Memento mori, how to live before you die
What is memento mori?
memento mori translates from Latin to “remember you must die” in English. This phrase is believed to have come from an ancient Roman tradition that when a Roman general was victorious in battle, he would parade around the streets in his chariot, behind him would be a slave who quietly repeated “respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori! Which roughly converts to “look behind you! Remember that you are but a man! Remember that you will die!”
Remembering that you will die is a very powerful thought and is very popular amongst many religions and philosophy’s, from Buddhism to Christianity. Many people of our past have used “memento mori’s” as a reminder of their own death by having a decaying skull on their desk, this has become a centre point of the whole philosophy, it is often accompanied by a timepiece and a flower. The time piece representing the seconds that are passing us by, the skull showcasing death and the flower addressing the truth about our Vitality, in which we all will die at some point.
This ideology is a very common and popular amongst stoics, who believe that we should only place our happiness on the things that we control, which you can learn more about in this blog post.
Rich or poor, happy or sad, religious or not, we all have one inescapable fate, we are going to die! I’m going to die, you’re going to die and our friends and family are going to die.
I’m not going to lie to you, this fact is something that I have always struggled with and to be honest I could probably do with going to see counsellor for it but, after learning more about this idea and seeing I’m not alone in the fear of death I have become more accepting of it.
Marcus Aurelius had this to say in his book of meditations which you can buy here.
“Don’t look down on death, but welcome it. It too is one of the things required by nature. Like youth and old age. Like growth and maturity. Like a new set of teeth, a beard, the first gray hair. Like sex and pregnancy and childbirth. Like all the other physical changes at each stage of life, our dissolution is no different.”
I know at the time of writing this blog it is nearing Christmas and this probably isn’t the type of thing you want to be reading about, but in no way is this morbid nor is it to make you fearful, I’m writing this to inspire, I want that fire back in your belly. One of the worst attributes of mankind is that we procrastinate but, what if every now and then we reminded ourselves of what little time we had on this earth, what would we do? who would we be? What would we create? I think you need to ask yourself this question if you want the answers...
How to live, before you die
I was recently watching a Matt D’avella video titled “watch this before you die” where he was Interviewing Ben Nemtin from the buried life and it resonated with me!
Feeling lost after leaving college, the buried life which consists of four members, set out on a mission to complete the 100 things they had wrote down on their bucket list after one of them came across this extract of a poem:
“But often in the world’s most crowded streets, but often, in the din of strife, there rises an unspeakable desire after the knowledge of our buried life.”
This is exhibiting the truth that we live our day to day life, not really living, Drowning in work commitments and scrolling through Facebook which is stopping us from igniting our passions and living the life we truly desire. One thing seems to break the curse of the “normal life” and that is reminding yourself that you are going to die so, they asked themselves this:
What do you want to do before you die?
And that’s where their bucket list came from. Remember, Death isn’t there to scare you it’s there to motivate you to live beyond your wildest of dreams. I remember always saying this to myself when I was younger, I even had a fake tattoo of it “don’t count the days, make the days count.” And that’s what they did. Some of their targets on the list we’re simple enough like catching something and eating it and others were quite far fetched like playing basketball with the president (which they did).
Along the way, they tried to help other people fulfil their dreams of what they want to do before they die for example they helped a girl with an arm missing, get a top of the range bionic arm and you should of seen the smile on her face as she curled her hair!
So I have a challenge for you…
I want you to stop living for someone else, yes, things can get hard at times and you will often have to face things alone, but it will all be worth it so, what I want you to do is create your own bucket list!
It doesn’t have to be all fancy, just set aside some time to write down as many things you want to do before you die, no matter how crazy or stupid you think it is, put it on the god dam piece of paper!
Some advice is to get specific about the things you want to do and think about the people who could help you in achieving your goals, think of what you could offer these people for their time. It’s vital that you write down your goals as we can see how important it is for completing them here.
It’s also great for you to have an accountability partner which is someone who will help keep you on track, so feel free to tag me, @mattdavella and @bennemtin in a picture of your bucket list post.
One thing that we can learn from this story is the power of the community and how important networking is so, in the picture of my bucket list on my Instagram, if you see anything you can help me with or if there is anything you need help with on your list, I ask you to write it in the comments because you never know who will see it!
If you’re still struggling to get your butt into gear, you could get a physical reminder of memento mori which you can carry around with you at all times to remind yourself that your time is limited like these ones here!
Some of the links in this blog are affiliate links which means you can purchase the product and I will make a commission of it but IT WILL NOT be at an extra cost to you, any money I money I make through this is put towards the upkeep and improvement of this blog. Thank you in advance, Jake.