I’m in treatment for a serious cancer and may be meeting you in person soon. Or I may be around for a while longer thanks to new treatments available. No one knows but historically the prognosis is not great.🤷🏼♀️
I look around my house and it’s hard to ignore that the couch has seen better days, the original kitchen is seriously in need of an update, the blinds are showing their age etc.. Part of me feels like it’s ridiculous to invest in these projects. I should spend my limited energy elsewhere. The other part feels like I should live my life as though I’ll live till 90, which is what I fully expected before this turn of events (I’m 64).
Death or Decor?
Dear Death or Decor,
Mary Renault wrote historical fiction mostly about the ancient Greeks from the nineteen forties into the seventies. And like all historians, she wrestled with how people die, often in the middle of the story before they complete the business of their lives. In a 1972 book she writes, “One must live as if it would be forever, and as if one might die each moment. Always both at once.”
You have a cancer diagnosis. In the time that comes you may have more exhaustion and pain. Otherwise, your situation hasn’t changed. It was always true you could die at any moment. Your chances of death at any time may have increased but your life isn’t over yet. You get to keep making your life and your story until it does.
If creating a beautiful home makes you happy and feels like a meaningful affirmation of your life, there is no better way to spend your remaining time and limited energy resources.
But before you rush to Restoration Hardware, I’d like you to do one reflection exercise. Imagine that you will die in the next few years and that much later an historian will tell the story of your life. You have the opportunity now to choose the meaning of your last chapters. What story would you like to tell? Consider that you may only have time for one more big creative endeavor. Is a beautiful home a last scene that feels right to you? Or are there other more pressing campaigns to wage before you die?
Before death, all is permitted but you do have to choose. You only have so many hours in any day and what you choose will become the meaning of your life. That’s true without a potentially fatal diagnosis but now is a great time to reflect upon the power of choosing your life.
Beauty is an enduring and worthwhile choice from ancient history to present day. Is it yours?
Do you have questions for Death?
Send them to AskDeath@WeCroak.Com
It’s a practical philosophical exercise that is also an advice column :-)
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My heart breaks, reading this.. I wish you a feeling of peacefull surrender and wisdom. Hold yourself so tight!
im so sorry for you