Friday, December 11, 2015


I plan on living to be 100.  It's a stretch goal, I know, but that's my plan. I also am planning on Brent living to be 100 as well. My family history leans a little more toward me making it than him, but I've still decided that this is what is going to happen. One hundred seems like a good solid number of years. It's long enough to actually be impressive. Sixty is way too few. Seventy isn't much better. Eighty or 90 are a little better but still not quite enough. One hundred is good.

My grandmother's twin sister did this. She decided she would live to be 100. And she did. Plus a few years. She actually lived on her own until she was 100 as well. She spent the last 3 (I want to say it was 3) years of her life in a retirement home more than a little ticked off because she was now ready to go, but still. It's pretty impressive.

My great grandmother also decided when she would die. It was after my great grandfather died. She wrapped things up. Called all of her kids to say goodbye and went to bed and didn't wake up. No assistance, no pills, no outside influences, just her deciding she was done. She didn't want to live without him and so she wouldn't. When Dad died I think we all worried Mom was going to do the same thing. But she didn't. She decided to keep on living. But it wasn't out of the realm of possibility for any of us to believe that if Mom decided to die she would. We are a strong willed bunch, the women of my family.

But even though my plan is to live to be 100 I also am not afraid to die. Just not. It's going to happen. It happens to all of us eventually. And I'm just not afraid of it. And that, I think, colors my world view as much as anything else does.

Watching the news and talking with friends and acquaintances and reading online comments (though I'm done with that again for awhile, too horrible right now) the biggest motivator in the world seems to be fear. There is fear of refugees, of terrorists, of mass shooters homegrown, fear of being armed and not being armed...all of it basically a fear of death. I don't want to die so I am going to project this big giant fear on all of those things. I don't have that fear. Do I want to be shot by some crazy person with a vendetta? Absolutely not. But am I afraid of it? Not really. The odds of it happening are very small. I know people don't seem to believe that, but it's true. Terrorist attack, either domestic or foreign, isn't the way you are most likely going to die.

For most of us it's choices we make for ourselves that are going to take us out. Eating poorly, drinking too much, not exercising, driving drunk, texting while driving. These are the things that are more likely to kill us. I made a Facebook post about that awhile back and was met with push back. Even though statistically we all know what I am saying is true, people aren't afraid of those things. They should be, if they really are afraid of dying, but they feel like because those things are in their control somehow that makes them less scary. To me, because those things are in my control, I try to mitigate their damage. I work out, I don't drink and drive, I don't use my phone while I'm on the road, I swear I will eat better just as soon as I finish this brownie...

But that's just because I know, due to family and health history, the things that are most likely to kill me are heart disease and cancer. Those are the big looming death possibilities on my horizon. That and dementia. That's the real terrorist for me. Which I've talked about before, if I have warning that I'm fading, I will take care of that before I end up a shell with no "me" left. Because I'm not afraid of dying. I'd just rather not until I'm 100.

Here is the life lesson in this whole thing. Don't be so afraid that something bad is looming out there that you become scared to smile at strangers. That you stop helping those that need our help. That you start believing those that want to make you fearful. Ask yourself why they want you scared. Is it really to protect you or is it to benefit themselves? Ask yourself why in the world you would want to be scared all of the time. You want to fight terrorism? Don't give in to the terror.

Fear makes you stop listening to logic.

Fear makes you do things that you regret later.

Fear can be used to manipulate you.

Don't be so afraid.

We are all going to die. It's inevitable. Don't be so afraid of it that you forget to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment