Is it fair to say that we live on borrowed time?
To use the concept of borrowing to describe living implies that we took something and have to give it back at some point. In reality, we do not give back our lives after we are done with them. Our lives are more like gifts or grants that we receive and consume to the last drop. And we don't know when that last drop will trickle down.
It is not unreasonable to be struck by a sense of panic or despair when we comprehend the fact that life is short. Iris Murdoch pointed out how difficult it is to acknowledge the inevitability of death. And perhaps it is obscene, as Simone de Beauvoir said, that by the time we understand what life is all about, it is over.
When one's life is full of beauty and love, the heart is young and the spirit is eager; the burden is lightened.
For some, when the quest is over, so is the journey, especially if one's life has had more than its fair share of pain. Frida Kahlo thought so. She also hoped that the exit will be joyful and that she never returns.
Others believe in an afterlife and this helps them deal with the reality of the ending of this one. A belief in an afterlife can be a motivator to do good in the here and now. It can also lead to lethargy and inaction or violence and bloodshed. Like any of life's profound concepts, this one too is a double edged sword.
How to live our lives is what humanity has been struggling with for millennia. Religions, philosophies, and various schools of thought centered around unearthing and cultivating the good that is inherent within us and taming the evil that seems to have taken permanent residence in our world.
Our perceptions of what is good and evil continue to clash and when we are busy feeding and clothing the ones in our care, we do not have enough time left to ponder. We pass the torch on to another generation and hope that their path is less cluttered.