A friend recently shared this paragraph from Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal. I was reminded of this when I lay in bed thinking about the past 72-hours and my parents. It is pretty clear how the pandemic has changed everything for all of us. And if anything, we should start appreciating the frail nature of our lives, our relationships and redefine the horizons of our life.
Fifteen years later, when she was a scholar, the experience led her to formulate a hypothesis: how we seek to spend our time may depend on how much time we perceive ourselves to have. When you are young and healthy, you believe you will live forever.
You do not worry about losing any of your capabilities. People tell you “the world is your oyster,” “the sky is the limit,” and so on. And you are willing to delay gratification—to invest years, for example, in gaining skills and resources for a brighter future. You seek to plug into bigger streams of knowledge and information. You widen your networks of friends and connections) instead of hanging out with your mother.
When horizons are measured in decades, which might as well be infinity to human beings, you most desire all that stuff at the top of Maslow’s pyramid—achievement, creativity, and other attributes of “self-actualization.” But as your horizons contract—when you see the future ahead of you as finite and uncertain-your focus shifts to the here and now, to everyday pleasures and the people closest to you.Being Mortal | Atul Gawande
July 2, 2020, San Francisco