Yesterday we met a lovely French couple who we immediately ‘clicked’ with due to our shared passions of travel and animals. We talked about our journeys, self-development and shared photographs of cats, dogs, and elephants. During the conversation, it came up about how many photographs her and I take and she shared that one of her meditation teachers had said the reason she takes so many photographs is due to her fear of dying. It got me thinking and I came to the same conclusion. Yes, it’s true, I do have a fear of dying but my fear of dying is a good thing.
It’s ironic because when I was younger, at times I didn’t have a will to live and didn’t expect to live past twenty-one. At the time I was suicidal, lived on the streets and had no-one who I thought cared if I lived or died. I was reckless in my decisions, bold in my actions, and took extreme risks. To recognise that I have a fear of dying is a complete turnaround and yet it is one I am immensely proud of.
Now, I have so much more to live for. I have a purpose in my life, a job to get done while I am here, a wonderful lifestyle, and a loving fiancé and family. My life has meaning and I can now see how each struggle in my life was simply preparing me for what I had to do. But it also contributes to my fear of dying because, “What if I don’t fulfill this purposes before my time is up?”
For some people, the fear of dying could work against them by stopping them from living. For example, they may choose not to do certain activities that could potentially harm them such as not going on certain tours, not taking flights for fear of terrorism, or not visiting certain countries. But that would be allowing fear to control your life.
For me, my fear of dying is good for me. It’s one of those fears that I use to benefit my life, rather than detract from it. It is the driving force behind moving my life forward. It pushes me to live each day to the absolute fullest. I sometimes cram more into a day than some people do in an entire week and I have lived a large and full life already, with so much more I still want to experience.
As an example, yesterday I spent cuddle time with my fiancé, then did Pilates, ate breakfast together, did some self-development, faced a fear, shopped for wedding rings, had some clothes tailored, coached a client to an aha moment, changed resort locations, met new friends, relaxed by the pool, hung out at two of our favourite restaurants, cuddled a cat, did some reading & research and finally curled up in bed and fell peacefully asleep.
From the minute my feet touch the floor I am thinking, “What do I want to get done today?” and “What else can I do today.” I am currently doing a 365-day challenge where I also add to that, “What act of courage can I do today?” and “What act of kindness?” With this as my focus, I get to create the most amazing days. Yes, there are still challenges and responsibilities I need to deal with but with my fear of dying propelling me forward, I feel it forces me to live my life to the fullest.
So yes, when I take photographs, the real reason is I am afraid this might be my last day on this beautiful earth or my last opportunity to experience what I am seeing, feeling or hearing in that moment and I want to capture it forever, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. If it were holding me back from fulfillment then yes, it would need to change, but instead, my fear of dying is a good thing because it’s driving me forward to create a life I love every day.
Do you have a fear of dying? Is it holding you back or propelling you forward? Share your experiences in the comments below.