Yesterday, I had an unscheduled visit to Stanford Hospital for a relative. Chest pain, Emergency Room visit, then the Cath Lab. While waiting for the doctor to come out and give us an update, I reflected on the transience of life.
One moment and everything is different.
Thinking is clear. Priorities are uncomplicated. Relationships regain importance. Words have urgency. Time is finite.
Why can’t we carry over this clarity of thought into our daily lives?
Perhaps it is because we suppress thoughts of our mortality, that we will all exit stage right. Constantly thinking of our own mortality could lead to a defeatist attitude – why does anything matter anyway.
Perhaps we make ourselves the center of the universe, and think everything revolves around us. Since we are so important, of course, we will always be there.
Perhaps it is the mystery of an event that has no experiential answer. If there is no answer, why think about it.
Perhaps societal norms guide us to ignoring the finiteness of our bodies. No one wants to strike up a casual conversation about mortality. When such a conversation is necessary, it is accompanied by uncomfortable emotions.
Perhaps thinking about our own physical transience is accompanied by too much regret and remorse. We revisit actions that we would do differently, and mull over actions we should have taken.
Then the doctor came out and gave us an update. All had gone well, the angioplasty was successful, the patient was recovering.
But I am still reflecting on these thoughts and feelings and hoping to carry the urgency and clarity of those moments into my daily life.