What does it mean to be truly dead?
Generally, when we die, a part of us still exists. We continue to be present through the memories of others. They remember us, and while they do, they keep us alive.
They remember who we were, how they knew us, the moments we’ve shared together, and how we made them feel. They remember our face, our expressions, our favorite foods, our creations, our humor, our style, our touch, our beauty, our wisdom, our sincerity, our friendliness, our quirks, and our uniqueness.
As time passes, one by one, they join us in the ether. Once they’re all gone, so are the last remnants of living memories about us. At that point, we cease to exist once more.
After that second disappearance, ripples of our appearance in the world might continue to impact the universe we have just left. Long-lasting creations might continue to inspire for centuries. Our ideas might spread like wildfire. The waves we’ve caused through our actions might amplify long after our death. Many famous artists were only recognized postmortem and continue to change the world. Often in ways they never even imagined.
During our lifetime, we tend to focus on the petty and the mundane. We seek status, money, recognition, and fame. But there’s no point. Recognition and fame might come long after we’ve ceased to exist anyway. Instead, we should focus on bringing positive change to the world. No matter how tiny.
Instead of grinding money, we should look for joy and happiness, trading money for time at every occasion. Instead of chasing after fame, we should focus on creating deep relationships. Instead of seeking status, we should focus on being whole and true.
We should focus on creating those waves. Some might cause ripples well beyond our wildest dreams. It may happen during or after our lifetime. Before or after our second death. But even if we don’t succeed in our lifetime, we’ll forever have the inner joy of knowing that we truly existed.
My father in law was the funniest person I have ever met. He managed to bring joy and laughter to all family reunions. He did not revolutionize theoretical physics, but he really changed our lives. He altered our brains forever, for the better. His expressions and jokes get back to mind many times a week, and continue to ripple through time, continuing to bring joy, during and outside family reunions. I sure hope to have a tangible impact on the world while I’m still here, but I also want to make ripples through time.