The Inevitability of Existence

5 Jun

We all spend at least some time imagining how we are going to die. It’s a side effect of being human. We know it will inevitably occur, so we can’t help but be curious.




I used to say I wanted to die quietly in my sleep. Painless. Simple.

More recently, I got it in my head I wanted my death to be quick, but really cool. I wanted people to tell my story and be excited about it. I wanted people to think of my memory with a smile.

As of late, I’ve begun to wonder if I couldn’t die just knowing my existence simply did no harm. I doubt it…but one can hope. I am pretty selfish when all is said and done. I’m sure I’ve already left a scar the sizeof the Grand Canyon in my wake, but still, it’s something to aspire to.

In case you’re wondering, I just finished reading John Green’s “The Fault in our Stars.” Usually I abhor books about death and the Big”C,” books that by nature leave a hole in my heart. I like to read novels with warmth and a happy ending. I read to escape more often than not, not to embrace the harsh realities of a cold world. However, every once in a while, one comes along which I am thankful to have taken in because it leaves something else with me in place of the hole.

I had this really great thought earlier while I was reading and I wish I had written it down, but I wonder what kind of person I would be if I knew I was dying sooner rather than later. Would I be the optimistic, grateful-for-every-small-experience person? Or will I be bitter, resentful, and snappy? Maybe somewhere in the middle. I am pretty upbeat about just about everything, but I am also a realist, weak and tawdry. I do know for  fact that I would have a zero tolerance policy for sappy well wishers, pretending to make it about me but really making it about them.

One practical resolution I have gleaned, however, is not to feel bad about spending, for example, $600 on a plane ticket in a few weeks. I may not have cancer, but I do have a limited amount of sunrises. I would rather be a little irresponsible and spend my time and effort celebrating life with the people I care about, having experiences that make my life feel full, that not see tomorrow and regretting missed opportunities.

The point is that we do not now when our last good day will be so we owe it to the universe to participate and to give back what we have been gifted.

“‘Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed.’ That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it – or my observation of it – is temporary?”

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