Finitude of Life

I just finished a book titled When Breath Becomes Air. I bought the book because the reviews are good and it turned out that they did not fail me at all. The book is, in fact, very good. It is a true story of a neurosurgeon who was dying from a lung cancer. In his remaining time, he wrote a book about how it’s like to be dying and how he understands death. His wife also took part as she wrote an epilogue for the book. And that part literally brought me into tears.

The book makes me think of life, a lot. Especially about how all of us very often neglect the fact that death might actually be very close to us. We’re not granted with 80 years of life in this world. We might, we might not. Some live longer, some not. No one knows. Not knowing when it is going to happen does not mean it is not going to happen, though. Yet we still live as if we got forever.

Not knowing when our final time will be is somehow very tricky. We always have the mindset that there will be tomorrow. However, when the time comes, it comes so suddenly. What if we don’t get the chance to do one thing we want the most in life? What if we haven’t told someone how we really feel for them? What if we haven’t lived life to the fullest? Everything will be way too late by then.

Perhaps it is somewhat easier for people who are diagnosed with an illness and their remaining time in this world can be predicted. Even though there may be miracles, at least they’re already prepared. I’m not sure if this is the right analogy, but think of my time when I was in Manchester. I lived there for a year and when I have booked my flight ticket to go back home, I made a list of things that I would like to do before I went home. Eat a portion of half chicken al-faham, stroll around the city center on my own, take my last picture in front of the university, and so on. Even since the very beginning, I already had a list of things that I would like to do during my time in Manchester. I also took almost all of the opportunities that came to me. Maybe if we do know when our last breath will be, we will already have that kind of list, if that makes sense.

Shall we then start to live our life as if today is our final moment? I don’t know, honestly. But I think, to fall in love with our life, to be content with it and hold no grudges pretty much resembles a ‘life lived to its fullest’. Do you?


♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia


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