Too busy living (Part II)



As we confront our mortality, we naturally begin to ponder the legacy we will leave behind. What will I be remembered for? This is such an existential and serious question. And the answer I believe lies in the here and now: live your life.

The second part of my reply to the question of whether I think about death and my legacy is “no.” I believe I am too busy living life to be thinking about death. I am not even thinking about retirement! I just think that it is a waste of time to be thinking about mortality and legacy when you still have a full life ahead of you. Of course from time to time you need to think about it—musings on your mortality, if you will. And you do have to prepare for it, at least in the financial sense. But do not dwell. That is depressing and actually defeats the very purpose of life which is living it to the fullest.

I understand that we sometimes need to confront our mortality. This happens often when we attend funerals especially those who are in our own age group. You cannot help but realize that will happen to you one day. I remember when I was young, our friends would often see each other in birthday parties, then at weddings, then during the christening of our kids. But as we grew older, we only saw each other at funerals. But that is the cycle of life. There is nothing we can do about it. We need to focus on the things we can control, like living our lives to the fullest.

The problem is that I think some are paralyzed by that thought such that instead of being inspired to make the most of the time we have been given. As I mentioned — death is a universal human experience — it will definitely happen to all of us. But that thought should imbue us with greater purpose in life. Knowing that human life is fragile and passing should energize us to pursue our passions, to love more, care more and nurture relationships, and to leave this world a better place than we found it. 

I did not start my real estate business because I want to be recognized in the future. I did it because I saw an opportunity to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) build their dream homes for their families. I did not go into politics for the glory and the power. Looking back, I actually lost revenues when I was in office and had to deal with unfounded, vicious attacks and lies on my character. I ran for office because I honestly thought that I can contribute, using my experience and business acumen, to solving some of our country’s problems.

Dream big—this was my mantra in life which I learned from my mother. “Mangangarap ka na rin lang, taasan mo na,” Nanay Curing would always tell us. And as always, she was right—“libre naman ang mangarap.” Everything that I set out to do in life can be explained by this philosophy in life, dream big. By dreaming big I do not mean that you need to be popular or world-renowned. Dreaming big means having the courage and audacity to strive for something that seems impossible. If you were born poor, dream big to give your family a better life even when people tell you it is impossible. Our OFWs, for instance, are big dreamers. They were never satisfied about the low-paying jobs here in the Philippines so they made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of their families even if it meant not being with them.

Our legacy is our life and how we decide to live it. “Death,” the Japanese author Haruki Murakami wrote, “is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” Live your life to the fullest. Wake up every morning with purpose. Go to bed at night happy with the thought that you have squeezed the most out of every minute of your day. ([email protected] and/or