Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stay alive until you die, don't die until you're dead

Memento mori...

Some time ago, in a blog post, I asked the question, what do you want to be caught doing when you die? Of course, having dealt with the C-word in the last couple of years, the question has become one of immediate interest and I've thought a lot about the question of time, and how we are obliged to make the best possible use of this finite resource.

The other day, it popped in there again when I was reading the blurb of a biography of a well known Australian artist. It said that she had been painting right up to the day before she died, in preparation for another exhibition.

One of the things I'm grateful for is being granted the tremendous gift of Good Work. I understand that the Buddhists say that a huge part of the question of how we are supposed to live and order our lives has to do with Right Work, and I think this is spot on. Many, many years ago, I knew that whatever work I was going to undertake, it had better be worth spending a third or so of my life on. Aside from sleeping, the eight-to-ten hours a day most people spend at work is the largest chunk of time we have in our lives. I simply could not bear the thought of just doing some job for that percentage of my allotment of time.

But now I'm wondering again about the right use of time, and the question of Good Work, and, assuming that cancer doesn't return or some other accident doesn't happen, I'm thinking hard about how I want to spend the second half of my life. And the story of the woman who died painting has stuck in my mind.

What do you want to be doing on the last day of your life? What do you want to be caught doing by death?


Funny: what does The World think is "good work?" When you put the search term "good work" into Google, the very first thing you get is a website from Canada called "Good Work Canada" telling you how to get jobs in the Environmentalist industry.


1 comment:

Alice said...

The reality of life, though, is that sometimes you don't get to do the work that you feel best suited to by nature. You're stuck spending eight or nine hours a day doing something you aren't particularly good at and that you don't find rewarding.

And Providence might just be putting you through your paces, and have the dream job for you just around the corner--or it might not, and death might catch you restocking shelves.