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How Contemplating Death Can Help You Truly Live

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Many of us avoid facing the reality of our own mortality. But others, who contemplate death and accept its inevitability, often find themselves capable of living more fulfilling lives.

In the cases of Justin Baldoni and Dr. Peter Bach, whose professions require them to think about death on a daily basis, the loss of dear friends and loved ones has taught them what it means to live life to the fullest. They joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani today to discuss how directly addressing death has enriched their lives.

Baldoni, the founder of Wayfarer Entertainment and producer of the “My Last Days” series, works with people who have had to accept their mortality far too soon. As he documents their remaining days, the inevitable end of his own life becomes much more than a distant abstraction.

“The second you start to think about your own mortality, it affects and changes the way that you live, which I think is a really beautiful thing,” said Baldoni. “We’re humans. We forget. One of the Arabic words for humans is 'they who forget,' which is no accident. We forget all the good things, and we forget all the bad things, because if we carried around that pain with us all the time, we’d be walking scars worse than we are now. We forget we’re going to die. We forget that this time that we have on this planet is limited. So the reason why we created this show was that it kind of helps you go back, it gets you back there a little bit faster. Because when I’m acting up or reacting to something, I immediately realize that my time is limited and I don’t want to waste it in these moments of unhappiness or grief.”

Dr. Bach, a physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, lost his wife to cancer, and shared his personal story in a recent New York magazine article.

“I felt it was a story worthy of telling from a variety of perspectives,” said Dr. Bach. “My wife, whom I admire deeply as well as of course love deeply, shared her own kind of heroism in the face of what was an inevitability. This gave other people a window into the universality of what happens… It’s from the reception more than the experience that there’s a real need to embrace the possible heroism that people have or can have or show as they approach death in the near term or in the inevitable death.”

To hear more of their conversation on contemplating death and the perspective on life it can bring, watch the full HuffPost Live clip in the video above.

 
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