Death, and both the finding and experiencing profound love go hand in hand. Death, akin to water spilling from the spout of a watering can onto great love, the seed just beneath the surface. Thus, once infused with this prompting, more certain to flourish and bloom wildly.
Petty arguments over who takes out the recycling how often, whose turn it is to make the bed or clean the bathroom. Annoyance over your partner leaving their magazines and mail on the table, or using the wrong knife to cut vegetables. All of this growing significantly less important and receding in the face of knowing death is coming. And more rapidly than we like to think.
Consider however old you are now, and how quickly that time has already passed. It goes fast. We wouldn’t bother to grow irritated over these little, ultimately irrelevant things nearly as often, to waste energy on them so frequently in light of keeping at the forefront of our minds, death looking over our shoulder. This mindset tending to sober and clarify rapidly our day to day, even minute to minute priorities like fog evaporating from a glass.
Further, we would likely strive harder to be better partners ourselves. Our love, one of the utmost priorities in our life and thus, a shift liable toward deepening motivation to be more attentive, thoughtful, mentally present, and considerate partners in the limited time we have left with this person.
No more (or rarely) would afternoons be spent sitting across from one another in a restaurant, or even at home, routinely scanning through our Facebook or Instagram feeds. Ever checking texts as time trickles away. Our attention, maybe half on the person in front of us, divided and torn between our electronic device’s siren song. Arriving home from work, though continuing to perpetually and sporadically look at emails from work. Spending hours mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest.
With death ever in the doorway, instead, we would tend more toward rushing home to our love, aflutter with joy and anticipation. Knowing that time is slipping away with every passing day, more certainly reveling in any and all moments spent with them.
Lying in bed well into a Saturday or Sunday morning, gazing at each other. Taking in every bit of your love, the color of their eyes, the shape of their nose, how their hair is mussed on waking. Desperate to hold onto, memorize, and capture all of it. To tuck those details into the treasure trove of your heart for safekeeping.
Lingering and luxuriating over breakfast together. Instead of rushing lovemaking, looking at, touching, and marveling over every inch of this person you so treasure, with whom time is limited and fleeting. Wanting to commit to memory all the unique aspects of their body and being. To etch into your heart, all of the things they say and have said.
Holidays would be a thrilling opportunity to set them alight with something personal, wildly surprising, and radically romantic.
Even the routine of daily life would frequently feel laced with a shimmer of light, with the awareness of impending darkness that will befall you in some years, possibly even sooner. As this specific detail regarding “when”, we cannot know.
Working late (especially at a job which does not fulfill you) would more frequently lose its allure, knowing time with your love is so limited and precious. Giving one far more cause to prioritize spending as many moments as possible with this person.
With death whispering in your ear, priorities are often drastically reshuffled. Even potentially resulting in an entire life upheaval.
With regard to body image and sex, this would drop to the bottom of that list of “important things in life that occupies one's thoughts.” How your breasts look in this position during sex. Does your stomach stick out? Is your facial expression silly? Do I smell weird? Do they think I look good? Or, might they notice the extra five pounds I put on over the holidays?
With death in the wind, most of us would then shrug our shoulders and decide, who cares? Suddenly, the perpetual anxiety and worries over how we look seeming silly and irrelevant. Then plummeting toward the bottom of one’s priority list.
Health and actively taking care of oneself aside, assuming you do this to the best of your ability, these moments that so many of us experience of frequent worry and insecurity would reduce significantly, or even vanish altogether.
Further, far less often would people continue to stay in relationships that aren’t good. Relationships that are toxic, a glaring mismatch, ones that have reached their natural conclusion and endpoint, or those we have simply outgrown.
With death waiting in the wings and our life’s clock ticking, we wouldn’t become so easily resigned, content to waste what little time we have on something that is not great for us.
Remaining in crappy coupledom’s like so many of us make the mistake of doing, and for far too long. We wouldn’t have the time to waste on something which later on, we are sure to regret having done so.
Nothing like a ticking clock to infuse one with courage and imperative.
Instead, we would likely let go quicker when necessary, in order to seek that which truly fits and alights us, in the limited allotment of time we have here to experience on earth. Those who are healthy relationships, who inspire, uplift, and make our hearts sing.
With the sand running out of our hourglass, we would be far more impressed upon and motivated to let go and make that daring sprint in the direction of seeking what is right for us, that which infuses us with light.
With an expiration date set on one’s romance (as well as, on one's life), though the specifics of such remain shadowed, we should feel more imperative to go all out. And not just for the duration of that oh-so-infatuated honeymoon phase, but indefinitely. Knowing that your relationship will end, either by death or sooner, can radically change the mindset and focus of our love.
Instead of following the lusty, sparks-a-flying, infatuated beginning stage of love with the sliding into that usual later phase, the more monotonous, routine zone we tend coming to occupy, the relationship would never feel fully certain. And as opposed to growing inclined toward taking for granted and feeling falsely secure in our romance, we would remain on our toes.
With recognition and presence of a guaranteed impending ending, we remember that our romantic love is never secure nor certain. That it can end or they could depart at any moment, either by death, freak accident, or other unforeseen forces and factors, most over which we have no control.
In which case, assuming routine, security, that something will be ever steady and sure, and that one’s relationship is a given, all mindsets which are a significant error of thought and grossly inaccurate perception. One that, in the mindset of such, can result in premature ending in and of itself. Since taking for granted something is one of the surest ways to lose it.
It can be tough not to fall into this deceptive mirage of comfort and certainty. A very human tendency, to be sure. But doing so does us and our closest relationships no favors. In fact, it tends to result in the opposite.
When we remember that our days of having the chance to get to know further, kiss, listen to, enjoy the company of, and hold our love are numbered, we are likely to do all of the above with far more frequency, with greater passion and heart. Not wanting to waste any opportunities we have for doing so.
When we keep in mind that as each day concludes, this makes for one less that we have on this earth, we might answer differently when our partner asks us for a favor, or to join them in doing something which we would typically decline.
We may answer in a significantly contrasting manner when the chance presents itself to be vulnerable and open-hearted. Discarding our pride and instead, grabbing hands with our fear and true depth of feeling. Those which typically most of us feel anxious and unsure in revealing.
When we live with, at the very forefront of our minds, the awareness of our impending death and ending on this earth ever marching toward us, this ratchets the stakes for love exorbitantly higher.
What most of us tend to forget frequently, even daily, is that the stakes are already this high.
We have one shot at all of it.
Folks, the stakes do not get any higher than this.
Every single moment, choice, gesture, word, and expression, it all matters.
To both find and experience your greatest, most poignant, and life-affirming love, invite the very real and intimidating presence of an ending into your life. Live with this awareness. Not as a cynical, impending, fearful energy, though instead as a clarifying, sobering, and inspiring guiding star.
Want to discover and create the greatest love of your life? Invite the knowledge of a certain imminent ending to rent a room in the headspace of your life. As contrary and unbelievable as this may seem, it will be your most honest and courage-inducing guide. Death can help guide and steer you toward, assisting in the finding, careful choosing, and then creating your life’s greatest love.