Life is short. So we are told. And I guess its easy to forget this until we are faced
with catastrophe or timelines. When we only have a couple of days left of something, or when we are faced with trauma. This provokes us to be more conscious of the fact, "life is short". Things
in life, usually the difficult things, freeze us for a moment, and make us reflect. Reflect on whats important to you, your goals, achievements and whether you have did all you want.
Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo coehlo shows this in fine detail. Veronika is a beautiful young woman who appears to have the perfect life, but nevertheless decides to commit suicide by ingesting too many sleeping pills. While she waits to die, she decides to read a magazine. After seeing an article in the magazine which wittily asks "Where is Slovenia?," she decides to write a letter to the press justifying her suicide, the idea being to make the press believe that she has killed herself because people don't
even know where Slovenia is. Her plan fails and she wakes up in Villete, a mental hospital in Slovenia, where she is told she has only a few days to live. Her presence there affects all of the mental hospital's patients, especially Zedka, who has clinical depression; Mari, who suffers from panic attacks; and Eduard, who has schizophrenia, and with whom Veronika falls in love.
During her internment in Villete she realises that she has nothing to lose and can therefore do what she wants, say what she wants and be who she wants without having to worry about what others think of her; as a mental patient, she is unlikely to be criticized. Because of this newfound freedom Veronika experiences all the things she never allowed herself to experience, including hatred and love. In the meantime, Villete's head psychiatrist, Dr. Igor, attempts a fascinating but provocative experiment: can you "shock" someone into wanting to live by convincing her that death is imminent? Like a doctor applying defibrillator paddles to a heart attack victim, Dr. Igor's "prognosis" jump-starts Veronika's new appreciation of the world around her (Wikipedia).
What would you do if you felt you could be free? What would you do if you didn't worry what people thought of you? What would you do if you thought you only had limited time to live?
But I know it is hard, it's hard to do all the things we want over than the things we should. To conform to society, build a reputation, make it in the field you want to be, achieve what you want to achieve.
So what if the world was to be stopped for you? What would you choose? Have you made all the right choices? Have you made all the right choices for you?
We spend days stressing about simple tasks instead of enjoying and having pride in completing them. Or pride in saying,
'yes life is too short and I am going to do what makes me happy'
Life is short. So live your dreams, love unconditionally, seek adventure and new experiences, and most importantly, enjoy!
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.