Why I Dwell on Death in Times of Stress and Why You Should Do It Too!

a very old picture of a skeleton seated on a chair as if relaxing

Yesterday I had a headache, and as I was walking down the hall rubbing my temples, a random guy said “Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon.” So of course, I said “Yeah, eventually I’ll die,” and he was like “Oh, don’t be like that.” Which totally surprised me, because isn’t that what he was talking about in the first place? Whatever.

I remember one time, I was crying (literally sobbing) on the phone to my sponsor about some fool thing I’ve since forgotten, and she stopped me mid-blub with one simple phrase. “Well, eventually you’ll die.” You know I shut right the fuck up? Suddenly my stupid problem and my entire life came into rack focus. How could this shit matter when DEATH IS COMING?

How many years does the average human really have? Life expectancy in the US is 78.4 years. Add a couple for being a woman, college educated, and half white, lose a couple for being half Mexican, being fat, eating red meat, and living in Los Angeles and my personal life expectancy is roughly 78.4 years. I’m 27.4 years old now, so I’ve got 51 years left. Accounting for end of life sickness and frailty, and the fact that we spend 8 out of every 24 hours asleep, I only have 27 more conscious years. And that’s just if nothing goes wrong. Based on past experience, shit will ALWAYS go wrong.

So why am I wasting my precious little living time on petty fucking bullshit I won’t remember a week from now? No reason! Acknowledging my own mortality really keeps things in perspective. In 100 years will anyone remember me, let alone who made the first pot of coffee at the office every morning for a week? No. I’ll be forgotten, as I should be. No one should carry the burden of remembering my boring life when they have their own to live. And no one should carry the burden of petty day to day problems when we only have a few precious decades to eat and fuck and play and love and learn and be awesome. Everybody, think of death, feel it’s icy indifferent breath on your neck and remember: it’s coming. For you. Live your life while you can!

3 Replies to “Why I Dwell on Death in Times of Stress and Why You Should Do It Too!

  1. I like this a lot more than I would like to admit. Though win my experience when you try to explain this to me when I am extremely upset my mind goes to, “what is the point of all those years anyways?” instead of “Ok, this is petty lets move forward.” Maybe that is just where I am right now? Anyway, thanks for the reminder.

    1. I can also get into the ‘what’s the point of all those years’ head. And so far, the only good answer I have is: the point is what you make it. Which is a COMPLETELY unhelpful answer when you’re neck deep in crying and nothing seems to be going right. But for me, it’s the truth. And while crying about failures, or pain or frustration is totally warranted and necessary from time to time, it’s important to remember that there’s still a point to be made in the midst of all this.

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