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  • janetgoncalves

“Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75.”

“Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75.” is a quote about death by Benjamin Franklin.

The Merriam Webster dictionary lists several definitions for the verb “to die”, including “to pass from physical life”. However, in context of the quote, I think the better definition to be applied would be “to pass out of existence, to disappear or subside gradually”.

So, what are these people who “died” at age 25 doing for the 50 years until their physical death when they are buried (or cremated or a host of other options) at age 75? Death is the absence of life, but it seems that for those 50 years there is no life. They are subsiding gradually and not enjoying life. There is such a thing as dying before you are dead by having every hope, goal, dream, happiness, and so on, die inside of you.

“How do we forgive ourselves for all the things we did not become?” is a quote by David "Doc" Luben. Spend a minute reflecting on what this quote means to you. What things are on your mental list right now that you regret not becoming, or doing or experiencing? Are you enjoying life to the fullest every day?

Enjoying life can mean different things to different people. It could be professional success, loving relationships, being able to give back to society or a sense of purpose in life. All these things are motivators to enjoy life to the fullest. When one loses their motivator to live, that is when the death and decay begins.

One of the best ways to deal with grief, of any kind, is to find a sense of purpose. Living life with a purpose is one of the best motivators. First, you need to look at yourself objectively and decide what are your unique gifts and talents. What can you offer people? What is your ideal role? Are you in a career that makes you happy? One needs to first figure out who they are before they can create their personal happiness recipe and lead a “fulfilled life”.

People often find themselves feeling unfulfilled in life when their actions don’t consistently align with their core values—those ideals that matter the most to you. Your values are personal. Some may value things like family and stability. Others prefer adventure and freedom. There is no right or wrong answer. If you can define your values, then you can lay the foundation to build a life that makes you happy.

Perhaps you don’t know where to start to live your life with a purpose. A bucket list gives you a purpose in life. It's something you know you want to do. It gives you goals to reach for, and something to get out of life. I made a bucket (life) list this past year and really enjoyed completing all the life experiences on it- big things like hot air balloon riding, tidal bore rafting and mud sliding, and medium sized things like attending different theatre events and the smaller things like learning new skills and pushing my boundaries. Another way I live my life with purpose is by being a volunteer in my community, whether it is acting as an advanced medical first responder/instructor or offering free workshops online and in-person as a death doula.

Regardless of your age- get out there and live your life. It is never too late to start or to change direction. Create a tiny bucket list (of fun activities or new skills or new things to try) to last you until the end of this calendar year and cross things off it at least weekly. You don’t need to go to extremes like the characters do in the movie “The Bucket List”. Define your values and determine the role you wish to have in your life. Take the steps necessary to make improvements to lead you to the next stage in your journey.

As I state on my website- I wish you “a life well-lived and a death well-planned”.

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