After six months of design, Daily Stoic is excited to announce the The Memento Mori medallion. These coins are designed with the intention of carrying them in your pocket, a literal and inescapable reminder that “you could leave life right now.”
In MeditationsMarcus Aurelius wrote “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” That was a personal reminder to continue living a life of virtue NOW, and not wait. The French painter Philippe de Champaigne expressed a similar sentiment in his painting "Still Life with a Skull," which showed the three essentials of existence - the tulip (life), the skull (death), and the hourglass (time). The original painting is part of a genre referred to as Vanitas, a form of 17th century artwork featuring symbols of mortality which encourage reflection on the meaning and fleetingness of life.
Each coin is handcrafted in the United States by Wendell’s, a custom mint operating in Minnesota since 1882. The same mint where the iconic AA anniversary medallions were created in 1973 by Bill Westman, an employee at Wendell’s. Westman wanted to create something to leave with people he interacted with in recovery groups and to mark their achievements in sobriety. To remind them of the messages of AA and help keep them on their road to recovery. Westman’s advice was “carry this in your pocket or purse and when temptation is great, reach into your pocket and feel the medallion and remember your struggle to get this far.”
The front features an interpretation of de Champaigne’s 17th century painting and the back shows a shortened version of Aurelius’s timeless wisdom. The coin acts as a reminder to not obsess over trivialities, or trying to become famous, make more money than we could ever spend, or make plans far off in the future. All these are negated by death. It’s time we stop pretending otherwise.