Trying to figure out a personal answer to this at a relatively inexperienced age seemed difficult. Regardless of all the possible explanations I began to think of, though most were valid, none were all-encompassing in terms of defining my most basic motivation. Then I began to think of all the goals that drove my actions, everything from making the most of the moment, to building meaningful relationships to harvesting my potential. These aforementioned goals of mine have only been realized recently though, and can be most attributed to my unrelenting tendency to think towards the future and imagine what I want to become in 10, 20, and even 50 years. Then, almost without fail reminded I am always reminded of the stark truth that youth doesn’t last forever, and that one day I will have lived the majority of my life and will be nearing death. This thought use to terrify me, however I have come to determine that living life in a shadow cast by the fear of death is no way to live.
In one of my all-time favorite movies, Gladiator, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius says “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” The essential truth that I gained from this quote was that death is absolute, an equal determinant that every person faces. The thing that ultimately validates a person’s life is that when they accept death, instead of living in its fear they become more motivated by never beginning to meaningfully live. This is where I ultimately realize why I do what I do- to begin my meaningful life so that once my life nears an end, I will feel satisfaction and truly important. It’s the reason why I want to enhance the relationships I have with my family, the reason why I want to fulfill my aptitude. In the end, I just want to know that I did everything I could to leave my legacy behind, and have the memories I make deem me alive far after my death.