I’m trying to remember to avoid writing essays in peoples’ comments sections and turn them into posts instead :). This post is just my personal philosophy and own conclusions to such philosophical questions.
If we really take it to heart that anything can happen at any time—and this is true, no one can deny this—why don’t we treat the people in our lives like we believe this? If I knew for a fact that I would die tonight, what would I have done differently today? If I knew it was your time tonight, how would I treat you? So why don’t I do that now?
….Should I not bother going to work tomorrow?Hetty Elliot
The fact is, we can’t live like it’s our last day or last moments, because all meaning and purpose would be gone from life and we wouldn’t bother doing anything meaningful. If we can’t work towards or plan to do anything, it all becomes meaningless and we become nervous paranoid wrecks. This can be a symptom of long-term physical or mental health problems or isolation too, where we feel incapacitated or helpless.
I’ve been fighting this feeling my whole life and even more so in the last few years. The conclusion I always reach is that I have to have faith in knowing that I and my loved ones will be alright tomorrow, next week, that nuclear war won’t happen this year. That I won’t die of a heart attack before I manage to recover from trauma and become functional again (or as much as I would like). A certain amount of irrational, blissful ignorance is necessary. This goes right to the heart of what it is we’re doing here as humans. We have to create meaning and artificial constructs because the entire universe is terrifyingly vast in space and time, and that whole thing is entirely pointless as much as it is interesting. If the entire universe is pointless, then what is our individual life? There is only one objective answer to that. But we have to assume that gravity will keep working today along with a million other things.
Contemplating yours and your loved ones’ mortality is a useful and healthy exercise to some extent— because it helps you to find the meaning you place in life and your purpose. And this comes back to the original question— if it was your last day on earth, should you bother going to work? Well that depends on what your work is. In the extreme case, if your work involves saving 100 lives on that last day, then definitely and you wouldn’t question it (maybe!) :). But as with all things, we have to be somewhere in the middle between taking everything for granted and being ready for our impending doom, lol.
If we don’t value what we’re spending our time doing, or we realise we’re not valuing those close to us, then each day is an opportunity to take steps towards living what we do value. That’s easier said than done, because short-term obstacles can hold us back or slow us down— fire-fighting things during the day, or depression sapping our motivation. But committing to that journey and taking satisfaction in small actions in that direction can bring a lot of contentment.
Shortcut to the answer: we (mostly) all just fucking love helping each other and being valued and helped in return! So find ways to live that ethos :). A day where you managed to help someone is never wasted :D. And you’ll never regret it at the end of your life, even if you end up penniless ;).
Btw what happens when disaster does happen? Then we have to reach out to people even more and go into ultimate ‘selfish’, firefighting mode, being kind to ourselves and allowing people to help us. Whilst hanging onto our values and purpose.