked to mitigate and manage tragedy, sickness and yes….death. I am a firefighter.
I worked a horrific traffic accident earlier this year just before Christmas where a young mother, traveling alone late at night, lost control of her vehicle and was killed, the car erupting in flames. A split second in the delicate fabric of time ending the course of her physical existence on earth. There was the time a woman sitting in a peaceful park enjoying her lunch had a tree fall on her. It wasn’t a windy day, just a true freak unavoidable accident. These are but a couple examples of hundreds, each of which remains embedded in my thoughts and inner soul. Life is precious.
There is a time of deep reflection immediately following these tragic incidents. I will admit that this sometimes leads me to search out the victims social media. It is eery yet powerful to read through their posts cataloging their hopes and dreams often right up to the time of the accident. To know that all of these hopes and dreams remained possible right up until that split second in the delicate fabric of time. What was is now all that will ever be. Trust me, it sucks to be reminded of this every single day.
Working ground zero, WTC
But I don’t write this to bring you down. Quite the opposite actually. The great tragedies I bear witness to brings tremendous reminder for me to live like tomorrow may never come. To smile more. To love. To enjoy and to inspire.
So I travel. Not to escape life, but so that life does not escape me.
During my travels I strive to experience enriching moments, satisfy my curious mind and partake in impactful positive exchanges between myself and the world I am passing through. Traveling is my escape from my own deeply seeded fears of death and impermanence. The time will come when a collection of friends and family will reflect back on my life and I want them to smile, knowing that I lived a fulfilled life. I want them to know that I was able to provide something positive back to the world, even if just a little sparkle of inspiration and happiness to my fellow mankind.
Taking a walk with an elderly Tibetan at a refugee camp ‘retirement home’.
It may be that traveling is not your primary life objective or means of fulfillment. Perhaps you are a parent of a child and you seek to provide and raise that child. Maybe you are an artist who seeks to create and share your art with the world. It doesn’t matter, we are are all unique individuals with our own stories. Write the story that you want to read. Later in this very day I will look into the eyes of someone, a real person just like you and I, who no longer has the option to choose the narrative of the next chapter of their life.
Of course there will be struggles and conflict, sadness and sorrow. But remind yourself of the end goal. Don’t let anything stop you from obtaining your objective. I truly feel that in the end, it all comes down to we as humans seeking to live a life where when the end comes we can look back and say that we are content with the life we lived.
Here is a picture of a few cute puppies to end this post because life is too short not to smile more at cute puppies 🙂