The Daily Stoic for December 2nd, “Don’t Mind Me, I’m Only Dying”.

“Let each thing you would do, say or intend be like that of a dying person.”


“What would you do if you found out tomorrow that you had cancer?” That’s the question of today’s stoic meditation. I don’t actually have to pretend anything, as I faced this questions recently when I was incorrectly diagnosed cancer. Even if it was luckily just a matter of hours, it’s true that it really changes your point of view.

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Only Dying

… So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking 
Racing around to come up behind you again. 
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older, 
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.…

Pink Floyd, Time, The Dark Side of the Moon, 1972

But it’s also true that you don’t need such a diagnosis. As Stephen Hough mentioned, “Life is an incurable disease leading to death“. Every second that goes away is lost forever.

I don’t want to convey here a gloomy, dramatic tone, but the contrary. Every second is a gift. Once you realize that, you live your life differently. It’s not that Carpe Diem bullshit of “Let’s party till the end of times”.

It’s a more mature realization of the fact that you no longer can ignore that you, all of us, are dying. That makes you really appreciate your time in a different way. Not rushing to a party, but being thankful for every little thing you share with others or enjoy on yourself. As we discussed some stoics ago, “The glass is already broken“, so every second we can see our reflection on it is a second to be grateful.

So excuse me if today’s meditation seemed too bleak and dark. My intention was quite the opposite. Enjoy your life, be fully aware of it, every second, of who you are, of who you share your life with, of everything you do.


Today’s Daily Stoic, “Don’t Mind Me, I’m Only Dying”, is a good reminder of the fact that we are all going to die eventually. That feeling, as the stoics here affirm, should not be seen as a negative thing, but as a trigger for thinking differently about our lives.

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