Life is short. I have said it before and I will keep saying it. Have you ever heard the term: Memento Mori? It basically means: remember you’re going to die. The concept is popular among stoics. I first learned about it while at university. Then I forgot about it, and so, a few years later, I discovered the work of Ryan Holiday, who is one of my favourite authors. He has spoken about it quite a lot, and it reminded me once again.
Like many people who have anxiety, I have thought about death quite a bit, but I am not too morbid about it. I’ve just been aware, from a very young age, that the people I care about could die at any moment and that the time that I do spend with them is quite valuable because you never know when it could be the last time you see them.
I do not want to live with regrets, and so, I always try to make it clear when I love somebody and I will tell them how wonderful I think they are. That way, if something were to happen, they would have at least known how I felt.
I don’t believe in staying mad at my partner for days, and always try to make sure that we have a proper and loving goodbye. I tell my mom I love her every time I speak to her, and sometimes five or ten times a day. The same with my husband.
I have a bit of the disease to please, and throughout my entire life, I would often end up doing things I did not want to do because I didn’t want to say no to people. I didn’t stand up for myself because I was trying to avoid conflict. And I tried to turn myself into what I thought people wanted me to be.
But then I remembered: Memento Mori. Remember you are going to die.
And so, I decided that I was going to stop doing things that I did not want to and stop doing things because I felt guilty. Now I refuse to do things purely out of guilt. I will only do things that I want to do. To put it harshly: I will do whatever the f*** I want.
The biggest bully I needed to stand up to and say no to is myself. I’m always setting challenges for myself and will often set 5 to 10 challenges at once, which can be overwhelming. Then, when I don’t reach one or half of them, I am very hard on myself. I actually end up torturing myself with all of these rules that I set for myself and often end up not doing the things that I want to do because of the restrictions I have placed on myself.
For the past few days, whenever I really wanted to do something but one of my rules is making me nervous about saying yes, I tell myself: “I do whatever the f*** I want”; and if I truly want to do it, I let myself. I have been feeling a lot less anxious in that department, and even though it is hard to resist the urge to keep setting more challenges for myself, I’m constantly analysing my to-do list and trying to remove things that I no longer want to do.
Of course, there are things that I want to do that are challenging like only eating two meals a day, so when I am tempted to snack or eat more in a day, but what I really want is to lose fat. And reducing my meal frequency is one of the things that will help me get to my goal. I try not to choose the thing I want in the moment but I do what will help me get what I want in the future. But I am still doing whatever the f*** I want.
There are 1000 health tips out there that you can follow but I’m only focussing on the ones that I want to do. And so can you. What is it that you really want? What diet or lifestyle practices do you really hate doing but force yourself to do? Are there goals you have set for yourself like running a marathon that you feel like you should do but you don’t actually want to?
Get rid of any goals that you do not want and do whatever the f*** you want to do. I’m sure you would like to be as healthy and fit as possible and to live as long as possible but you can do it in a way that you enjoy and live life on your own terms.
My life changed when I realised that I have creative freedom when it comes to my life. To a large extent, I can live the way I want to live. I can say no to things that I do not want to do. And I can choose to follow a diet that is healthy but is full of delicious food.