Carpe Diem Squared

Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-dreamcatcher-during-sunset-5601484/

I’ve pretty much always subscribed to the belief and practice that Live for Today is a great mantra.  Some might interpret my choices as not sufficiently planning for the long-term.  And perhaps it is true that I exhibit some of the “addiction to immediate gratification” that is a hallmark of Gen X (and later generations.)  While I believe in preparing for the future, and I’ve been doing better the last several years in saving for retirement for example, I have also always put a lot of priority on investing in the short-term.  Several recent examples are taking my kids to Greece for a few weeks in 2022, paying for a week-long river trip in Idaho (shared with my brother, Dave), and spending regular Wednesday mornings in the winter hitting the slopes.  I get some grief from peers in work that I may not be sufficiently committed to my career — which is true!  I explicitly choose these special times with those I love over the possibility to “advance” in my job.

While Carpe Diem has always been baked into my decision making, there  have been events in the last few years that have made this even more of a priority to me.  It really started with the (too early) death of my sister, Jeannette, a half-dozen years ago.  It really put my own mortality in my face.  And more recently, some very special people in my life are facing life threatening illnesses.  Knowing with certainty that someone who has been a crucial part of my life for my whole life has just a few years (at best) left to share with me — that is hard to bear!  And it highlights even more that great value of every shared memory — from phone calls, to vacations together, to simple text exchanges.  These moments are like precious gems! We are mortal creatures that instinctively plan for our own immortality.  While death is a known fact, it is a distant fact for much of our life.  When death of someone close occurs, or when it is threatened, now my mortality is impossible to ignore — to relegate to the “not right now”. I get why we all constantly work on what Ernest Becker calls our Immortality Projects.  Whether these are religious constructs  or more secular, we want to believe that we and those we love will transcend somehow.  I have my own such belief structure.  But there is no certainty in these.  What is certain, what is absolute, is that we have moments now, that can be fully utilized.  To love, to share, to live. My efforts are redoubled to Love those Who Love Me!

We are mortal creatures that instinctively plan for our own immortality.

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