10 Things To Do With Your Life [Before You Die] 15 min read

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One idea that caused a Jupiter-sized change in me was the concept of “Memento Mori” (Latin for “Remember you must die”). I first encountered the ideas in Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego is the Enemy”. The subject might sound pessimistic and unpleasant for most people, but it helped me develop a personal philosophy of how to view death,  and what I should do with my life before I die.

Keep in mind that this is just my perspective – the ups and downs I’ve learned from. Some of it may resonate with you in finding a life that feels fulfilling with fewer regrets.

So let’s zoom in.

What Should I Do With My Life?

A fulfilling life can involve adrenaline-pumping adventures like skydiving or quiet moments like enjoying a cup of tea under a tree each morning. Regardless of your preferred experiences, I believe that for someone to find fulfilment in their lives, they need to do the following:

Learn and understand yourself first:

The path to a meaningful life begins with finding yourself. 

No one understands who they truly are at first. We start life as blank slates. We copy what people around us believe, say and do. For example, we learned how to clean our butt after using the toilet from our parents.

Following the crowd has its advantages, however, following others without thinking for yourself can stop your personal growth and eclipse your uniqueness. It may make you miss your special strengths, loves, and hopes.

Finding the balance between your hopes and society’s expectations is key.

The key to a meaningful life is finding yourself.

If you can’t find yourself, society will assign an identity to you, and that will be your cage.

To find yourself:

  • Question assumptions and societal “norms”.
  • Experiment with new ideas/paths that intrigue you.
  • Reflect on what activities energize you.
  • Identify your core values and passions.

Through finding yourself, you start understanding what makes you you, and goals that satisfy who you want to be. You’ll uncover your potential, limits, and the unique gifts you can offer the world. 

This new understanding empowers you to make choices true to yourself, allowing you to share your unique gifts with the world and contribute meaningfully to your loved ones and society.

Remember, it’s a journey of trying, and failing. Don’t be afraid when you feel lost. Only, when you feel lost can you be found.

Pursue fulfillment in your career

Having a fulfilling career is more than just finding a job; it’s about finding or creating a place where you can thrive and grow. 

A job may give you a paycheck, but a fulfilling career feeds your spirit, lets you use your full potential and gives meaning to your efforts.

Think about how you come alive doing the activities that have always excited you, or the feeling when you solve a problem. When you find that perfect fit, work becomes part of your purpose, giving you energy and motivation.

The right workplace culture and coworkers can help you grow. You need support, mentors, and challenges to stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Look for places that value your contributions, celebrate your successes, and push you to reach new heights.

You will spend more time working than you will doing anything else. I know this because I see my dad leave the house at 7 am to return by 9 pm. Alex Hormozi says he works on weekends too. Today, I spend more time on my laptop than I do anywhere else.

So, don’t you think your work/career/vocation should be meaningful, a good fit for your soul, instead of something that will suck you in like a black hole, leaving you confused and lost?

My vocation? A writer and photographer.

I write, and this is why…

Writing is an act of opening ourselves to the world.

Opening yourself makes you vulnerable.

Vulnerability is how you learn and grow.

We grow when we share our stories and listen to other people’s stories because everyone has a perspective worthy of acknowledgement.

I also feel the same about photography.

Photography, for me, is an investigation into various human experiences, showcasing both the beauty and the ugliness in each of us. Its purpose is to bring these subconscious stories to our attention, inspiring active empathy.

A career worth pursuing keeps you mentally engaged, creatively inspired, and constantly evolving. It exposes you to new perspectives, makes you learn diverse skills, and allows you to make a meaningful impact.

Find a vocation, not just a job, and do meaningful work.

Follow Your Curiosity. 

I have been many things – an artist, football player, guitarist, and dancer. Now I am a writer and photographer.

I used to think I lacked focus or direction in life. However, almost everyone we look up to went through a similar path.

For example: Trevor Noah started as a South African comedian doing stand-up shows. Later he moved to American TV, becoming the host of The Daily Show.

Dan Koe first did freelance web design and photography. Then he made videos about fitness and weightlifting on YouTube. After that, he wrote and made content about personal growth and business. His channel shows a journey exploring creative areas.

Gary Vaynerchuk tried many paths like real estate, beer, wine, and sports. Then he became successful in social media marketing and personal branding.

