Last Sunday I read an opinion piece in the NYT (I know! Me=Smartypants!) by Arthur C. Brooks called "Be Happy: Think About Your Death." Anyway, the gist of the column was that being mindful of your own mortality gives you perspective about what matters and what doesn't, what you enjoy and what you don't. "If this were your last [day, month, week, year, hurrah] would you spend the next hour mindlessly checking your social media, or would you read something that uplifts you instead?"
(I would possibly be checking my social media, actually. But I would remind myself to notice how much I'm enjoying it.)
I was struck by Brooks' opinion piece because I'd been doing that very thing even before reading the paper. I didn't feel well much of December. Also, I had a cousin who died after a brief unhappy relationship with cancer. So inevitably my mind went THERE. What if I'm dying? What if this is the last time I put this ornament on a tree? What if this is the last time I eat TRQ's famous Christmas tree loaf? What if this is the last time my boys all get naked and take a Christmas sauna together?
Instead of depressing me, these thoughts helped me to pay attention to the things I was doing. And when all was said and done, I have to say this past holiday season was full of joy for me.
So yes. Think about your own death. And be happy.