Which way are you looking? Life or death?

Warning: This is a morbid topic. Readers of a sensitive disposition may find the content disturbing.

It’s easy to be a young adult – most of your goals and dreams lie ahead of you. You start sentences with: “When I go to ….” or “As soon as I finish training I will …” Then along comes one of your dreams: a wonderful partner and then the family, along with the mortgage, the insurance, garden and house maintenance, school costs, and before long your head is filled with “get-by” rather than “chase your dreams”.


Of course, when you’re a young adult you don’t see life as easy. You spend most of your thinking time on trying to uncover the rules for success, until you realise that in most circumstances there are no rules, mostly only good timing. Then you begin to value those dreams again – the ones that don’t rest on having to earn mega-bucks.

Counting time as dreams run out

Your perspective on when you’ll do things in life changes. Instead of seeing life ahead as an endless reservoir of time to do things, you start to count the time you have left. You also notice that certain dreams have passed their use-by date. There is now no way I can take up tap dancing or climb a mountain when my knees creak and throb as I climb a ladder.

Until I was 50 I kept reassuring myself that I had half my life ahead of me. Once I reached that magical life-number I realised that I couldn’t kid myself any longer. Instead I tallied the years until 100 and thought about how much I could cram into them. I also started looking back and valuing what had already passed.

Looking back and looking forward

In effect I turned my back on death and started valuing life, whereas, previously I had looked at death and counted the life I had left. That was until I realised usually death doesn’t come with a ‘just a minute I haven’t finished this’ option. You die, you’re dead, your energy passes on to who knows where – there is nothing more you can do here on earth. If I haven’t finished a project, tried an activity, or hugged a loved one, time has run out and there’s no going back.

But it’s not all that bad. You won’t have any worries, and you probably won’t have any way of influencing the people left behind to deal with what you left behind. Isn’t that a weight off your mind? No need to control circumstances and happenstance.

Damn the bucket list

Recently I‘ve found some of that relief sneaking into my thinking. It doesn’t matter if this book gets published; what matters is that I wrote it. It doesn’t matter if I haven’t travelled to half the places on my dreams board. I won’t give a damn when I’m dead.

Our bucket lists and dreams boards are pegged in the now, not against some fast running-out (although unknown) bucket of time. It’s being happy now. And for me, being happy now is writing – writing novels, short stories, non-fiction and blogs. Even travelling, I find a bit irksome, if I’m unable to find time to write. Writing is my passion and my passion equates to my happiness.

So this is me being happy …


Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author

3 thoughts on “Which way are you looking? Life or death?

  1. Good photo, Heather! You only look about 50! Yes, I’ve been thinking along those lines, too. Sometimes I wonder if I still have about 10 or 15 years of quality life left….if I’m lucky! And I, too, wonder if I will get my book finished and if I have time to do all the arty things, I still want to do. Maybe this has something to do with approaching 65!? I’ve always been hanging out for the time I could retire and was disappointed we couldn’t retire earlier than 65, like they can in the Netherlands. But I’ve been so lucky with my job and colleagues these last 4 years, that I’m now wondering if I could do a few more years!! Funny, how life pans out!
    Also, when I was in my early 20s, I was often depressed and hoped I would die young, so I didn’t have to face the difficulties life brings. And now…I don’t think I have time to die. Has it got something to do with being settled, being accepted for what you are and do, being loved for who you are and what you do? Have I learned enough or got enough brownie points to have an easier life perhaps? Are the spirits of my parents and friends guiding me? I don’t know, but life is good at the moment, except for me being clumsy at times or trying to be smart by trying to cut corners and making my life difficult that way! But I want to improve all the time, I don’t settle for half-pie! Maybe I’ll get to a stage that I will accept things the way they are? Later? Perhaps! Life is full of surprises if you have an open mind….!


Comments are closed.