Arun Kumar
3 min readAug 26, 2023

Caught between living and dying

Arun Kumar

It is the wee hours of morning and lying in bed I am thinking that sometimes it would be refreshing to wake up without needing to pass through the test of solving a crossword puzzle to figure out how to live through the day.

It is not a matter of just living though a day on an autopilot but living in such a way that at the end when light in the sky is fading, and I am sitting alone and the silence of evenings starts to feel like moments of being caught in a twilight zone, I can look back and say that it was a day well lived.

Instead, here I am half-awake thinking about the tiresome prospect of solving a crossword puzzle hoping that if I complete, magically a door to a room would open where I would find the correct recipe on how to live through a day to my satisfaction.

And that is not the only issue that I grapple with when the day begins. There is also the dilemma of not quite knowing how to reconcile the start and the end of a day with the cognizance of mortality, while trying to find some meaning in between.

Is there a way that one could live through the sequence of days and still be at ease with mortality? What could possibly be good about living through the days and realizing that afterwards there are fewer left to go?

And what is the meaning of living anyway?

I am not even sure if those are the right words that express an emotion I am trying to gel. Perhaps, what I am trying to ask, and trying to understand is that is it even possible for us to reconcile the passing of a day with the finiteness of (our) existence. How can the two stand side by side, pretend to be friends and not leave us utterly confused?

Is there a magical cure that can be internalized (and not be redoubted or questioned or revisited) and will make me feel at peace again.

But let me get back to the beginning of my day.

Even if I don’t quite know how to live a day and reconcile it with mortality, I think I do know about the measure that can be used to judge if my day was well spent or not. The measure is this — at the end of the day if I feel that if my engagements are connected with what I value that will be a day well spent. That will be a day I would not mind living again.

And perhaps, in spending a day well lived also lies the key to coming to peace with mortality. After feeling that the day was well spent, and I am serene and peaceful, I may feel a moment of connectedness with the universe. In that connectedness, perhaps, I can transcend my boundaries and hope to reconcile the eternal tension between the inevitability of the passage of time and of my mortality.

Perhaps one day I will find the elusive recipe and from then on I can wake up in the morning and there will not be crossword puzzles waiting to be solved.

One day, I will just get up, and without thinking, live.