Dr Ciara Kelly: 'The deaths of so many celebrities have made us realise how fleeting life is'
The deaths of so many celebrities have made us realise how fleeting life is, but you must still enjoy it
Perhaps it is a sign of my age but I don't remember a slew of deaths like we've had since the start of the year that have been so significant. David Bowie, Alan Rickman and the great Terry Wogan, to name but a few of the icons who have left us recently. But there were others too and people I knew personally as well. It starts to make you pause for thought.
I'm someone who thinks about death. I'd like to say that's all down to my job. We see more than is normal by way of deaths during our working week. But truth be told I'm a thinker anyway. And death has always occupied the back of my mind as one of the great imponderables of life.
I remember even as a child trying to work death out. I rationalised at around the age of nine or 10 that there was little point in being afraid of death - because once you were dead you wouldn't know it, so there was nothing to fear. (I was clearly a weird kid.)
And that logic has kind of stayed with me. I think that after death our life's heat escapes into the atmosphere and we go back to the wind and the air. We become the food of worms - and that is okay. We return again to become one with the Earth's life force. I know that this is not how other people see it but I think the afterlife - or lack thereof - is something we decide about for ourselves.
And I don't think that's a depressing notion, to be honest. If life is short - and it is - then what you do with it is simply very important.
So I think one of the really important reasons why we should think about death is it makes us think about how we live our life.
In a hundred years' time, roughly speaking, every single member of the current crop of humans on the planet will be gone - never to return - and for some of us it's a lot sooner than that. If you only have one spin of the wheel, then you need to make it count.
Live your own best life. Do all of the things you enjoy doing and not too much of what you don't. Be kind to people and let them be kind to you. Love. Laugh a lot. Don't allow yourself to become distracted or resentful of irrelevances. Never become bitter. Don't allow comparisons to make you feel lesser. Choose to be happy. Choose to be fulfilled. Choose to have the life you would want. A huge amount of how your life turns out is under your own control.
So when death does come a calling, you will have no regrets. You will have lived all the life. Had all the fun. Sucked all the marrow. You couldn't have squashed any more in. You will be ready. You may in fact be exhausted!
We hear about the deaths of David Bowie and Terry Wogan because they were massively talented and we somehow perceive their lives to be exceptional.
But that isn't true of most of us and your life can be every bit as exceptional to you - maybe more so. Being happy and fulfilled doesn't depend on external validation - that's just white noise. Being happy and fulfilled comes from how you feel about your own life and not how others see it.
Death in the news, particularly at a certain age, does make us all think; makes us all take stock because the truth is we're all going to die. But what is really important is that we're all going to live.
Sunday Indo Living