I’m not sure why this has been on my mind lately, but I have been thinking about it a lot.
It seems like a very long universe, a very short time on it and a lot of things lost when someone dies. Surely that cannot be all?
When you’re young there is nothing further from your mind than what happens next. Living life in the moment, like you have infinite amounts of time to do whatever you want in this world.
Then somewhere in your 40’s or so, it all seems a bit finite. Like you are running rapidly out of time and there are still too many things to achieve.
Life – taken
You start to watch people around you losing their battles, you start to attend a few too many funerals for your liking and start to wonder if any gatherings will ever be something other than a celebration of someones life. Then you look back at your own life and start looking at all the time you wasted and things you could have done different. What’s wrong with me? Does anyone else ever think like this?
Reflections on my life
Teenage years and early 20’s
I had no idea what it was that I wanted to do with my life. I simply followed on in the path set for me by my parents. It was not till my 20’s (and a music degree / teaching qualification later) that I started to discover my love for helping the underdog. At first this took the form of special needs teaching, which discovered a passion for while working as a music teacher). I stuck at this for way too many years (17 to be precise!)
life tip #1: follow your passion. Do this from the start.. do not just head into jobs ‘just because’, or because it’s the easiest route! Do a job you love and you will never work a day in your life
THOUGHTS: On reflection here I know that, had I not completed a music degree and become a music teacher I would not have met Joshua while I was teaching in Bedford, UK and therefore would not have turned to special needs teaching. However, I do wonder how much time I wasted here on a topic that ended up not forming a huge part of my later life.
30’s – heading into the mid-life
A seemingly unimportant and trivial decision to not buy a size 18 pair of trousers one Christmas was to change the course of my life again. I took up rugby, then refereeing, then eventually multisport and sport in general became a huge part of my life. I started with 6 or so years of rugby refereeing the swapped to multisport, very quickly earning my spot ro represent my country at European and world level, something that would abruptly be stopped by injury 5 years later. Triathlon was influenced predominantly by me reading Jane Tomlinson’s autobiography ‘you can’t take it with you‘.
Life tip #2: never look back, always look forwards. Your life right now is your life right now. So make the most of what you have and move forwards with focus, passion and most importantly, happiness.
THOUGHTS: At this stage I clearly remember wishing I had made this change earlier in life, but there were no influences earlier in my life that would have created that opportunity. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What is more important is that I actually made the change and continue to do things that make me happy.
40’s – following my own dreams
By the time I reached this period, I was looking for ways to sustain my own happiness. This meant a change… of everything. I changed countries: because I wanted a life that I did not need a holiday from, with less speed and pressure. You could say I was jumping out of the rat race. My choice of country was a bit extreme (geographically isolated) but was an incidental opportunity that was made aware to me because I visited New Zealand to race with team GB. I changed jobs: because I was looking for something that I enjoyed, I no longer enjoyed teaching. So I decided to return to sport (again) and become a self employed personal trainer. This was not an easier decision than being an employed person (in fact it was much much harder), but more of my working day is happy compared to teaching, which was beginning to destroy my mental health. I decided life was too short for that.
Life tip #3: do not stay where you are / keep doing what you are doing because it is the easiest option. Life is too short to give away happiness because doing nothing is easier.
THOUGHTS: A lot of people seem to think the change of mind-set in the 40’s is deemed to be a crisis 9’the mid-life crisis’). It is usually associated with men splashing out on something to make them feel youthful, and so on. Personally I call it a mid life realisation. It is the period during which I made the boldest decisions I have ever made, because the rut I had found myself in was making me feel unhappy. That seems like a perfectly good reason to make some changes. Often people say I was brave to quit teaching, move countries, set up a business from scratch… I see it as logical. Something was making me unhappy, so I changed it. Why does it have to be any more complicated than that?
What next? – 50’s and beyond..
Well, I can only write my own future by continuing to work on the present. So here is my current focus:
- continue to make sure that sport is a part of my life
- continue to work on my business with the passion that got me there in the first place
- continue to reflect on what is making me happy / unhappy, and remove the unhappy wherever possible. If t is not possible, make sure it is NOT zapping too much of my energy and focus.
With all that in mind, I am definitely not ready to depart this world any time soon. It seems way too unfair that our lives in this universe are so very short, relatively speaking.
- What will happen in the future that I won’t get chance to witness?
- Have I made all the right decisions in my life to this point?
- Could I have done anything differently to make sure I was at my mum’s bedside when she died?
- How do I make sure I am making life lengthening choices from here forwards?
- Why is life so unfair? Why are things harder to achieve for some people than others?
- I wish that I had more time / money to visit places I want to visit, spend time with people I love. How do I make the most of what I have now?
The science – is there life after death?
It seems massively unfair that we are here for such a short time in this universe. So is there something else after we die?
Science says that when the heart stops beating – our brain and brain / mind consciousness continues. For how long is unsure. It could be up to ten minutes. That would account for why some people experience an out of body experience when they are in cardiac arrest and are revived.
The brain cannot function without the heart. electronic signals begin to reduce from within 20 seconds of the heart stopping. Research is ongoing to determine how long for and whether someone can be revived from being classed as brain dead. Scientists initially believe that someones consciousness and mind dies with the brain. BUT….. how does that account for people like Tyler Henry and the numerous accounts of people being able to talk to those who have passed?
The afterlife / consciousness
Is there an afterlife? This is my most preferable belief, not from any type of religious angle but merely from the point of view that those that have left are ‘still with us in spirit’.
Scientists have long sought an answer to the age old question ‘is there life after death?’, but now experts are claiming that there is no death of consciousness – just death of the body.
According to some well-respected scientists, quantum mechanics allows consciousness to live on following the body’s eventual demise.
While scientists are still unsure about what exactly consciousness is, the University of Arizona’s Stuart Hameroff and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose believes that it is merely information stored at a quantum level.
If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soulDr Hameroff, Max Planck Institute for physics, Munich
I like facts to be based in science, so I know it is almost impossible to determine the answer to life after death, but quantum physics / mechanics is the version I am going to believe moving forwards. It makes the idea of death a lot more acceptable if it is merely a transition to a different form of life.
What do you think? Is there a life after death? If so what does it look like? if not, how do you rationalise mediums being able to talk to the dead?
I would love to hear your thoughts, please do add a comment below.