As we grow older, we can see the bright trail of happiness that accompanies the time that has passed. When we piece together what happened, we learn of the sacrifices, which remind us of all the times we had to risk our lives. While our outlooks on life may vary, we can all agree that when it came to taking chances, we had the poker mindset: we risked our lives for the sake of the moment, and sometimes it is only by taking a closer look at death that we can learn the many lessons that life has to offer.

Despite the fact that death is inevitable, most of us avoid facing it head-on. However, when the truth of death is literally at your doorstep, your deepest phobias and fears fade away, your insecurities fail to morph into self-doubt, and the most enlightened version of yourself emerges. You want to know, “Why haven’t I discovered this truth before?” You want to escape the illusory turmoil of your contemporary society, but you’re afraid of what you could have missed out on if you’d known this earlier.

When you face your mortality, you enter the most perilous phase of human existence, when your past traumas and triumphs might be relieved in a single moment. The brief moment you hold your breath is the last opportunity to choose your priorities. Steve Jobs once stated, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I want to do today?” I’ve been doing that ever since.

It’s about that split-second when you know it’s over when all your ideas go, and you’re left with the one regret that matters most: the regret that you let those elusive thoughts into your life in the first place. Because the fear of death just before the kiss of death flips reality, and the flipped reality is always preferable to the fictitious world you lived in before because our losses have not altered our character.

In that split second, you naturally become reflective and grateful when you realize you may be taking your last breath. Finally, the only thing left to be afraid of is fear itself, and the only way to be scared of death is to design it into your last moments of living. I’ve always been curious about the afterlife, and it’s fascinating to contrast the joy of living each day with the knowledge that you could not be here the next. I let go of what was holding me back by unlocking my viewpoint.

Death has always captivated me, and I find it fascinating to experience life while still being aware that you could not be here tomorrow. The things I was clutching were set free when I unchained my point of view. It has served as a constant source of motivation for me. The obstacle that can only be overcome after overcoming the fear of death is the false belief that we have an infinite amount of time.

The wisest thing you can do is apologize to some people and forgive others on your deathbed. I’m afraid I must disagree with the world’s chaotic temper outbursts. I thought about the moment I would lose consciousness, the moment I would realize I was close to death after exhaling, and the moment I would recognize the next breath I would take would kiss my lungs for the last time, sliding through a tube narrowed and choked, passing by a hole in my throat. Now that I’ve had my eyes opened, I can’t help but wonder whether I’ve been able to forgive myself. My internal monologue, if this is the case, imagines that my last breath will be accompanied by a smile, a sign of peace with death as the inevitable end of life, and a toast to the experiences I’ve had.