#FreewriteFriday: What if

What if...reflections on life and living

Can you imagine a time when you will go to theatre to watch a play. That you will meet the actors afterwards and compliment them on their acting. That you will forget that one of those actors is your daughter.

That’s what Alzheimer’s does to you.

Can you imagine a time when you will want, more than anything else, to go for a walk with your beloved. In the cool, crisp air. Eyes soaking in the greenery around you. But your legs cannot support you any more, they have the tremors. You may lose your balance and fall at any time.

That’s what Parkinson’s does to you.

None of us know what tomorrow may bring. We think we will read these books later, when we have more time. We allow our attention to be consumed by social media and what’s app, by the sundry stress of everyday life, by the next trending series on Netflix, not paying attention to the ones we love most. We have our whole lives together, we think. Time enough, all our tomorrows forever.

But what if one of you ends up with Alzheimer’s or dementia, with Parkinson’s or some other  disease that robs your “later” forever.

What if you meet with an accident that proves to be fatal? Or that leaves you paralyzed?

All of these things happen. But we humans don’t like to think of our fragility. We don’t think of our tomorrows as being numbered. We see our lives stretching out ahead of us unencumbered. We don’t think about death, it’s so morbid. Instead we squander our lives, our time, running after things that – in the grander scheme of things – are unimportant.

We fight and argue over the most inconsequential things. We waste our hours as mindless consumers instead of creating or doing the things that give us a greater sense of meaning.

What if we lived with the thought of our own mortality? If we remembered that from the time we took our first breath, we started our march towards our death?

What if we lived each day as if it was our last. What would we do differently?

Posted in Soulful living, Stories.

21 Comments

  1. I really needed to read this today. My partner and I are thinking about getting an RV trailer and doing some travelling. We are both afraid (of buyer’s remorse, of figuring out the details, of not finding the travelling to be what we expected, a whole host of other things) and dragging our feet, but really, why? Why not live even if it doesn’t turn out to be what we expected? That could even be a good thing. 🙂 Thanks so much for your thought-provoking words.

    • I hope this post inspired you to give that RV a go! I’ve seen/read so many accounts of people who travel in their RVs and I wish it was something we could do in my country. So yes, give it a go! Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you won’t, but you’ll never wonder about what could have been. xx

  2. I can’t say I truly like this because even though your message is positive, the scenarios you depict are downright depressing especially as the ‘moment’ comes closer. One of our cousins who is in his late 50’s has started his tremors ( Parkinson’s). Two others I know drank themselves to death before they turned 50( despite having successful careers and loving and stable family environments). Recently another in-law died of a brain aneurysm before she turned 60 my own husband had a TIA 7 year ago and most of my generation already has diabetes and hypertension.
    In this very happy scenario, one of my friends told me that we have only ten years to go before we become too old to travel, etc etc………
    So basically, I don’t like to think about what will be and what we can do in the future. I’d rather grab the moment today and do what I can…

    • ((((hugs)))) I lost my father in law to Parkinson’s and I’ve seen his older brother suffer from dementia. My only point was we never think these things will happen to us. That anything will happen to us. And so we postpone the things that we want to do. You only have another 10 years of traveling left? Well then, make those 10 years count! Seize the day. Seize your life. Do what makes YOU happy. Don’t sacrifice all your life and your interests and your dreams at the altar of work or family or any of the other “shoulds” that stop you. That’s all that I really wanted to say. xx

  3. I think we should think about life rather than death and Carpe Diem (sieze the day). Enjoy the moment. Learn from the past but don’t dwell on it. Your present creates the future, so live now and be happy.

  4. I saw that movie starring Julianne Moore and was stricken with sadness. How stupid we are to think we have forever to do stuff and so put things off for the tomorrow.
    Almost every day when I think about the future, I wonder how my life will be, will I even be able to do things I wish to do then? Since the last year, I have been working diligently at ‘living in the moment’ and not living in the past or worrying about the future, so when the fear of “what if” comes to my mind, I push it to a side and think only about the moment,the present. But, it isn’t so easy always! The mind does wander off to the unseen future that we claim to know very well. 🙁

    it’s all scary, very very scary, to think about. And, yet, we forget about it all the next instant when we make grand plans for our futures!

    • I was reading the book. And around that time the husband and I were having an argument over how much time we spend on social media. And then I remembered my father in law, who had Parkinson’s and it all just came out in one flow.

      Of how we imagine we will have forever to tell our loved ones how much we love them. How we can go for that holiday next year instead of this year. How we postpone so many things that we really want to do because we are uncertain or afraid or uncomfortable.

      And how we may never be able to do those things because life can be so unpredictable! So yeah, instead of pushing everything for later, do them now…as soon as possible! Who knows what later will bring?

  5. There is reality in your words and we often waste our time doing less important things. Things often put on later to-do list mostly remain undone. A little mindfulness and some patience will definitely bring us more fortune and mindfulness.

  6. It’s strange that we constantly ignore thinking about death – something that’s inevitable. I do it too. I don’t want to think about it because it scares me. Being old and ill is even more scary. My husband and I often joke about it – that none of us can afford the luxury of illness or death till the kids are old enough to look out for themselves. I think it’s the thought of the children that keeps us focussed on the future, their, more than ours. And I think that’s fine. If we started worrying about death we’d forget to live now.
    I do think you have a point when you say we need to cherish the ‘now’ more, rather than postpone happiness.

    • The point isn’t to worry about death or even illness. It’s to hold that very lightly in our consciousness. To remember we are here for such a short time, really. And to make the most of each moment.

  7. I don’t think I will be able to live if I think of death. I am too much of a worrier.? What I think of is if I die today, I shouldn’t have regrets. It’s true that Life is unpredictable and we should try to make it as meaningful as possible.

  8. I do try to live in the moment, but not because death is inevitable – thinking that way would kind of take the fun out of everything for me. Even the fun things would become a chore if I was thinking “I’m going to do this because tomorrow might not come”.
    Debbie #ablogginggoodtime

  9. I used to let fear cripple me, I try harder now to push through even though at times when living with anxiety it can be so hard. This year I have started to push myself further, we have planned some trips because we can not be sure if we keep putting them off that will we have the chance to do them later and that is why I struggle with the concept of your other post with blooming where we are planted because I want to move, I want my children to experience things and for me to not be crippled by fear of change. I was actually talking to my parents about this concept earlier today, they keep putting off travel because of health appointments and making excuses not to go, it saddens me as I hope my parents don’t miss out of their dreams, but it is their life and their choice. I just have to make sure I don’t miss out on my dreams. Great Post!

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