I've contemplated death a lot this week. Not in a morbid way, but in terms of its role in life and, more specifically, in this writer's life. Without a doubt it is prompted by the unexpected loss of two icons, famously brilliant in their fields and quietly generous in their private lives. Why is it that I mourn their loss? Why celebrate that they lived at all? Why does it feel so personal when I've never met them? And, while I've greatly admired them, I'm not sure when I last saw Rickman on screen or listened to one of Bowie's songs.
I think, for me, they exemplify my life's ideal: to pursue what you love with great stubbornness and passion. They didn't listen to naysayers. Nor did they try to conform to trending types. They were, in all of their incarnations, true to themselves and their art. Both were chameleons who challenged themselves repeatedly through change—that ever-constant thing that so many of us fight, when embracing change is what makes us fly. It is why they soared high enough for all of us to take note.
So what is the role of death in this writer's life? It is the reminder that there is only so much time in which to do the things I want to do. That finiteness is a powerful motivator. I will not leave my dreams standing at the threshold. I'll continue to invite each one in. Get to know them. And when I am satiated by those dreams, I will open that door again and see what else is waiting.
I have not and will not live complacently on the sidelines of my life. And, hopefully, when I step off this planet, I will have left some worthy words behind. If not, know that I died happily trying.