The Haunting Fragility of Life

Chris Herd
4 min readNov 22, 2018

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How much do you delay to some undefined point in the future? Do you ever catch yourself saying when I retire I want to do X?

Every day I add to my bucketlist of tasks or experiences I hope to achieve when I retire. Take my latest idea: 12 cities, live in each and then fly to the next over the period of an entire year, staying in each for one month gaining exposure to the culture and tempo of each city experientially.

I recently read ‘When Breath Becomes Air — Paul Kalanithi’ and it changed my life. That isn’t hyperbole, Paul tragically died almost as soon as he reached the pinnacle of his personal and private lifes. Finally a tenured surgeon in his dream role, he discovered he has cancer. He dies before the book ends but what greets the reader before that are these words to his cruelly young daughter, “when you come to one of the many moments in life where you might give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world. Do not, I pray, discount that you filled the dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”, and after he has passed the book is finished by his wife who recants the loss through eyes of appreciation for the time they were afforded yet elucidates on the pain for their daughter never knowing her father or the fact all their plans will elude them for eternity.

Why do we plan so far ahead? In an instant those thoughts can be taken from us with the onset of disease or an accident which alters our life trajectory. One moment can alter a lifetime of planning and rob us of those things we want the most.

Life is precious and incredibly fragile, hauntingly this only becomes apparent when something tragic occurs, but we assume we are indestructible. We assume our longevity is absolute, like we have a divine right to live to the age of 89 and experience all life’s joy and wonder.

The sad reality is we don’t, and we only realise it when it is too late.

Here’s the deal: we are all terminal. We are all going to dying at some undetermined point in the future but that we will is currently an inevitability tied to human mortality. The fact you have…

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Chris Herd

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