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Zarr's Journal


Zarr's Journal

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1 entry this month
 

02:49 Jul 15 2021
Times Read: 93


We can think about what would change if we found out we had cancer. We can think about what it would be like to see one of our kids in the hospital with tubes coming out of their nose. We can think about the anguish of waiting to hear from the authorities—was our spouse involved in that car crash?

And we can imagine what we’d be thinking about in those moments when the news was finally delivered: Our hopes. Our life flashing before us. The prayers, the promises, the bucket list of everything we’d do if we could just get through this ok.

It’s important for you to realize that this exercise—the Stoic practice of memento mori—is not just hypothetical. Not anymore anyway. You just lived through a year-long version of it. You’re living through it right now.

There is a deadly pandemic floating in the air, accumulating in invisible aerosol particles, that has claimed the lives of millions. It’s been in rooms you’ve been in. It’s been inhaled by people you’ve passed on the street, just as they’ve exhaled. It’s incubated in and transmitted from people you’ve hugged, people you’ve served as part of your job. Maybe it’s even been inside you. Maybe you got COVID—a serious case or a mild one.

Everyone reading this, however, has something in common: you survived. Maybe you were aware of how close you came, maybe you had no idea, maybe you refuse(d) to see it. It’s true though. You dodged death.

We all did.

Do not ignore this brush with mortality. Think on it, instead. Learn from it. Let it sober you up. Keep those promises you would have made had the direness of the situation been clearer or closer to you. Change because of this.

As Marcus Aurelius said to himself during the plague that dominated his own time: Imagine you nearly died (because it’s true), now take what’s left of your life and live it properly....the Daily Stoic


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