Nearly dying puts things in perspective. It is at the point of death we’re most lucid we see clearly then all we’ve done, been, could have been and could have done.
Nothing can quite wake you up to life like nearly dying. Being consistently inundated with the goings-on of life and trapped in a Maslow’s-Hierarchy-of-Needs circus, we’re sort of trapped in perpetual dream state. (The Matrix, if you will.) There’s an eerie cognitive dissonance at play in most of our lives today: we are aware of the intermittent throbbing signal in our minds that something is awfully not right with the system, yet we’re too far gone into dream state consciousness that we’ve attained a certain level of acquiescence with the hand life deals us every day. It’s the reason you loathe going to work on your current job in the morning, but you go, still. I know, we need the pay, right? It’s the reason far too many undergrads are bored with their majors in college (because, deep down, they really want to chase their dreams and do something else with their lives) but they stay on anyway. They’ve got something to prove, haven’t they? It’s the reason we relapse into apathy and make no effort to put things right, no matter our level of discontent/contempt for the corruption that plagues our government and national strata. I know, it’s foolhardiness that makes anyone think they can be heroes by standing up to a corrupt government, right? Perish the thought.
Thing is, as much as we think we desire to have more control over our lives, we, subconsciously, are relieved we don’t. Being in control is the toughest responsibility there is. It means you’d have to do an awful lot of thinking, fight and earn what’s coming to you. It means you’d have to wake up and take a shot at your dreams. It means you’d have to own up to your contribution on bad days and good days, instead of unwittingly appropriating blame to uncontrollable circumstances. But that is a hard task. It’s rather easier to let others we’ve, in our minds, placed on some pedestal do our thinking for us. And we care too much about our “reputation” and what people think and expect of us than to bother to answer the inner yearning gnawing away at our hearts. Like a throng of zombies, we latch onto every scent that wafts across our senses, almost never stopping for a moment to collect ourselves. If you care too much about unsettling the steady bitter-sweet humdrum voyage you’re on, you’re too far gone. You’re in deep sleep and need to wake up. You’d very likely need a near death experience (NDE).
Nearly dying puts things in perspective. It is at the point of death we’re most lucid we see clearly then all we’ve done, been, could have been and could have done. How people see you is way too trite to fester in your consciousness then. Only one thing matters when you get to the borders of eternity: You. How you played out your script. Most things that are a big deal to you now (and you’re rather quite content to distract you from living a full life) won’t matter then. It is in [the thought of] nearly losing it all that our costing/estimation skills glow brightest. Value(s) become sacrosanct, then.
I’m not positing we all grow suicidal proclivities. That’s silly. You don’t need to stage a confrontation with death (your chances of beating him aren’t anywhere near the neighbourhood of good, anyway). Death is around us every day; a surreptitious, unwanted neighbour, stalking and lurking around us. We have far too many memories and names of people known to us who’ve exited this plane courtesy of him. You think all those people would live their lives the same way they did before, should they get plugged back in? You think they wouldn’t do all in their power to make their lives count instead of giving in to trifling cravings? I doubt that they wouldn’t.
Death is an inevitable end we all share. And if you’ve had an NDE yourself, remembering usually helps to joggle your jaded perspectives and helps you realize what really matters. If you’ve never had an NDE, you don’t need to have one. Just try to think of those who’ve gone and now exist only in your mind and in the minds of their other loved ones. Ask yourself, if you were just about to check out, would you do be leaving with a smile knowing you lived a full life?
We’ve all heard the cliché, “live everyday like it’s your last.” But I think there’s a rather disturbing finality about living like that. I think it’s better to live like we’ve already died and have nothing else to lose in making the required calls to chase our dreams and create the changes we crave. You want more out of life? Great. Everyone does. So what’s holding us all back?
*Now hands you the red pill*
Solomon Osadolo is a curious young man who has a knack for finding stuff out. He likes to read and he takes particular interest in technology, music, psychology, writing. He blogs at www.soloxpress.blogspot.com and tweets from @soloxpress.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.