Our path in life doesn’t always take a linear route. Sometimes it’s haphazard, chaotic and unpredictable.  But, the earlier you explore more routes, the better you become at spotting the road that doesn’t lead to your dreams.

Follow your curiosity.

Explore and try out new challenges.

Though it can be ugly; beautiful things can happen to you. 

Embrace your multifaceted nature. Each role, talent, or passion you explore is an essential piece in shaping your unique identity and purpose. Instead of viewing it as a lack of focus, see it as a journey of self-discovery and growth. The path may wind, but it’s leading you closer to your most authentic, impactful self.

Find Meaning Anywhere You Are

Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor who found meaning in life even amidst unimaginable suffering, identified three core pillars that give life meaning:

  • Project or Work: This isn’t just about keeping busy. It’s about contributing something valuable to the world, having goals to strive for, and experiencing the satisfaction of accomplishment.
  • Significant Relationships: These are deep connections that provide love, support, and a sense of belonging. They give us a reason to care about ourselves and the future.
  • Redemptive View of Suffering: Life will inevitably involve challenges and pain. Frankl suggests that finding meaning in suffering, even by choosing our attitude towards it, can make us stronger and more resilient.

Let’s put this idea into practical perspective. 

David is an artist struggling with anxiety. He creates visual and written art that expresses his emotions and connects with others. 

However, anxiety makes it difficult for him to consistently create or share his work. His significant relationship is with his supportive family and friends, who encourage him to keep pushing forward, even on bad days.  His redemptive view of suffering comes from using his art as a way to process his anxiety, turning his struggles into something positive and potentially helping others who feel similar.  

It’s a constant battle, but finding meaning in both the creation and potential impact of his art helps him face the pain of his anxiety.

Another instance would be Jay; a single mother. Her project might be raising her children to be good people, despite working multiple jobs, which means limited time with them. Her significant relationship could be the deep bond she shares with her girls. And her redemptive view of suffering might involve finding strength in her challenges to create a better life for her children.

These pillars are intertwined. Working on a project can provide a sense of purpose that strengthens relationships. Facing challenges with loved ones can deepen those bonds. And finding meaning in suffering can inspire us to pursue our projects with even greater determination.

So what projects bring you a sense of purpose? Who are the significant relationships that nourish your soul? How can you find meaning in the challenges you face? By reflecting on these questions, you can discover your unique path to a meaningful life.

Deepen your connection with the natural world

Loving other people is good. But the love for nature is therapeutic.

The Stoics (a group of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers), believed that finding peace or mindfulness comes from accepting what’s outside our control. Nature is a perfect example of this. Nature are trees, mountains, oceans, and all the amazing creatures that live there). It also includes all the things that happen naturally, like rain, sunshine, and the changing seasons. 

Though we can’t control the weather or the way seasons change, we can learn to be grateful for their beauty and meditate on their rhythms. 

There are many ways to connect with nature. Get a pet to live with you, or just relax under a tree in your yard most nights. Pay attention to little things – different leaf feels, bird sounds, or the sun’s warmth on your skin. Studies show spending time in nature can make you less stressed, happier, and even more creative.

Surround yourself with nature, and you’ll not only like its beauty but also feel calmer and see things wider.

Contribute positively to the lives of others

Almost all the good things you enjoy today are the labour and sacrifice of those before us. Without them, life would be more excruciating than it is. 

Imagine the fate of our world if no one learned to control fire to cook food. From mud and straw to wood and stone, we have learned to utilize natural materials to construct shelters, conquer predators, and make medicines from plants. We’ve pushed the boundaries of what nature offers, and we now know a lot about other species and how to live better with them.

Not everyone can or will invent revolutionary technologies. But everyone can find ways to contribute to their community. As the Zulu proverb says, “‘Umsebenzi womuntu ngumuntu’ (A person’s work is another person).” Contributing to your community brings a sense of fulfilment because it’s an expression of your understanding of yourself as part of something greater.

You are a vital little drop in the huge ocean of humanity. Though small, you matter, your actions cause ripples. Be part of the big movements by flowing where you are needed most. Make waves through kind deeds that improve the world, one ripple at a time.

Find Love

Love is a profound and beautiful experience that touches each of us in unique ways

We may define it differently, however, we can all relate to the warm glow it brings to our hearts. Love is a powerful force that draws us toward the people, passions, and purposes that give our lives meaning and joy.

