If I Died Tomorrow

My hairdresser spotted it. She always does. She’s more like a scalp-savant than a hairdresser.

“Brooke, have you experienced a traumatic event recently, say, perhaps a month ago?”

Kate can read my head as a clairvoyant reads a crystal ball so I knew that there had to be some truth to her suggestion. Actually yes…

“That was when I almost died in Bali.”

“Well that would explain it,” she declared, before promptly resuming her attempt to beautify me.

A month earlier I had in fact almost died in Bali.

What was even stranger was that only a day before the trauma that had left me with a shocked-scalp I had predicted it.

It was the end of seven days in a babylonian resort deep in the Ubud jungle.

I had spent a small fortune on what can only be described as a private jungle. Surrounded by dragonflies, I had alternated between sunbathing and sipping beer in a jade bath.

On one considerably languid day I had taken a few moments to film my surrounds. In the film, monkeys exploded from the jungle like solar flares. Swallows dipped as though sinking through cream.

In the last few stills I had inserted the text…

“I will die poor and happy”.

I very nearly did.

One day later I had a case of food poisoning which left me unconscious on a restaurant floor.

After a  panic to emergency I revived, recovered fully and sit here happily retelling the anecdote with the comfort of time and retrospect.

Back to my prediction.

I don’t wish to dwell on the morbid but the sentiment of living like I would die tomorrow is at the core of my belief system.

It’s terribly short-sighted but it is as genetic to me as my dimples. It’s part of my design.

When toddlers learn to delay self-gratification by waiting for dessert after eating their vegetables it’s seen as a crucial stage in their development. It’s an AHA moment.

This bit is missing in me.

Instead, it has been replaced with the ‘I’ll regret it if I don’t’ gene.

Living as though I would die tomorrow has not brought me great wealth. I’ll tell you what it has brought me.

Life.

I remember the moment I sniffed the Serengeti from an open-roofed Jeep and saw a cheetah in a tree.

I had bought the tickets, spent the money and suffered the yellow-fever jabs. I had ridden the self-propelling waves of ‘I could die tomorrow’ and there I was in the Serengeti checking out a cheetah.

‘I could die tomorrow’ flirted with me shamefully in Tibet.

The thin air had seen me sucking oxygen canisters at the base of the Potala Palace. I took a deep breath of ‘die tomorrow’ and ascended.

Inside, a large gilded Buddha lit a room of jewels and I experienced the closest I ever have to transcendence.

I remember before that trip that I wasn’t too sure if I should go. I thought that I had better start saving for more important things.

As I stood there in the most beautiful temple humans have built I thought what exactly is ‘a more important’ thing? More important than this moment? More important than today? Because we all know what could happen tomorrow.

‘I could die tomorrow’ caressed me appreciatively as I sat sipping Prosecco under Tuscan-moonbeams in a wine-barreled hot tub.

I had booked a week at a cooking school in the Tuscan countryside. It was expensive. To tell you the truth, I probably could have bought a car instead. But I didn’t. I bought a flight to Italy.

Instead of investing in ‘tomorrow’ I immersed myself in one of the most decadent weeks of my life.

The biggest flaw in the die-tomorrow philosophy is actually living a long and healthy life. When I’ve spent all of my money on Tuscan hot-tubs and African safaris and I’ve still got a good thirty years ahead of me I may pause and reflect on my relationship with Mr Die Tomorrow.

Something tells me though, that if I sat staring at my last five dollars I’d buy the guy a drink and thank him for suggesting that I eat dessert first.

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