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Live Like You’re Dying by Chuck Palahniuk
I’m reblogging this old post from over a year and a half ago because, just like everyone else, I think of the New Year as a new opportunity. And this article by Chuck Palahniuk never fails to remind me of that.
In addition to exercising regularly and eating right, I make it a top priority to commit suicide every couple of years…
…Self-euthanasia is a major trend in the making. Each year in the United States, some 26,000 men die by their own hand, including some smarter, braver men than you and me. Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Cobain, Spalding Gray, David Foster Wallace. These were men of infinite accomplishment, finances, and talent, and we will miss them. But if you’re going to check out, you must first promise to take on a more difficult task. You’ll have to wait 7 days, and in that last week of your life, you’ll have to perform what I glibly refer to as the Three C’s. Don’t worry, the time will fly by. Like the final week at a job you hate, every moment will be gilded with nostalgia and sweetened with the knowledge that you’re a dead man walking. The Ultimate Temp. The game’s almost over, and you’re just running out the clock.
The first C stands for Clean.Clean your bathroom. Clean your car. Do the laundry and scrub the grout. Pull out the refrigerator and wipe behind it. Wash the windows. Do everything.
The second C stands for Cull.Ransack your files and discard everything except your most important papers. The same goes for your closet and memorabilia-really, all your possessions. If you haven’t looked at it recently, toss it. Donate it. Destroy it. Throw all your history and secrets into the garbage. Do the same with aged contents of your medicine cabinet and kitchen. Also, spring for a really good haircut. Despite popular superstition, human hair does not grow beyond death, so you might as well look good. Treat yourself. Pamper, pamper, pamper; you have my permission…
…The third C stands for Connect.This means contacting everyone you’ve known and saying something nice. No matter how much you hate them, let go of that bitterness. Identify some aspect of each person, something you’ve secretly admired or envied or coveted, and praise that something. Say how jealous you were of his career or happy marriage or a particular merino wool mock-turtleneck sweater. Yes, this process feels like a huge humiliation, but what do you have to lose? Forget your self-pity. Forget your anger and defensiveness. Forgive everybody and forgive yourself. In another week they’ll be gazing down into your casket, feeling just awful. So for now, throw them a bone. Give them a break.
Beyond that, fully imagine your death: the cozy warmth, the pleasant wooziness. The sound of your favorite film or music playing in the background. Envision your sparkling bathroom and empty filing cabinets. Then imagine the world without you. The same traffic jams and famines. The same political crap fights and your team never making the playoffs. People will forget you. Everyone will forget you. You’re not Kurt Cobain, so just light your barbecue and toast a marshmallow.
But if you’ve completed the Three C’s, chances are good that you won’t bother. Because by then you’ll be surrounded by friends who now recognize you as a valuable, sensitive guy. Your oven will be clean, your car vacuumed. In the same way you procrastinated on your taxes, you can procrastinate on your death. And, at least for a moment, your hair looks…really great.
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