Wish I could condense the following into one short paragraph, but I’m not good enough. I know if someone sent me something as long as that it would scare me right off the bat. The first thing I do with an email letter is check it’s length. If it’s too long it scares me. If multiple paragraphs are used, that lessens my fear. As a major promoter of the Golden Rule I would not want anyone to read in full something I wouldn’t read even part way. But anyway, here it is.
As our bodies weaken with age, so too does our fear of dying. At least that’s happening to me. The fear weakens but does not die until we’re gone. That’s because all of us are saddled with the annoying will to live. Even people who want to die are saddled with it.
Now, just because I am no longer afraid of dying doesn’t mean I am going to rush out and do a bunch of stuff that scared me all my life, like flying for instance. It scared me 49 years ago the last time I flew at age 17 and it scares me still.
The bucket list is a myth. It’s absurd. After all these years you finally lose your fear of dying and decide to live life to the fullest. That’s good, except now you no longer have the energy to do it.
But I want to talk about something other than fear. I want to talk about using fear, even manufacturing fear, as an excuse for avoiding things. For example, my fear of flying is real, but I believe that over the years I have exaggerated that fear to my own advantage, one of which is having an excuse for never having to be anywhere in a hurry.
I make sure that everyone I know is aware of my fear of flying. I want them to never forget it. That way, if a friend clear across the country dies and I don’t want to go to the funeral, no one can say I’m a bad guy for not showing, because I told them a million times I do not fly and never will for any reason, and I swear to God I’m really sorry about not being at the funeral, but hitch-hiking or taking the bus would not have got me there in time.
Did you notice I neglected the car as a means of getting there? That’s because I haven’t owned a car in 35 years. Another good excuse for not having to be somewhere in a hurry. I have deprived myself of many things in exchange for those excuses. My fears have deprived me of a possibly fuller life, but I’m sure they have also paid off at times.
Using fear as an excuse works to some degree, but it’s never fool proof. The best tactic for avoiding far off functions and other unwanted people-mingling events is to simply have less friends. Having less friends can also make dying easier. When I tell that to people, they say, “Everyone needs friends – who wants to die alone?” My answer to that is, “Everybody dies alone.” I don’t care if you go down in Grand Central Station with a thousand people around, when you take your last breath you will be alone. I’m ready for it.
This conversation is scaring me – gotta go