Hmmm...a year to live, huh?

Well, this is definitly a community that has potential. I do see the need for a more relalistic perspective from society as a whole concerning death. As for myself, I'm personally not really worried about dying. I'll be alright on that front. I'm more concerned with what will happen when I no longer have an influence on the world around me and the implications thereof. I know that they seem to be one and the same, but not really when you stop to consider it. I'm not worried about what will happen to my soul or missing out on experiences, I'm worried about how my friends will react, how my family will take it, whether or not my remaining could have helped bring about the changes I really wish to see in the world, things of that nature. What will it mean to everyone else if I'm gone? What if it means nothing? What if it means everything? How does that weigh on me as an individual?

So, in a nutshell, I guess my personal philosophy concerning living like it's your last day is to see yourself as having the potential to change the world and making decisions that reflect that. I never see myself as "just one person that is fighting against the wind". I ride my bike for local trips, I buy my vegetables locally, I rescue little spiders from the restaurant where I work, and I love to write children's stories. "Be the change, yada yada yada." I suppose I've really bought into that, though. Call me an idealist!

I look at it this way. If you see yourself your entire life as having the potential to change the world and you really have none, you haven't really done much harm other than waste time trying to live out a big dream. But, if you really DO have the potential to change the world and you do nothing, then you have not only let yourself down, you have let down every single person who's life you could have touched.

Above all, keep dreaming and dream big!

Tish - 26 year old college student (english major with minor in secondary ed.)
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Hello everyone ~

I'm a thirty-something in So. Cal. who was intrigued by the intro page for the community. I've dealt a lot with death and dying in the last year. My uncle succumbed to Stage IV lung cancer just about a year ago. I have a close friend from college whose daughter is battling brain cancer.

I've always met the question "what would you do if you only had a year to live" with nervous skepticism. After all, it's the journey that's supposed to count, right?

But having faced the death of a close family member, and the declining health of my grandmother, the question seems more relevant, along with the realization that I don't really have an answer. I don't know what kind of legacy people will remember me for. In my nightmares, I picture a memorial service with people saying "we never really knew her. She was my good friend and I thought she'd be here forever - I always thought there would be time to catch up." I feel like I've been drifting through life as a shadow or a ghost without any real understanding of why I'm here or what I'm supposed to be doing.

Any thoughts on where to begin?

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(no subject)

Hi there.

I've been a "friend" of this community for a long while, but didn't quite get the whole membership/posting thing.

Anyway, about 5 years ago I had some severe anxiety over the prospect of my own death. (this is one a of a series of ocassional anxiety attacks I get...nuclear war, Y2K, bioterrorism, you name it I've probably fretted away a sleepless night over it)

But I met this challenge head on by thinking my way through....I've come to a place where I can accept the idea of dying with no promise of an afterlife.

So, this is the link...I think it's one of the most important things I've written:

Dealing With Mortality:
A Skeptic's Guide

or: Kirk's Big Fun Pages O' Inevitable Death


It's a series of 8 or so mini-essays and a collection of quotes (I think small pithy quotes can hold a lot of wisdom)

Let me know what you think! Maybe I'm fooling myself, maybe this is too cerebral to help most people, but I haven't had a sleepless night about mortality since establishing this. (And it's helped with some of the other anxieties...for a lot of cases, the worst that will happen is death, so if you can come to grips with that you're ahead of the game....there's still "dying horribly" and "tons of people dying at once" to deal with, but you can get a head start by accepting your own passing as a natural part of life in the universe.)

(no subject)

what do i do to prepare for death?

i start to be prepared for life.

i begin to work out all bad things and feelings. not suppress but live through, think about it and overcome them.
i breathe in the good moments, the joy of standing in the sun and smell life around me. so i conserve them.

and when i one day leave i can say

hey, i had all this.
and loved it.

had to say that.



hi everyone,

my name is maris, and i live in boston, ma.
i read stephen levine's book about a year ago, after i finished dharma punx by noah levine. noah mentions his father a few times, so i was curious. i thought following the book's suggestions would be practically helpful - putting together a living will, and writing down funeral wishes, etc. - and a good focus for a year long contemplation. i had already been meditating, so the earlier exercises in the book were easier, but they are all so helpful. i only have 68 days left in my "year" and the time has gone by so quickly. doing my wills opened up a lot of family conversations about wishes surrounding hospital care and funeral arrangements, and the life in review helped me forgive a lot of things i hadn't been able to let go of before. i would encourage anyone to read the book and spend a year thinking about death, and life.

