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The Gift Of Mortality

February 16, 2019

Quote: You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt 


In recent years, immortality and immortal beings have peaked interest more than ever before. Tales of vampires, wizards who live forever, families that don’t age and even gods and goddesses flood the market, filling both the book shelves and our minds with visions of immortality. How wonderful would it be to live forever? We spend our lives fearing the ominous, yet certain, threat of death, always perceiving immortality in a positive light. 

As a society terrified of death and dying, it’s only fitting that we would rather create new worlds where death doesn’t exist or it is easier defeated, rather than face it head on. Humans have created thousands of ways to prevent dying. We put ourselves in bubbles, so afraid of losing our life that we end up wasting it while waiting for the inevitable. 

Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting follows a family, the Tucks, who accidently drink from a magical stream and never age a day after, along with a young girl named Winnie foster. From the beginning, everyone around the Tucks is envious of their secret and no one understands why the Tucks aren’t happy. Winnie falls in the love with the young Tuck who convinces her to drink from the stream until she refuses, having had learned an important lesson, “You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”  

Life is not about finishing last or winning the race. Life is about what happens along the way. Younger generations rebel against a parent’s strict regards for their safety and act out, yelling YOLO, you only live once. Living like you are dying, doing as much as possible as soon as possible, because “you never know what might happen” is a much more fulfilling way to live opposed to living like you always have tomorrow.  

Go for a hike, climb Mt. Everest, swim with sharks, parachute, visit space, sit with the outcast, ask that cute guy or girl out because things could change overnight whether you are overly careful or not. So, if you are going to have a short life anyway, might as well make it as exciting as possible.  

It isn’t about the quantity of the life you have, it’s all about the quality. It’s about the little things that make life worth living: the sound of a loved one’s laughter, a hug from a friend or the smile of a stranger passing by on the street. Life may be short, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring.  

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