Dying to Live – a manifesto

When did talking about death become taboo?

Why is it on the ‘forbidden’ list of conversation topics?

It’s not us versus death.

It’s not a battle ‘til the end.

It’s a natural part of life, and yet it’s unnatural to talk about?

Why is that?

I don’t understand why we bury the topic of death under platitudes and scripted condolences?

Why does even broaching the subject sometimes result in a gesture that says “helllll no, hard pass”?

Death is the one thing we know with 100% certainty is going to happen to ALL of us.

Because, spoiler alert, we’re ALL going to die one day.

Which is why I’m writing this. I’m willing to risk being seen as a ‘macabre misfit’ in the hopes that we can live in a world where instead of bristling against the mere thought of death, we acknowledge that we’re ALL here for a limited time and can TALK about the fact that the global death rate is, and always will be, 100%.

I want to make death a topic of conversation at every kitchen table, or living room or pub patio. I want us to get comfortable saying the words “death”, “dead”, or “dying”. They aren’t cold and insensitive when you deliver them with kindness and compassion. Talking about death, all the images, emotions and stories should be welcomed and not considered taboo, weird, or wrong. Again, doesn’t it make sense to talk about the one thing we all have in common?

I believe euphemisms don’t make death any easier. They don’t “soften the blow”. In fact, they add to our confusion and fear with their ambiguity and avoidance.

I acknowledge that everyone has a story about death. And these stories are usually passed down to us from well-meaning family members, teachers, or religious leaders that unfortunately, rarely empower us to truly live and instead can keep us feeling supremely stuck.

It’s time to release the stories that shape our fears. It’s time to make the changes that enable you to live a wide-open, wholehearted life of YOUR choosing.

I know you can rewrite your ending (pun fully intended). I know you can also rewrite the ‘messy middle’ you’re living in right now so you have zero regrets when you die. All it takes is curiosity, compassion, and courage.

I am soooo over the narrative of death “robbing” us from the things we love like a thief in the night. We’re all here on borrowed time from the moment we’re born and what death is really asking us is… “How are you living?”

I want to live in a world where not one single person reaches their deathbed thinking, “F*ck, I really should’ve taken that trip, or written that book, or spent more time with my sister, or told my mother I loved her more.” [insert your personal regrets here]

Where each day is cherished. Where we stop procrastinating about the things that truly matter to us and prioritize them instead.

Where we finally stop convincing ourselves it’s okay to fill up our days with meaningless tasks because someday (when we get a raise, when the kids are grown, or when we retire) we’ll finally have time for what we love.

Your time isn’t guaranteed.

I believe we all have a choice: to be terrified by death (stay stuck, keep playing it safe).


We can be liberated by death (and chose the dreams and adventures we’ve been aching to start).

I believe that when we “choose courage over comfort” (thanks Brené Brown) we can LIVE BETTER. We can wake up feeling excited for each day, for each new opportunity to grow and stretch, eager to seize every moment and fall asleep with a sense of deep satisfaction knowing we SHOWED UP for ourselves.

We’re all dying.  The real question is: are you really living?  

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