It’s becoming more difficult to think of improving myself. It’s not as if I think I have reached some pinnacle of success in my life and I have no room for improvement. It is not because I have stashed a pot load of money and I’m comfortable beyond anything imaginable either. Dream on about that one. But so far, all through my life I have worked hard each year to improve my existence. In small nibbles each day, I have done pretty well, considering my beginnings. Now I am looking at life differently. I see myself as not exactly living my life but now it is more like I am living my mortality. I think it is because I am getting older. Something that I have never thought much about in the past.
I think we can look at our existence in either of two ways. And it depends on whether you are one of those people who see the glass half empty or half full. If you see facing your existence as half full you call it life, if you see your existence as half empty you call it facing your mortality.
Don’t get me wrong, I have thought plenty about death. But it’s our mortality that I’m thinking about. I have lost many of my friends and family in years past. This year alone I have lost three friends, all younger than I. One was lost to a traffic accident, one to alcohol and liver disease and the most recent and really very troubling, one from a brutal murder, yet unsolved. So of course I have thought of death but I think that mortality is about more than just our death. Our mortality actually begins on the first day of our life. I’ve been reading a little more of Jack Kerouac lately; which may explain these ramblings. In an interview he was asked about the birth of a newborn baby and what he thought about it. He said that he felt very sad for the child because there was now another person born into this world that will have to face her own death.
Kerouac was not talking only about the death event of that individual child, he was talking about going through life facing our mortality. Jack not only was looking at life as a glass half empty but he believed the glass had a crack in it and was leaking. It may explain his zest for life, his continual search for action, meaning and words. He started living his mortality very young and maybe for good reason, he died at a relative young age. Some say he abused his body like he was invincible, I believed he lived not like he would live forever, he lived the way he did because he was innately aware of our mortality.
Mortality, that little thing we keep in the back of our mind, that thing we don’t want to think about, that realization that we are aging and someday our life will end. It doesn’t matter how or when you die, whether it is by accident, disease or murder as my three friends experienced this year. They are each just as dead although they died of different ages and causes. But they may have begun dying, living their mortality, the moment that they were born, the same as me. They’ve just experienced the event of death, what I hope will be years before me. But I indeed will experience it also, death I can only hope will happen naturally. I think the events that my friends all experienced were traumatic and tragic . They also, just like I am now, may have experienced their own mortality for many years before their tragic demise. One or two may have also experienced years of traumatic and tragic mortality for years before their lives ended.
So how do you think I should live the remainder of my life, live it like some, like there is no tomorrow trying to grasp as much of what I have left to enjoy not wasting a moment, like Kerouac? Or should I ignore my mortality and live my existence like I will live forever? I really don’t feel that either will affect when or how I’ll die but I do believe which way I choose will affect how I will live.