my condition and outlook on death

Hello, my name is Rachel and I'm an American Muslim. I have a heart condition called SVT or also known as superventricular tacchycardia. Sometimes my pulse gets really high, the highest being 191. I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack or stroke when it happens, but honestly I don't have many emotions about it, just a kind of scared feeling. Next month I will have a heart catheter inserted so they will know more. And all I can think about is having to take off my clothes in front of a male.
Since I was young, I've always been fascinated with the concept of death. I was never afraid of death. Then I started to have faith in a Supreme Being. It just came naturally and one day I had a panic attack, because I was so afraid of dying without having felt satisfaction with my life on earth and also the fear of disappointing God. Even now I still sit and contemplate death and I know that as a Muslim we believe in predestination, but there's so much I feel I should do before I go. Another thing is that I have never had someone close to me die. I feel so apathetic towards death. I work as a certified nurse's assistant and whenever I'm cleaning up a dead body, I just sort of have this strange feeling that this person was just talking to me and now the body just stopped working. I even feel like I'm watching myself prepare the body, as if I'm physically and emotionally not there. I don't know if this is normal or if other people have experienced it or not. I feel like Allah(God) has chosen me to do the job of taking care of the sick and dying, because I am generally a very caring and kind person, but I am not affected so much by death or emergency situations. I'm able to remain calm.
I hope to learn from other people about death, since I deal with it in my job more than most.


Hello, My name is Gwenawenn and i live in Eugene, Or. I go to the Universtity of Oregon and i am a double major in Religious Studies (emphasis on buddhism) and Psychology (jungian/social). I have been pagan for 11 years and an Taoist for about 4 years. I am also incredibly interested in Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism.
Up until just recently I was married. My marriage lasted 8 years and within that span of time I completely lost myself and my willingness to continue living. I do not blame my ex-for the depth to which i plummeted. He was not aware and neither was I, how much of our dynamic proved to be poisionous as time went on and we became very different people. He never intended to emotionally and intelectually abuse me. He was just satisfying basic needs. Never recognizing they were at the expense of my own.

The reason i would like to participate in this community is because of what i am personally going through now. I divorced, and my social group dropped away, forcing me to come face to face with a stranger. ME. Through the bits of introspection i have been allowing myself to sink into i realized that great cosmic truth. Life is change. Things are born, and things die. Suffering IS part of our attachments to things, and we willingly attach ourselves all the time, damned the consequences. Addictions abound in many forms, many of which we are privy to, others we choose to ignore. For myself. I would like to foster a sense of non attachment, but incredible pressence with every moment. Being trully honest in all my interactions, and more then that, honoring myself by being present enough to know when i should'nt walk down THAT road. I would like to cultivate a child like wonder with everything i experience and all the people who come into my life. In order to do this, you must not have plans, you must not have attachments, you must not have things that great borders between you and those you are with. You must live like you are going to die.

I am 27. My body is a wreck, my mind often distraught, and if i didn't know better i would say i am old way before my time, because my culture asks me to care about things that do not feed me, encourage me to honor who i am, and will sustain me in the long run. I am done with this. I am done with addictions, attachments, and sacrificing the whole for those things that do not serve me. I am going to live the next year like i am going to die.

Heh, Samhain,..how very perfect. :D

Thankyou for letting me join.

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better by one

Well, back at the doc's today for a treadmill test. I thought after last weeks black out episode that I wouldn't last long. However, I surprised myself and lasted for 15 minutes before I got tired, bored and asked to stop. This is one minute longer than the last time. While my pressures and oxgen sat. numbers were better than during my previous test, I had several episods of arrythmias which I didn't have before. The doctor said it is too early to determine if the Revatio is helping, but she thinks it is. She has doubled the does to 40mg three times a day. I am now flushed, and have a headace. Hopefully, this side effect will go away soon. I will go back again in 3 months. If things continue to go well, I may have 10 years, rather than 2 or 3. Here's hoping and God Willing!
  • budda_x


Hello all, my name is Bobby. I'm 26, live in Michigan, and am a student/work full time with mentally ill/ traumatic brain injury clients.

I like the idea of this project, it's something I have been doing for about 5 years now. I've had about 4 inccidents that very easily could have ended my life, and have learned to appreiciate life all the more for it. I won't go into details unless asked for, but the first was a suicide attempt, about 8 months later I got a blood clot in my leg, 1 year later I got another blood clot in my other leg, and just this weekend I was hospitalized for a burst appendix. In the past 4 years I've been present when both my grandfathers died, and my two grandmothers are heading that way. But, from learning some things from buddhism, learning some things from myself, and learning some things from life I have come to live my life as if every day might be my last, or, more importantly, every day might be SOMEONE ELSE'S last. We always worry about ourselves and when we might check out of this life, but so often do not think that when someone goes away, THAT could be the last time you get to see them. Make peace with people while you can, don't waste the time and energy on hate. There may not be a chance to take it back.