Memento Mori… a phrase the conveys a simple concept-remember, you must die. Sounds depression, right? But wait, let’s think about this for a moment. Is it true? Absolutely. So why not use that to motivate yourself to do the things you’ve been putting off? In August, I realized that the year had just about passed me by. What had I done for the first eight months of the year? When I reviewed the year, I concluded that the better question was, “What have I NOT done?” In reality, so much. 365 days in the year, 24 hours, 1440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds in a day. We all get that. What we do with it is entirely up to us.
To be clear, I’ve done some great things this year. For example, sitting on the couch with my husband every morning, slowly sipping coffee and talking without a care in the world. Our garden has been fantastic, and over the past month, we’ve begun to can and freeze fruits and vegetables. My parents, nephews, sisters, and I are all in an endless group text message, so I interact with them daily. I’ve stopped absorbing depressing, anxiety-producing news reports and social media, restricting my time in Facebook to writer groups and my author page. I’ve gotten back into a workout routine, lost six pounds, and I feel fantastic. I’ve taken on the attitude that if the world ends tomorrow, that’s fine. I’ll be writing or editing a draft of my next book, picking tomatoes in the garden, or sitting on the couch with my beloved husband, sipping coffee. Basically, whatever happens, I’ll be doing something I wanted to get done.
In my mind, the year started on August 24, 2020, because that was the day that I reminded myself, “memento mori.” The holiday novel I’m writing on was inspired by this idea that we will all die. My favorite podcaster utters this phrase from time to time. In the beginning, I was very uncomfortable with her throwing the truth out there like that. Then I realized that one of the reasons I admire this woman is because she’s taken this phrase to heart. Doing today, or you might not get the chance.
A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas was sparked by this idea that there is only so much time in life. No one has an endless clock, but there are times when we forget how precious each moment is. Sylvia Wilcox is a workaholic, partially because she is a young widow, but also because there are times when she isn’t sure what else there is to do. In A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas, she takes a moment, a breath, and examines what can happen in a moment of much-needed downtime.
The first eight months of the year were not a loss. I learned a great deal about what I wanted in life and what I needed to leave behind. Ten years ago, I climbed aboard an Amtrak with a bunch of books, a few apples, trail mix, and the last sixty buck I had to my name, because I’d figured out that life was too short to stay in stagnation. It was better then, and now, to walk into the unknown. 2020 has made me realize that it was time to get back in the game. Throw caution to the wind and move forward, even if the road is scary and I don’t know where I’m going. I’m confident that the road will eventually meet my feet. 2020, with all its troubles, has ironically boosted my mood back up into the stratosphere. I’m excessively happy again. As an old friend of mine use to say, “She’s all sunshine and lollipops!”
As I continue to contemplate memento mori, and the beauty and mystery surrounding mortality, my level of gratitude increases. Death can be feared, or simply recognized as a part of the life cycle. Let it encourage action-not fear or stagnation. I’ve come to think of it as a motivation to live my dreams and keep moving forward without looking back. This idea that we will all die reminds us that time is of the essence. Do it now, or possibly never accomplish your goals. The good news is that you have time, as do I, to move forward and complete the task at hand. Make yourself proud!