Don't work too hard

Whatever the cause, somebody’s life will become only a memory today.

Death is everywhere, yet we continue living our lives and doing the things we do. Seldom do we consider the possibility of our own death, caught up in the whirlwind of day-to-day life. But I could die in the next hour, and so can anyone.

Recently, I saw a television show where a woman, diagnosed with a fatal disease, was dying. About to leave her two children behind, she was crying in her mother’s arms. Although it was all good acting, I couldn’t help but examine my life. We hear stories about people who, after a close encounter with death, suddenly turn their lives around and spend more time doing the things they love. Life really is short, and as much as we’d like to live it doing only the things we want –– the things we’d want to do if we were suddenly diagnosed with fatal illnesses –– we can’t.

Many people spend much of their lives doing things they don’t want to do. But as the world becomes more hectic and demanding every minute, I bet many of us feel obligated to surround ourselves with work in order to “get somewhere” in the future.

But what if the future never comes? Then what? Would everything turn into a waste? If I got into the college of my dreams but died even before it started, would my education become a waste? I should’ve probably spent my time having fun and sleeping nine hours a day.

Those thoughts are definitely not optimistic, but considering how death can come in a flash, it seems logical to spend each day with no regrets.

I read about death all year long. Turn on the news and there is bound to be news of murder or a great catastrophe. But we don’t think much about those people who died in the fire, earthquake or crime that occurred. We feel sad and think, Oh, that’s terrible, I feel so sorry for those who died and their loved ones. But that’s it, isn’t it? We don’t mourn the entire day, nor do we stop each time and think about how death can come to any one of us, any time.

It’s always the same with people who know that their lives will soon come to an end. Those who are ill are suddenly filled with a fierce yearning to live like never before and they fight until the end, inspiring everyone around them. But in the end, many die. On their deathbeds, they tell everyone to live their lives to the fullest and do the things they love because they couldn’t. They talk about their plans that will never be fulfilled.

Life. What is it? All the maturing we go through, all those life-changing lessons we learn, all the work we do to earn money and buy the dream home, and all the pain we go through: Where does all of it go?

I guess we can use our wisdom to teach future generations, but where does that wisdom go for us? Is it all over when we are dead? Are we only meant to become dust? Or is there something after death? Do we go through life and its tribulations to reach the ultimate happiness, which is unknown? Of course, those questions are the reason why we have concepts of heaven, a paradise.

But whether there is something after death or not, living life to the fullest is essential, because since we have it, we might as well do something with it. Throughout the day, take some time off, relax and have fun. Do things to make others happy.

We work hard and go through many obstacles for a successful future, but don’t let it get out of hand, because that future may never come. We are always told to live life to the fullest and to stop and smell the roses, but we need more reminders, just like I did.

Sovereigna Jun is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates