Reflection on ceasing to exist is potentially a downer, and can be particularly so if one anticipates dying while still having pressing business in life. Putting such business into a truer life perspective is necessary for relieving such an anguishing premonition.
One creates a proper life perspective through triage of one’s preoccupations. We all have conceits regarding the importance of our occupations. We should elevate those few to which we assign lasting importance and designate them for timely completion. When these are done, the remainder of life can be cheerfully spent in the moment.
Some will have ongoing occupations that no single life would be enough to accomplish. Yet we still should keep our affairs in order. Postponing important business provides death its greatest opportunity to cheat us. Here the age-old homily serves us well: be glad to greet each day as if it were our last.
The most competitive among us, who value their lives according to the number of minutes lived, and who want to accumulate more of life’s minute treasures than the next person, are likely doomed to unhappiness on at least two counts. It is the quality of the minutes, not the quantity that counts in the end. And if one wins the quantity race, one’s last minutes are sure to be the most lonely of one’s life.
On the upside, death is the great equalizer. For who would complain at having the same fate as the greatest of us who have ever enjoyed life. Further, checking out is the responsible thing to do. Thus, no matter how we have lived our lives, we are at the end socially responsible. Congratulations to us all!
Other authors have dealt far better with this subject than can I. Subsequent menu headings here report some of their insightful writings, ranging from philosophical to intellectual to mundane and detailed. All attempt to interject a suitable amount of humor, as befits the comedy of life. The more nitty-gritty the memoir, the more practical the related prescriptions become.
I have noticed such authors convince us of their insightfulness by quoting Montaigne. Any wishing to reach such a state of deathly gravitas would be well served to read the great essayist as well.