The "Day Off" Philosophy and the Deathbed Exercise
Updated: May 11
For many people, the end of school or any similar framework marks the beginning of adult life. Adult life is a time when we are free to do what we want, but it also requires us to spend most of our time working, serving others, and raising children. This can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing perspective, and it's easy to feel like we're not living our best lives.
I decided to say "to hell with it" and live my life as if every day were a day off from school. I've been doing this for four years now, and it's been the best decision I ever made. I no longer regret things I don't want to do, and I don't let other people's expectations dictate how I live my life.
One of the reasons I stopped going to university is because I realized that there are things I don't want to do. And that's okay! Our lives belong to us, and we should only do things that make us happy.
I still love learning, but I prefer to do it on my own terms. I take online courses and read books that interest me. I don't have to worry about deadlines or grades, and I can learn at my own pace.
I'm not saying that everyone should drop out of school or quit their job. But I am saying that we should all make sure that we're living our lives the way we want to. We don't owe anything to anyone else, and we should never feel like we have to do something we don't want to do.
So if you're feeling stuck in a rut, I encourage you to try something new. Change your perspective, and see how it changes your life. You might be surprised at how much happier you can be.
The thing is, when you have the opportunity to live your life as if it were a series of days off from things you dislike, that opportunity should be considered more than an opportunity that would make you miserable but more profitable—especially when you already are making enough money to sustain yourself and be at least a bit satisfied from your life as it is currently.
As we grow up, the liberated idea of growing up begins to become more and more taken for granted, and thus the charm of becoming adulthood begins slowly to disappear. It's no longer fun to realize that we can drink whatever beverages we want, sleep with anyone, go anywhere, and so on. This returns us to the life, at least conceptually, we had at school—the ones where we are merely workers that receive tasks and have to fulfill them for the rest of the day, then return home and repeat.
At least in one's mindset, that shouldn't be that way, when we can return to the "unripe" notion of having literally the opportunity to do anything we want in accordance to what we want. This is important because who's to say we will always be having to work the same distasteful job most of our lives? Who's to say we have to marry and have kids? As long as we are able to function before our deathbed, we should do things that our initial adult version of ourselves would want us to do, so the elderly version of ourselves will not retrospect with disappointment over things we could've done when we had the chance.
For me, because I have enough money to live alone and write articles, almost everyday for me feels as if I'm taking a day off from school, and even at night I sometimes dream that I am still a high school student, much to my distaste. Hence why when I wake up from such dreams, I remind myself that I am finally free and am able to do anything my old-version of myself would want me to do, and not my bank account would instead.
I do not care if I live in a poor apartment and am not always able to afford every course online that I want to take at the current time of the month—as long as I am free to do my bidding, few were the times where I was that happy—and you can too, if you are to practice what is called the Deathbed Exercise—what would you praise or regret about yourself and all the things you have done in life, as if you are just about to die?
We all, or at least most of us, have some ambitions that we want to fulfill someday in the future, but remember that the gap of opportunity is limited, specifically because our lives will end eventually, and we might not be able to do the very things we wanted to do long before we have died. It's why I begun working as a philosopher now and not in my pension years—because nothing guarantees that we will actually reach these years, let alone the following day to this present moment.
This is the idea behind the Deathbed Exercise, and the idea why I'm following pursuits that I could've pursue certain things long into the future, instead of right now; pursuits that require the lack of framework, and thus, a life-long "Day Off". You too can consider doing things you would otherwise postpone, in exchange for other activities.
Don't compromise when you don't have to! Have a set of priorities in mind, and act accordingly to it. And you shouldn't agree with me because it is I who tells you to. Agree only if you find my words reasonable! And the reasoning behind this missive is this: The ends sometimes justify the means, even if the means are less than ideal.