On His Deathbed

I often think about the kind of advice I would give if I were on my deathbed.
Because the deathbed advice you hear is often quite different than the advice you get day to day. And that disparity intrigues me.
It makes sense, though, the difference when you look through the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
When you’re dying, and you know it, you don’t need food, shelter, or money. The idea of “safety” suddenly become comical. “Power” means nothing. “Fame” is useless.
So instead, your brain leapfrogs up the pyramid and focuses on different priorities.
Love, relationships, and self-respect. Those seem to be the themes of people’s last contemplations.
And then there’s the final burning question, “Did I live a good life?”
I think about this because I’d like to say “yes” to that question. And I suspect being able to say yes doesn’t happen by accident. So, I fling myself into the future. I’m on my bed of death. People whisper to one another, “Not much longer.” They shift about, wanting to do something but knowing there’s nothing they can do. I’m dying, but it’s ok.
I rest there with a satisfied smile looking back to right now.
I remember that I asked myself an important question.
When you don’t need food, shelter, or money; what makes a good life and am I living it?
I suspect happiness lays at the feet of the answer.
– Zac Smith, VC