I haven’t been especially morbid of late, so I figured I’d give it a go.
Last night it took for-ev-er to fall asleep, which meant I started thinking about the inevitability of death. This is rarely a good thing.
I hate thinking about death. I really, truly do. I wish I could be all spiritual about the whole thing, or take comfort from the ol Gump-ism, “Death is a part of life. It’s just a part of life.” Yet no matter how many times I see Sally Field deliver those lines on HBO (or occasionally TBS), it does me little good. Death certainly is a part of life, but it’s not a part I’m particularly fond of. Or, in other words, I don’t want to be deadâ€”yet the choice doesn’t actually exist. I will, factually, be dead. Hopefully not tomorrow. Or the day after that. But, in a grand-scheme-of-the-universe sort of way, too soon. Way too soon.
Here’s an odd twist to the perspective: Music, movies and sports hurt the cause. For example, I was driving a few hours ago when “Shoop” by Salt N Pepa came on the radio. I pressed the INFO button and saw that the song came out in 1993â€”16 years ago. In my mind, the tune was out, what, five years ago? Maybe six? I mean, time absolutely flies. And in 16 years, I’ll be 53. And in 16 years after that, I’ll be 69. And in 16 years after that, I’ll be 85. And in 16 years after that, I’ll be, well, either slurping strained peas from my diaper-padded chair in the assisted living facility, or pushing the little daisies and making them come up. Almost certainly, the latter.
The same goes for sports. I vividly remember watching the 1981 World Series between the Dodgers and Yankeesâ€”28 years ago. In that same span, I’m 65. Oy.
I tryâ€”really, I doâ€”to deal with the inevitability. I think of how fortunate I am. I live with passion and zest, and embrace my wife and children with tremendous gusto. I rarely sit on the couch and watch Jets-Bills when there’s something exciting or interesting to do. I love my job. I take long runs, because it’s the only way I know how to stretch out time; the only way to make an hour feel like two hours.
But, come day’s end, I’m haunted by the inevitability. Relief will actually come with death, when I no longer fear the fear. But until then, the black hole exists.
Does anyone else have these thoughts? And, save for Jesus and such, how do you deal with them?