Dying Daily #106: A Survival Rate of Zero

“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”

Chuck Palahniuk

The idea behind this blog is nothing new, I’m just not sure it is something everyone wants to look at every day. Just about every religion out there wants to prepare you for death, and there are dozens and dozens of movies and songs and books about death and what it means.

As with anything we do, this is as much for me as anyone else. I want to keep the finiteness of life front and center for myself, to let it dictate what I say and do and think. I want it to determine what I say yes and no to, how I treat people, how I spend my time, everything.

There are moments where I wonder if writing about this daily is healthy or not, especially when it begins to feel like death is around every corner.

That’s the thing though: death is around every corner.

It’s not around the corner in the ways the media tells you it is, but it’s always out there waiting on you, and it sneaks up. The odds that you will die in a mass shooting, a terrorist attack, at the hands of the police or in a plane crash are negligible to nonexistent. Those things just get high ratings and a lot of clicks.

On the other hand, the odds that you will develop heart disease or die in a car wreck or from some random household accident, are much higher. The parking lots at hospitals are always packed and the emergency room is rarely slow. We see car wrecks on the road and ambulances and fire trucks at houses in our neighborhoods with what would be uncomfortable regularity if we weren’t so desensitized to it.

 Oh man, that really sucks for them, it’s a good thing it won’t ever happen to me.

I’d be willing to bet the people in the hospital getting the terrible diagnosis and the people in the car wreck and the person in the house with all the flashing lights around it thought the same thing too.

They were, like you, invincible and free from the grinding wheel of fate until it ran them over.

So it’s going to happen, you are going to die. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. No one really escapes this, even the people who might be lucky enough to enjoy ammortality (not immortality) by the year 2050 or so. They won’t be immortal, but they will survive so long as they avoid anything catastrophic.

They will not avoid catastrophic injury forever, they will die too.

This doesn’t have to be morbid or nihilistic though.

It is a reality of life, part of this existence.

It is not good or bad, it is just the way things are. It can be something that we dread and worry and cry about, or it can inform our choices on a weekly and daily and hourly basis.

How much time would you spend binging that television show if you were truly conscious of the fact that you are going to die one day?

Playing that video game?

How would you speak to your partner or children or friends or the random person on the street if you were truly conscious of the fact that you are going to die someday?

Some people say they would waste more time and treat people however they want because it ultimately doesn’t matter since they are going to die someday.

If this made people happy this wouldn’t be an issue, but how we spend our time and how we treat others matters for our own internal wellbeing. When we waste our time and treat others poorly, we are not happy.

You are going to die. Whether today or tomorrow or in a thousand years is irrelevant, because you don’t know when.

What if it’s today?

What would you do differently?

Go do that.