Everyone knows they’re going to die . . . but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently. . . . [T]here’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.
Mitch. Can I tell you something? . . . You might not like it. . . . Well, the truth is, if you really listen to that bird on your shoulder, if you accept that you can die at any time— then you might not be as ambitious as you are. . . . The things you spend so much time on—all this work you do—might not seem as important. You might have to make room for some more spiritual things.
“[M]ost of us all walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully, because we’re half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do.” And facing death changes all that? “Oh, yes. You strip away all that stuff and you focus on the essentials. When you realize you are going to die, you see everything much differently. . . . Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.”
He nodded toward the window with the sunshine streaming in. “You see that? You can go out there, outside, anytime. You can run up and down the block and go crazy. I can’t do that. I can’t go out. I can’t run. . . . But you know what? I appreciate that window more than you do. . . . I look out that window every day. I notice the changes in the trees, how strong the wind is blowing. It’s as if I can see time actually passing through that windowpane. Because I know my time is almost done, I am drawn to nature like I’m seeing it for the first time.”