Seize the day, enjoy the moment for whose turn is next?

Alex Tabisher writes that Seize the day, enjoy the moment for whose turn is next? Picture: David Ritchie

Alex Tabisher writes that Seize the day, enjoy the moment for whose turn is next? Picture: David Ritchie

Published Mar 31, 2024


I find myself doing little personalised inventories on and of myself. It is in my conscience every day, but sometimes – and these days it’s “more of than not” – when I hear of a friend’s death. Up to a short while ago, friends used to send me ridiculous clips of octogenarians cavorting to the crude early Elvis songs. I pointed out that I did not enjoy that kind of correspondence. They say I am being neurotic, that age is only a number, and I should just live every day as if it were my last.

That is nonsense. The Bible spells out clearly what one’s expectations can be. Yet, in making my little audits, I find it relevant when they say, “You are on serious injury time” or “We are all sitting in the departure lounge waiting to be called.” The Qur’an has very specific guidance in this arena. What I am looking at is a numerical chart that tells a story. Not so long ago, a 60-something-year-old was seriously old. These days, 80 and 90 seem to be more of the norm.

The truth is no one can second-guess God. Nor can you calibrate from accessible stats who is the next most likely to go. My doctor friends speak about factors that contribute to a higher life expectancy, things like better medication and other factors that have contributed to a great horde or – compliments of the ANC – larger cohorts of folks who make it well into the nineties.

My preoccupation is not prognostication. It is more a self-conscientisation that considers the double helix of the DNA molecule. Or the other horde who retire and then buy the sweatband, the tackies and the water bottles to illustrate how ready they are for what lies ahead. And then they drop down dead a few days into retirement.

Reality bites teach us the folly of second-guessing the Big Guy in the Sky. I concentrate more on truths like “one-day-at-a-time” which has been with us since time immemorial. And, just as we start getting into smug mode, a member from the wrong cohort packs up and ships out.

One can monitor one’s march towards eternity as a quite amusing preoccupation. Gadgets count the number of steps we take, the heart rate, the resting pulse and even the calories ingested for the day. This knowledge reassures us in some tentative way what shape we are in, especially in the presence of the unspoken question: Whose turn is it next?’

Hamlet refers to death as the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns (III, 79-80).

This brings me, with some relief to what used to bug me and, thankfully, bugs me no more. All of us will die. “Sceptre and crown/must tumble down/and in the dust be equal made/ with the cruel scythe and spade,” said James Shirley circa 1600. Our faith structures provide some solace, the intensity of our grief assumes that we can alter God’s intentions which are billions of years old. We can go into “saint mode” and trigger some eulogies which underline our virtues.

We are in denial about the whole scenario. Not one person who has left this temporary abode has turned around to come back to either reassure or scare the living scorching hell out of us. I think I have come to a place where I am assured that we all will come to where the other dearly departed (including my beautiful wife who left seven years ago) live in peace and quiet, and open air.

So, there you have my bone of contention for this week. I am sick and tired of the politicos who keep me feeling sick and tired. There are going to be some long hot dog days which we have to bite through until we know whose face is on the ballot sheet. In the meantime, do not even attempt to be happy or assured. The plans are all in place. They have always been. Carpe Diem. Grab the day. Appreciate this day. It might just be closer to relief than you think.

* Alex Tabisher.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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