How Should You Live?

By Dave Morrow, Esq.

The moment we are born we are destined to die.

What happens when you are confronted with your own mortality? How would your life change? How would your personal decisions, large and small, significant and insignificant, change your habits, thoughts, and ways? What does it mean to know that your life is a small moment, an expected and unexpected casual and confusing occurrence through time…through history? How are you supposed to understand something that has a predictable and yet ambiguous timetable that can’t be predicted!

These questions consistently flow through my mind repeatedly as each year goes by…28, 29, 30, and now 31. I imagine my obsession with genealogy and discovering “my roots” is partly to blame for this new realization of my own mortality. Weekly, I stare at my ancestors and read about their lives and I internalize their hopes, their dreams, and livelihoods, and yet many have since passed for decades. Hardly anyone remembers their very existence. But, in some odd way, I feel that my knowledge of their lives keeps their memories alive, keeps their dreams alive, keeps their hopes alive, and gives me newfound energy to live a life they may have once dreamed about.

I also suppose the knowledge of my own mortality has altered my perception of the current reality. The old saying “don’t stress the little things” rings truer and truer each day. I haven’t the faintest idea what my life will look like in a decade, or even next year! And I suppose it doesn’t really matter. And if it doesn’t matter, then what should I be focusing on? How should I use my energy?

I would like to learn Spanish. I’d really like to learn how to Salsa. (Random, I know). I would like to marry someone that shares the same desire for living and loving every breath of life as much as I do. A familiar adventurous spirit would be appreciated. Also, I hope she would share my same view of optimism.

Optimism…that is a challenging feat considering the world we currently occupy.

Historically, I don’t know how my ancestors were hopeful and optimistic. Considering the poet James Weldon Johnson once eloquently wrote that they lived in a time period “when hope unborn had died.” How does one stay forward looking, hopeful, and optimistic, when life’s challenges will make you think and believe the exact opposite? Especially, when life changes so abruptly and sporadically. Those moments are difficult, frustrating, and just simply awful. Yet, somehow we are expected to keep walking, living, and believing in tomorrow.

How is that even possible?

For me, it’s a combination of faith and understanding. An understanding that each life is uniquely and beautifully created for a special purpose. A purpose that may be greater than our own comprehension. A belief that somehow each of us have been placed on this earth for a matter greater than our own understanding.

That understanding is the true beauty in living.

But, since I know I have date with death one day, whenever and wherever she may meet me, I choose to live abundantly, freely, and optimistically, while walking with a purpose. As difficult as it will be at times, I must recognize that time is truly fleeting.

I hope you find me with a consistent smile and pleasant demeanor. Because I choose to live with every moment of my current being. I choose to live and dance and sing and laugh and love every second I have in this world.

Look for me on the dance floor.


Photo Credit: Danny Sellers