Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Everyone fears death, or so I’ve read. Everything we create, all the monuments we build, are supposedly attempts to leave something of ourselves behind when we're gone. 

This seems a plausible enough argument, in an age when everyone is so obviously afraid. Yet the people I see don’t seem to be afraid of death. They seem to be afraid of dying without ever having lived.

 I sometimes wonder why I’m the exception, but of course I don’t think of myself as the exception. No one does. We all think of ourselves as the norm, and wonder why everyone else isn’t like us.

Some say we’re all alike at some level, and of course that’s true. Anything is true at some level. The question is what’s true for us, at our level. Immortal truths, if they exist, have no meaning for mortal beings like us.

Children are not aware of their own mortality, or so I’ve read. Only adults who’ve forgotten their own childhood could believe that.

The younger we are, the more aware we are that our lives had a beginning. Before that moment, we did not exist. And everyone knows, if they know anything, that whatever had a beginning must have an end.

Children rejoice in life because everything is new to them. They know it must end one day, but there’s no reason to think about that day now, at the beginning. It’s adults who think about the end.

Adults want to live forever not because their lives are wonderful - most people are unhappy most of the time – but because their lives are not going the way they expected. They think they want to live forever only because, as finite beings, they have no idea what forever is. They actually want to go on living long enough to do whatever it is they think they could do and should do. They fear death because they haven’t yet begun to live.   

I haven’t done what I could have and should have, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. And I’m tired of trying.

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