On Remembering the End

Death is not an obstacle to overcome, nor something to fear; death is what gives meaning to life. It shouldn't be eagerly awaited nor avoided, but should be accepted and acknowledged. From Seneca to Marcus Aurelius, this attitude is one that Stoic Philosophers have encouraged and cultivated for thousands of years. Why? It is because they know that this attitude is freeing and it enables one to live their true life, and be their true selves. Life has meaning because of death: great things have great ends. It is sad to give a eulogy; "he lived a long life", but at least he lived. To fear death is unnatural because it is a part of you, but to embrace it? That is natural; death is simply the last step of life, the end to a beginning.

Death is humbling because the greatest person who ever lived, as well as the smallest, has died. Death is aspirational as it is just around the corner: you better be the best version of you today because there may not be a you tomorrow. Death is freeing because once you realise you can't avoid it, you accept it; it no longer looms over you. It is the final stone in the road, the estuary where the river meets the ocean, the epilogue of your life.

Every day should be regulated as if it were the one that rounds out and completes our lives, that we may be able to say in all joyfulness and cheerfulness as we retire to our beds, "I have lived. I have completed now the course that fortune long ago allotted me." - Seneca