Don’t Waste Your Time, Or Mine.
While it does have a downside (usually six feet down) it can also have an upside.
Dying, after a reasonable amount of time, would cut into the amount of junk mail one receives. It might also eliminate a lot of those annoying phone calls from India telling you that, “Your computer may have a virus.”
Now, before you go jumping to any conclusions about my choice of topic – I am not dying – at least not for the foreseeable future. I mean, of course I’m dying. We all are. At some point in the future I will, most assuredly, be assuming room temperature. Dying is just part of Life –the last part.
If dying was not part of Life things would get awfully crowded around here. If you think finding a parking space at the Supermarket on Saturday is tough now – just imagine what it would be like if nobody ever died. While it might put some teeth into those “Lifetime Guarantees” on stuff, it would create severe crowding around the Grown-ups table on Thanksgiving. There would never be enough Green Bean Casserole to go around.
When we are young (a number that keeps changing as we age) we do feel immortal. We think we can do anything, eat and drink anything, and act really dumb. This feeling can be illustrated in the signature phrase of Youth, “Here, hold my beer.”
As we age (The 70s are the new 40s don’cha know.) our awareness of our mortality begins to creep into the wrinkles of our brain. Eating gas station Mexican food at 3 AM no longer seems like such a good idea. Playing football with “The Kids” on a chilly Christmas Day isn’t as much fun as it used to be, and just because you can now, at age 50, afford that Corvette (with the obligatory accessory of a 19 year old Pole Dancer named Trixie) it doesn’t mean that you should.
I think that youthful sense of immortality helps us to appreciate Life when we hit 40 or so. If we can make it through our 30s we can start to look back at all of our scars, both physical and emotional, and remember how they got there and what we learned from them.
At age 20 Death doesn’t exist in our minds. At 40 we begin to see people we’ve known start to disappear. When you finally reach the age when you start getting “Senior Discounts” and people hold doors open for you, the Shadowland becomes visible on our approaching horizon.
To offer a quote from Woody Allen – “I’m not afraid of dying; I’d just rather not be there when it happens.” I may be wrong, but I think one’s presence is mandatory – sort of like traffic court.
Some people deal with their mortality better than others. There are those who accept it and make the most of their time, and then there are those who go kicking and screaming like some kids on the first day of school. I doubt that either approach shortens or lengthens one’s available time.
Barring outside influences (Accidents, Wars, Mid-life Crises, etc.) we all have just so much time. That amount is different for each of us. That is why we see those little old men and women who smoke cigars and drink rotgut and still make it to 120 years, while others take good care of themselves and drop dead at 40 in the Yoghurt Aisle.
How long have I got left? Darned if I know. That bit of info is locked up inside my DNA.
I do enjoy my life. I live it at a different pace than 40 years ago, and I’m OK with that, although I do wish my knees and feet were still young. I’ll be around for as long as I can swing it, and when it’s time to get my ticket punched…I’ll go. I don’t see myself as one of those aging geezers who spend their final days trekking to some remote village in Kashmir looking for an antidote to Time.
To cite another apocryphal quote, this time from the 19th century British actor, Edmund Kean, who supposedly said as he lay on his deathbed, Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”