Whether familiar or romantic, platonic or spiritual, finding love these days can feel incredibly hard. Dating apps, endless swiping, and casual hookup culture can make it seem like a genuine connection is nearly impossible. 

While you open yourself up to love, you must also learn to open your eyes.  Love shouldn’t be blind.  There will be people who drain your energy, who aim to tear you down rather than build you up. These are not the connections you seek. Look for partners who inspire you to be your best self, who celebrate your growth, and who are on an upward trajectory in their own lives.

Also, understand the difference between real and fabricated affection. And remember that we are all imperfect people, capable of mistakes. 

Keep putting yourself out there, even when it hurts. Because the risk of getting your heart broken is always there, but so is the potential for something amazing.

Be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to catch feelings. Falling in love requires opening up in a way that leaves you exposed, but it’s the only path to the real thing. Sure, you might get hurt along the way, but closing yourself off means missing out on even the good.

Love won’t fall into your lap – you have to actively seek it. Have the courage to download another dating app, to say yes to a friend’s setup, to make eye contact with an intriguing stranger.

Even if you get heartbroken, feel it fully but don’t let it embitter you. A broken heart is proof that you showed up and risked everything. Heal, recalibrate, and open yourself up once more. Because the only way to find an epic, all-consuming love is to keep your heart and mind open to it, no matter how hard the journey gets.

Develop and Maintain Your Body

A strong, healthy body sustains you in the pursuit of your grandest dreams and helps you enjoy life better.

However, in the increasingly materialistic and pleasure-seeking world we find ourselves in, many people neglect their bodies. And sometimes, in an attempt to escape the consequence of this neglect, they go for surgery and medications – increasing the risks.

A study suggests people who have a purpose in life tend to also have better physical health. 

A weak body often reflects a weakened mind. Fortify your vessel through exercise, nutrition, and practices like yoga, hitting the gym and meditation. 

Invest in building your body. It is the vessel in which you go through life.

Live in the Moment

Live fully in the present. Life and living is an experience, not a destination or milestone. Stop getting caught up in the past or future.

Exploration and achieving goals can be good, but a meaningful life comes from balance. Chasing ambitions non-stop makes it hard to appreciate simple daily moments.

A big part of my death anxiety stemmed from worrying endlessly about the future. Not just my own, but that of my parents and siblings. As the eldest child, with the firstborn syndrome; I felt the pressure to be the pillar, the one who ensured everything would be okay. This fear manifested in two anxieties: failing to meet their expectations, and potentially leaving them before I could truly enrich their lives.

Occasionally, I still wander into the future, however, focusing more on the present has been a game-changer.  Worrying offers no solutions, but living in the moment brings a sense of calm and clarity with which you can use to focus on the things that are within your control.

So, slow down and live right now. Fully immerse yourself in the current experience. Enjoy the whole journey, step-by-step, not just the final result. That is where you’ll find the richest, most fulfilling life.

Be Ready To Die

Immortality might seem appealing at first glance, but it is the prospect of death that makes everything meaningful. If you had infinite time to experience everything –  every joy, every sorrow, every triumph, every heartbreak – forever, then everything soon becomes mundane and meaningless.

It’s the moments in between – the fleeting joys and even the tough times – that make life precious. So, embrace each moment and cherish it, because that’s how you truly experience something meaningful in life. 

Let your mortality inspire you to seize each day and savour every moment. Let it ignite a fierce passion within you, so you can live boldly, even though death is unavoidable.

Conclusion; Make Unforgettable Memories Before You Die

Time is precious and it’s running out. 

Don’t let it drain away without making the most of each moment. Live with purpose:

  • Explore your authentic identity 
  • Find work that engages your spirit
  • Follow interests that light your curiosity
  • Discover meaning through endeavours, relationships, & resilience.
  • Connect with nature’s beauty.
  • Spread ripples of positivity in your community.
  • Fall in love before you die.
  • Build your body.
  • Remain grounded in the present. 
  • Be ready to die. 

This isn’t about doing extraordinary things once in a while. It’s about making your ordinary, boring, and often unnoticed routine meaningful and purposeful. Because it’s the little things done with intention that accumulate into something remarkable.

Fill your life with amazing memories by mindfully taking action, even in the mundane moments. Embrace every experience as part of a meaningful journey before your last breath.

And always remember, a meaningful life is built day by day, through small but purposeful actions.


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