Memento mori (remember that you will die)—"you could leave life right now"
This idea that we are on the proscription list—which in Ancient Rome was the list of citizens marked for banishment and de facto execution—is not just theoretical. 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, 606,000 from cancer, 167,000 from accidents or unintentional injuries, 159,000 from respiratory diseases, 147,000 from stroke. Those are real deaths. Yours could be among them. Eventually, it will be. Guaranteed. Those are the numbers. We have all been selected to die. Our only hope is that we live well for a long time on that list before our number gets pulled.
Marcus said, “You could leave life right now, let that determine what you do and say and think." He wrote that during the plague. Today, let’s add: You have life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think. Let that make you brave also. As Seneca quoted many times, all that a death sentence from a tyrant or from a pandemic can do is take you more quickly somewhere you were already being led. He would know.
Life is short. Numbers are harsh. There’s nothing we can do about that. But we can be brave and be present and live while we can. And hope, each day, to be spared for a little while longer…