Friday, September 21, 2012

A flash in the pan.

I wrote this a while ago as a preface to an essay that was never finished.  It was about living your life backwards by pondering what you would do if you knew you had one second to live.  Who would you be with? Where? Doing what?  Then doing the same for a minute, an hour, a day, a week... all the way up to a century.  By doing this you discover what's really important to you and what you want to accomplish with your life.  So, since I never finished the essay, I thought I'd share this portion of it with all of you.  
       It's been said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die.  The sum of all of your experiences in this world drifts through your consciousness to be reflected upon one last time before your passing into whatever lies beyond this life. I personally have never had a near death experience, but this idea seems plausible.  Everyone hopes they amount to something in this lifetime and it seems only logical that ones last thoughts would be on what impact they've made on the world and the people around them.  The part of this phrase that really provoked my thoughts however is not the idea of this stream of events pouring through your mind before you die, but the timing involved in the process, because who's to say how long a 'flash' is?  Is it a second? A minute? Five?  Maybe it's about seventy eight and a half years for the average person in the United States.  That's right, the entirety of your life is the flash.  It's interesting to look at life in this way, because then this 'flash' becomes not only your own reflection on your life, but a series of chances to change its course toward better reflections in the future.  This only works, however, if we have the foresight to look forward to looking back
If everyone was given an expiration date, a definite time and date when they knew they were going to die, most people would be more prudent with their time, using it productively to work towards an ultimate objective.  Unfortunately, we are not afforded this blessing (or curse) in our lifetime, and we consequently go on idly through our lives usually forgetting, and sometimes distracting ourselves from our eventual fate.  This is not to say that we should spend our entire lives fretting over the conclusion, but to ignore it is equally illogical and unproductive.  In any endeavor there is a goal towards which all other actions contribute, and life, being the ultimate endeavor, should be no different.  

George Carlin had the same idea a while ago, but he presented it a bit more comically:

I want to live my next life backwards:
You start out dead and get that out of the way.
Then you wake up in a nursing home
feeling better every day.
Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.
Enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.
Then when you start work,
you get a gold watch on your first day.
You work 40 years
until you're too young to work.
You get ready for High School: drink alcohol, party, and you're generally promiscuous.
Then you go to primary school,
you become a kid,
you play,
and you have no responsibilities.
Then you become a baby, and then...
You spend your last 9 months
floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions
- central heating, room service on tap,
and then...
You finish off as an orgasm.

Have a backwards day.

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