Contemplating Death on a New Year’s Day

Miroo Kim
4 min readJan 2

Hello, Matt

We never met. It’s unlikely we’ll ever meet in the future either. I don’t know anything about you but I ran into a bench in Marina, which had a plaque with your name on it. I was taking a walk there and sat down on the bench to enjoy the view of SF Bay on this first day of 2023. That bench was dedicated to you, to remember you by your loved ones, after your death.

There’s a certain inertia I feel on New Year’s Day every year. First of all, the new last digit of the year feels so unfamiliar — it’s so hard to keep reminding myself that it is 2023, not 2022. I already know that I’ll keep making mistakes by writing the date down, for example, February 2, 2022, on February 2, 2023. I expect I’ll get used to 2023 by mid March, if I’m hopeful. Secondly, I keep feeling some pressure that I ought to create a decent “New Year’s Resolution”, although I learned that wouldn’t work for me after many years of trial and error. The pressure is real with the new year’s resolution, because that’s what every newsletter I receive around this time is talking about. I already made up my mind many years ago that’s not how I’d like to roll, but I can’t help but notice a tiny FOMO arising in the corner of my mind, “Should I…?” It feels as if the world is demanding us to start something anew, with 100% energy and 200% optimism. It feels as if the society is expecting that we all gotta plan out the year and our life through and start executing according to the plan from today, for the future we want.

I am feeling so much resistance to everything about new year’s day today. I didn’t feel like starting to plan out the whole year. It doesn’t mean I didn’t feel motivated about life though. I just didn’t want to motivate myself to think that today is about tomorrow. Yet, I didn’t know how to think about New Year’s Day otherwise, because I’ve been so conditioned to this energy-pumping-plan-now-for-the-bright-future-ahead way. Feeling a bit defeated in this thought, I sat down on the bench and saw your name on the plaque.

We are strangers to each other, but we do have one thing in common; you and I were born in the same year, the great year of 1979. The plaque says a little bit about your life that you were a loving husband and father and the best friend to everyone. I wonder if there would be any…

Miroo Kim

I teach how to be emotionally intelligent to live a life of wellbeing. I am curious about how to design wholehearted life for everyone.