Facing your own mortality

Way back, I remember reading a quotation “Nothing concentrates the mind like an imminent hanging – your own!

I don’t remember the source, but I had an experience last week that certainly concentrated my mind.

I have been fortunate to have led an active life, but over the years, bumps and bangs from falling off horses, getting knocked over by cattle, playing rugby at school and many other adventures have taken their toll.

For some years I have had an irritating problem in my neck that causes pains to travel down my neck and into my shoulder. When it first happened, it was irritating more than alarming and a visit to a chiropractor soon fixed it. A few recurrences have been handled the same way.

Last Thursday, it started again, but with more severe pains which spread to my head, both arms and then my chest. When the chest pains became more severe still, I started recalling all the symptoms of a heart attack and then had to face the thought that maybe this was the big one.

Fortunately a visit to our local hospital emergency room, an ECG, x-rays and other tests all indicated that my heart was good and it was the old neck problem aggravated by a minor problem in my back which I had done nothing about.

Another visit to the chiropractor and I was feeling much better.

Despite the frequent criticism of our Canadian Health System, I have nothing but compliments for the staff at Woodstock General Hospital, they treated me very well, and I was re-assured that when something serious may be wrong, the system works well. It’s nice to know.

Unable to sleep in the early hours of Friday morning and then lying in the hospital waiting for the test results, I had many hours to confront my own mortality and think about how easily and quickly our lives can end. I was also reminded that I have already outlived many other members of the baby boomer generation. A sobering thought.

It made me realise how important it is to use our time in this life effectively, it’s no good thinking “if only I had done this or that”. We must live every day and every hour as if it’s our last. I don’t mean taking irresponsible chances.

So what are you going to do today that you would do if it was to be your last day?

Tell someone how much you appreciate them.

Remember to thank some one for a kindness?

Start learning a new skill?

Start that business you have been thinking about?

Write your book that you have been dreaming about for years?

Just do something special today.

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

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  1 comment for “Facing your own mortality

  1. August 25, 2009 at 12:52 am

    I added your blog to bookmarks. And i’ll read your articles more often!

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