I know how cliché this is, but today I started thinking about my death.
We have a history of cancer and other illnesses in our family (my mom died of brain cancer, but suffered from breast cancer before that), and the doctor said that we, the children, have 50% chance of acquiring the same illness. So, when I woke up today and found out that my menstrual period is on its 15th day now, I got kinda bit worried.
The truth is, I asked for a specialist’s opinion before, and told me that it’s nothing really serious. It’s probably due to hormonal imbalance, which we could’ve confirmed if I came back for further tests — which I didn’t.
So now that it happens again, it got me thinking, “What if I got ovarian cancer? What if I am dying?”
I immediately came to an answer that I think would be the most cliché of all, but would make me completely happy for the rest of my numbered days: I would travel the world.
I’d do my job, as usual, write stuff, post stuff, design stuff. But I’d bring my work with me when I come home to the Philippines the next day and be with my best friends, drink, laugh, get extremely drunk, and sing my heart out in a small videoke pub. I would do what people need me to do, and say what they need to hear, like usual. I’d help as many people as I can. But I’d travel often and do my job on the road.
If I’m dying, I would make the love of my life miss his work and drag him to the beach and spend the night gazing at the stars. If I’m dying, I would make my friends drunk and come home crawling at the streets while laughing. If I’m dying, I would make people laugh and say what I want to say and cry with them.
If I’m dying, I’d probably use every second of my life to actually live.
We all know what we’d do if we’re dying: we would go all-out crazy and finally do the things that we always wanted to do but never did because they are not aligned with our plans. If we are dying, surely we would find and grab the things that would make us happy, and not care whether it will make us rich and famous someday. But that’s what changes everything, the thing that turns the world around, the two-letter word that changes everything: IF.
We separate our actions based on two or more scenarios possible, and they are separated by if. You will confess your feeling to that boy if he asks you out first. You will take this course if your parents didn’t want you to take another. You would quit your miserable job and pursue your passion if you manage to save a lot of money. You will choose to enjoy life if and only if you are dying. The only question is, why?
Within 23 years, I met people and heard stories and exchanged ideas with more people than I can write about. I watched lives unfold in front of me — all sorts of them. Most of them had to do a critical decision and had the chance to choose what seemed to be the best choice, but they didn’t because things didn’t align with their ifs. But then, I realized that although there are 7.5 billion people in this world today, there are only two kinds of them: the dead, and the dying.
It makes me wonder, what would you do if you are dying? Whatever it is, you might as well do it now, because we are dying — we all are.