The Mayfly’s Guide to Living Life to the Fullest

In 5 Minutes or Less

B. Shiv Kumar
3 min readMar 10, 2023

Laughing with (not at) the Mayfly

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the mayfly. Yes, you heard that right — the mayfly, the insect that lives for just a few minutes. It’s like a super short-lived fruit fly, but without the possibility of being preserved in amber for millions of years. Don’t worry; we’re not going to make fun of the mayfly. Instead, we’re going to have a good laugh with our tiny, short-lived friends.

A mayfly.

Short Lives and Six Sense: A Mayfly’s Perspective

If we were to give a mayfly the gift of foresight and tell it that it’s only got a day or two to live, what do you think it would do? Would it frantically try to accomplish everything on its bucket list, like skydiving or bungee jumping? Or maybe it would just take a nap, because, let’s be honest, flying around for a whole day is pretty tiring. It’s like a fly’s equivalent of “YOLO” — you only live once, and in this case, you only live once for a few minutes.

Memento Mori: We’re All Going to Die (Sorry!)

The idea of confronting death terrifies all of us, but the truth is we’re all going to die one day. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Our lives are but a brief moment in the grand scheme of things. Compared to the age of the universe, we’re like mayflies ourselves. But, instead of despairing over our mortality, let’s take a cue from our mayfly friends.

Your time will run out one day.

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom: The Realization that Matters

The truth is, our mortality tells us something far more important: that in the grand scheme of things, what we do or say doesn’t matter much. We’re just a speck of dust in the universe. But that doesn’t mean we should just give up and not do anything. No, we should focus on what really matters: our relationships. After all, we’re social creatures, and without company, we wouldn’t last long.

Your relationships matter.

The Ultimate Lesson from a Mayfly: Make Meaningful Connections Before Time Flies

So let the people important to you know that you care. Call up that friend you haven’t spoken to in years, or finally make up with that family member you’ve been at odds with. Life’s too short to hold grudges or let relationships fade away. We only have a limited amount of time, so let’s use it to make meaningful connections. That, my friends, is the ultimate lesson we can learn from the mayfly.

This article was inspired by Mark Manson’s book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck’.



B. Shiv Kumar

A curious soul interested about Machine Learning and life in general.