Have you seen the movie Big Fish? Brilliant flick. A must-see, if ever there was one.
Anywho, inspired by this movie, I love the idea of “knowing” when you are going to die, although I DO NOT actually want to KNOW that information.
Allow me to elaborate.
I am one of those people who is mindful of the impending event of death to an excruciating degree. Whenever I hear that wise advice, “Don’t forget, we are all mortal, enjoy every day as if it were your last… blah blah blah” I think to myself, “Welcome to my life.”
So on the positive side, death is not going to catch me without having appreciated every second of every day.
On the negative side, I think there is a damn good reason that most people live blissfully unappreciative lives, and that is because it makes you INSANE to think about death all the time.
Let’s put it this way: the joy I felt surrounding the birth of each of my children was painfully tempered by the realization that…
- I was going to be afraid every day not only of my own death but of my children’s death, and…
- In giving them birth I was simultaneously giving them their eventual death, as well as all the suffering they might experience in between those two events.
So I was able to appreciate the father character in Big Fish, after he’d seen his own death in the witch’s eye, as he went through his adventures, starting to feel afraid and then remembering, “Wait! This isn’t how I go!”
I have decided that I “know” I am going to die in my sleep when I’m 88. (Anyone who’s suffered through enough of my blog knows that I am partial to the number 8.)
Now, whether this is what really happens or not, who cares. The point is, I won’t face every single, day-to-day perilous situation, like, say, driving down the road in the car, with so much fear. I can look the oncoming semis confidently in the headlights and say to myself, “Don’t panic! This isn’t how I go!” I am absolutely exhausted of being afraid all the time.
(There’s no chance that I will actually put myself in a dangerous situation with a false sense of immortality… you can’t erase 38 years of paranoia THAT easily.)
But if I could only convince myself to play along, to believe against all reason that everything is okay… I might at least add a couple of years on to my life with lower stress levels. It’s worth a shot, anyway.