Day 11: Memento mori. “Remember that you will die.” Admittedly, this isn’t the most pleasant topic. There is, however, great benefit in meditating on the reality that at some point, you will in fact die. It motivates you to live the life right now that you want to be living. Meditate on this, and write out your thoughts. Does death scare you? Does it motivate you? It’s okay to be honest.
First of all, I think it's funny that I'm instructed to be honest as if I am not usually honest with my thoughts and feelings.
I have thought about death many times. I suppose that I would call my thoughts about death pragmatic. It is interesting to think about, as a mental exercise. I used to think that my feelings on death made me a sociopath -- as I'm sure that I've written before. It's not that I want to die, I have simply accepted that one day, I will die and I will never know when that day will arrive. I know that the odds are on my side for living a decently long life. Just because that I have accepted the fact that one day, I will die, doesn't mean that I avoid risky behaviors. I certainly don't seek out risky behaviors but I do enjoy some like rock climbing occasionally and skiing. I try and take reasonable precautions when I am going to engage in some sort of risky behaviors. I wonder if that isn't just part of maturing.
Thinking about death doesn't motivate or hinder me. I have read the study of people on their deathbeds where people said their biggest regret was that they didn't work doing something they enjoyed. I like to tell myself that I am working towards my dream job. The Air Force is a decent place to work but it's definitely not my favorite. As for sheer enjoyment, I enjoyed working retail at Christmas more. The Air Force is just a stepping stone on the path to my career in programming. Just because I have a day job that I'm not thrilled about, I am still working on my programming ability by taking classes towards a CS degree and things like Codeschool and Koans. I suppose that you could say that death is motivating me to live a more full life but I don't consciously attribute it to death. I just want to live a happy life and to live a happy life, you gotta do what you love!