Recently, I witnessed couple of events that disturbed me profoundly. In my book, Happiness is All We Want, I talk about losing my grandparents one by one. Those losses forced me to think about the impermanence of this life.
But, in last couple of months, I saw two men in my age-group, early forties, passing away, abruptly. These people apparently didn’t suffer from any ailment. They were healthy and fairly active till a few hours before their death. They complained of chest pain and it was over in a matter of couple of hours.
Contrary to my assumed belief, I was deeply perturbed by this. When I attended a well-being program by Sadhguru, few years back, he mentioned,’ When you wake up in the morning, thank God that you are alive.’ I remember reading, ‘Live every day of your life as if it is the last day.’
This kind of messages on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and a zillion other (patho) social networks stream past us everyday. They have become so clichéd that we have stopped bothering about them, leave alone contemplating them.
Earlier, when I used to hear of such cases through newspapers, it didn’t feel real. Yes, someone, somewhere lost his or her life. I paused for a moment and moved on. But not this time. My sleep was disturbed for more than a week. Why?
These guys were neither my relatives nor friends. Upon some contemplation, I realized that it was the ‘similarity effect’ that was haunting me. Besides the age bracket, my professional background is strikingly similar to them. Their children are in the similar age-group as mine. Living in same city and area is just another coincidence.
So, life showed its impermanence one more time. This time as if someone held the mirror right into my face. So, it was difficult to ignore or turn my back.
Any age, any kind of healthy lifestyle, any precaution or any medicine cannot ensure that you will live beyond your allocated quota of breaths. Yes, I do believe in this. The events of birth and death are pre-determined.
The efforts that you take to keep your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing in order only help you live a better life. But not a second longer than what you are destined for.
So, when I have a fight with my wife, I must remember that it may be the last time that I am talking to her.
When I scold my children, it may be the last time we are talking to each other.
When I get irritated at my mother’s instructions, it may be the last time I ever spoke to her.
When I miss my father’s phone call, it may be the last time he called me.
When I don’t reply to my brother’s email promptly, he may never get a reply from me.
When I go to sleep without saying ‘I love you’ to my children, it may be the last time I had the chance to do so.
When I miss my daughter’s dance performance, it may never happen again.
When I don’t tell my son a story, he may not be there to hear it again.
These thoughts reaffirm my belief that as a human being I need to keep reducing the level of frustration, anger, irritation, impatience, intolerance, tiredness and fatigue. And I need to work on it everyday.
The goal of life is not only to amass more and more wealth as the cost of everything else.
The goal of life is to work upon yourself and improve yourself as a human being every moment and everyday.
For, tomorrow we may not get a chance to improve.
And that’s why we are alive.
In the next post, I talk about How to Improve Yourself?
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A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.