Published on March 27th, 2013 | by Thompson0
‘Til It’s Gone
We all get it in the end. It, of course, being death. We all get death in the end. There’s no denying that, especially in the case of Shakespeare’s King Lear. But there’s another it that’s a tad more optimistic and somewhat enlightening – life. We all get life in the end. I’m not talking about the everlasting life Christians look forward to when they pass through the gates of heaven. I’m talking about awareness. I’m talking about understanding. I’m talking about total consciousness.
Carl Spackler may not realize it, but the Dalai Lama stiffed him. I’d like to think most of us receive total consciousness on our deathbed, unless you’re a bitter old man or woman unwilling to accept the truth. This truth, this total consciousness, is a bittersweet epiphany – the ’til it’s gone moment. The ’til it’s gone moment is that moment you realize how much you love what you have because it’s now gone, and this epiphany is bittersweet because we finally understand the meaning of our lives, but it took a lifetime to acquire this awareness and now we have no life left to live.
You can catch glimpses of this epiphany during near death experiences, of which I’ve had a few. Most recently (or just the one I’m most willing to tell you about…you decide), I was blown into a cement median on the interstate going 80 mph on my crotch rocket and was nearly run over by the semi-truck behind me. When I pulled the bike to the shoulder I collapsed and immediately went into shock as I had a laceration through every layer of skin running from my left knee to my left butt cheek. Before people arrived to help, all I could think about was my family and my girlfriend at the time. It’s absolutely sobering to have unconscious thoughts race through your mind and let you know what and who you really love. We spend our entire lives asking questions, the biggest of which being, “What is the meaning of life?” Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to answer and then we’re dead.
So why does this epiphany overwhelm us when we die? It’s because we’re vain, selfish, stupid pricks that make mistakes, and many of those mistakes take a deathbed, tons of morphine, and a light at the end of the tunnel to realize. Last rights aren’t read out of strict Catholic tradition, but because there’s a running tradition of guilty consciences awaiting death. So is the meaning of life to avoid making mistakes? Absolutely not.
“I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;
I stumbled when I saw: full oft ’tis seen,
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities. –O dear son Edgar,
The food of thy abused father’s wrath!
Might I but live to see thee in my touch,
I’ld say I had eyes again!” (Shakespeare’s King Lear, Act IV, Scene I)
The meaning of life has more to do with embracing mistakes than avoiding them. If you’re going to avoid anything in life it should be regret. That way, when you’re ass is stuck in a deathbed you won’t long for the things you should have done and simply reminisce about what you have done. I’ve always been one to make plenty of mistakes because I always felt they made great stories and I fancy myself a storyteller. But I try not to make the same mistake twice, yet here I am about to do so, leaving a woman I love for love of the game, ironically, but I won’t have any regrets. I’m a firm believer that happiness is just a moment, and I’m living in that moment as often as possible. When one moment passes you move onto another. So Friday will be last day in class, as I am moving to Minneapolis to start an internship. I will continue to blog and my final project will also be featured on this blog, so keep on eye on it if you have an interest in mistake-making or finding those moments of happiness before the ’til it’s gone moment sneaks up on you. Catch you on the other side.