I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately. Not in a philosophical sense – where do we go afterwards, do we have a soul? Not in a physiological sense either – the heart stopping, the brain dying, the blood not pumping around. No, I’ve been thinking about death in a more normal sense, in an every-day human sense.
When we think of something we love dying, it hurts but in an odd, abstract sense. We can’t really imagine in it. It’s not real, it hasn’t happened, and we wonder, if it does happen, how we’ll cope and whether the world will end. And it’s still abstract, still surreal, when it does eventually happen. When it happens in real life. Real death. It’s crazy and shocking and confusing and painful, yeah, but at the same time, life goes on – a life that’s now got a hole. Life goes on, everything goes back to normal, but it’s a different normal and perhaps it’s not quite as good as it was before (or perhaps it’s better, depending on the person who died).
When we think of ourselves dying, it’s frightening, but also a little unbelievable. I think that at our core, we all believe ourselves to be the centre of the universe. We’re bound to – we are the centre of our own little universes, our own little stories. It’s hard to imagine a world without us – either before or after – because the only world we’ve ever known is one with us in it. Of course it existed before and it will most certainly exist afterwards. We all know that in a logical, knowledge-based kind of way but in a personal, emotion sense, it’s hard to comprehend a world without us.
I often wonder what I’ll think of my life when I’m dying. Will I be happy? Will I be sad or disappointed? Will I even believe it’s happening, that soon I’m going to disappear into…into…what? That’s always been my greatest fear – not death itself, but regret, and not having the time to do anything about it, to put it right. I worry, sometimes, that whatever I do, however I live my life, I’ll be disappointed and wish I did more. You can always do more, right? But then, if I’m going to be disappointed anyway, what’s the point in doing anything?
Because it’s not just about what I’ll think of my deathbed. That’s the point. It’s not just about the end, it’s about the journey too.
Have I made enough of the first 32 years of my journey? If I were to die today, would I be content with what I’ve made of my life so far? I’m not sure. I like to think I’ve done enough but I could have done more. Could always have done more. Will I make the most of the journey ahead of me? I’m not sure. Laziness and fear have a powerful way of pulling you into a vegetative state. Can I beat that? I hope so. I’m certainly going to try.
How about you? How’s your journey going?