Updated: Mar 20, 2020
The Stoics use Memento Mori to prioritize and clarify what is important in life. To treat each day as a gift, and not waste time with distractions that do not serve them. To live each day as if it were their first and last.
The phrase is believed to originate from an ancient Rome, in which a servant would be standing behind a victorious general as he paraded though town. As the general basked in the glory of the cheering crowds, the servant would whisper in the general’s ear: “Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!” = “Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man! Remember that you will die!”
The flower symbolizes life, the hourglass is time and the skull represents death.
As I get older, the cycle of life becomes more striking. More of my family members have passed away in the last few years and these events make you question your own life and force a deeper introspection. Am I really living an authentic life that gives me deep meaning? What do I love / hate? If I could move anywhere tomorrow, even if the logistics are not lined up yet, where would I go? Why? What would my ultimate daily life look like?
My personal feeling is that we move on after we shed "our human clothes". But while we are here on this planet, having our human experience, we should live life to the fullest, do what makes us happiest and care less about what other people think.
"You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think." - Marcus Aurelius
One of my major guiding principles is to have no regrets when I get older and am sitting on my rocking chair. I never want to be thinking "I should have done this or tried that." I would rather fail miserably at something but knew I had the courage to at least give it a go!
"Boldness is the beginning of action, but fortune controls how it ends." - Democritus
In designing our lives, I think its wise to be conscious that we are on this planet for a very short time. Do not let fear, uncertainty and procrastination hold you prisoner. Before we know it, we will be but a memory. But until that day comes, I will try to live bravely, inspire others with my actions and live a life of love, happiness and meaning.
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