When people find out that I’m an atheist, they sometimes ask… “so what do you think will happen to you after you die?” My answer is simple. I think I will cease to exist. I don’t know this for sure and I would be excited to have an opportunity for an afterlife, but I think I will cease to exist.
“Are you afraid of death?”, the question follows. And when I first lost my faith I would have answered “yes”. I answered this way, because I was raised with the belief that I would live forever. And I believed it. So when I lost my faith, I also lost my immortality.
And it was shocking… I went from thinking I would live forever, no matter what happened to me today, tomorrow, or anytime down the road, to thinking that any moment could be my last. It wasn’t an easy transition… but if you don’t believe in an afterlife, then you just don’t believe, easy or not.
I went through a phase where I reflected a lot. I always reflect a lot, but I reflected more than usual. I would think to myself… this day could be my last. And it scared me. I didn’t think it was a probability, but it was possible (and of course still is).
But then something changed… the idea of mortality transitioned from being a fear to becoming a freedom. “This day could be my last” became “this day could be my last!”.
I know they’re the same words, but you can read them in two different ways. One is fear based, the next is freedom based. As in, one day my world is going to end whether it’s today or tomorrow or 80 years from now. It could happen at any time… so it’s time to make every day meaningful!
It’s up to us to make our lives meaningful – and there are plenty of different meanings to choose from. For myself, I’ve found a deeper purpose in relationships and adventures. And I’m blessed to know lots of awesome people and have way too much fun.
And while I don’t want any of this to end, I’m not afraid of the end. If it happens in 80 years, or tomorrow, or today, all I can say is that I’m happy to have been here. I can only die because I’m alive. And I’m alive.