Saturday, 2 May 2020

Memento Mori 'Remember You Must Die'

Memento Mori is a Latin term meaning 'remember you must die'.  A Memento Mori is something that serves as a reminder of death and mortality.  Now, I am not trying to be morbid here, I promise, that's the last thing we need right now, but I do think we can use this idea as a motivator to live well.  
Daily Stoic | The Memento Mori medallion – Daily Stoic Store

Historically a skull was used as a symbol of memento mori.  Many people carry a coin of memento mori like the one in the picture to remind them that death is coming to them, using their own mortality as a motivator to live a good life. 

Steve Jobs famously said, when he was close to his death, 

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear or embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart."

This global pandemic, I believe, is making many of us think about our own mortality more than we would like.  However, if you think about it in the wrong way then it will be depressing - yes.  Think about it in the right way and it will help you realise what is really important to you.  It helps you to prioritise and live a life that is meaningful to you.  This pause that we are all experiencing is helping many of us to stop and reflect on our lives.  Is your life going in the direction you want it to? Are you doing what you truly want to do in life or is your current job making you miserable?  So again, this pandemic might help some people out there to choose their own path in life after this ordeal we are facing has past.  It might help some of us remember that time on this earth is short and very precious.  

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day…The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”

Don't waste your time on the small insignificant stuff.  Very often people don't think about their own death or, and probably moreso, that of their loved ones, but death gives us meaning and helps us make the most of the precious time we have been given.  Never take for granted the time you all have, for tomorrow is not promised to any of us.