I enjoy a lot of tv shows/books/movies. In them, sometimes people die. That often gets me in quite a morbid mood. I then spend some time thinking about death, especially that of my own. Yup, here we go.
I don't know, I don't really approach the whole concept of death with a lot of fear or anxiety. Maybe a mild curiosity is the best way to put it. Partially because I'm ok with the whole idea of dying, I maybe sometimes do riskier things. I mean I literally use a bike to get around, sharing roads with drivers in a dangerous, driving focused North American city. I'd wager that exposes myself to way more risk than most people.
Sometimes while I am biking I do think about how dangerous it is. One unlucky moment, one momentary laspe of concentration, and I could literally be instantly killed. But, like I said above, these thoughts don't really deter me very much because there isn't anything so bad about being dead. Maybe dying is bad, but living in fear is worse? And so I continue to bike.
The worst part about dying is that everybody else will be sad. Much like weddings, funerals are really meant to make everyone else feel better rather than being for the deceased specifically. If I could, I would tell people that they shouldn't be too sad if I die because I don't mind dying and I'm sure it would happen doing something worthwhile. This is me, for the record, saying that. I don't expect it to change much but I want to put it out there that in my opinion, a life not lived to the fullest can be worse than death.
I suppose the same instinct can sometimes lead to quite counterproductive decisions. I feel like a lot of the decisions we make can come from wanting to avoid certain outcomes; outcomes which I don't necessarily mind all too much. I don't try very hard to avoid being sick, sometimes foregoing medicine or eating food which perhaps I shouldn't. I don't always try very hard to avoid dangerous areas or crime either. Is it because I'm foolhardy and in my 20s and feel invincible? Or do I care more about satisfying my curiosity more than other instincts? Who knows.
In the event that I do die, I do think it would certainly be sad. But it would be so much less sad than it could have been, because I feel like I have truly lived my life to the fullest. I got to experience so much. I've seen wonders and experienced thrills that most people throughout history never could have dreamed of. I've had such an easy life relative so many other people today who still struggle to achieve their dreams. Really I have everything I could ever want. If someone has to go it's always tragic, but better me than a child sick with cancer or a working father supporting a family. Hopefully these words will help temper some strong emotions on that inevitable day.
In my opinion the worst part of such an eventually will be having to leave so many projects unfinished. As you might have guessed, I like to see my life as a series of projects. Sometimes many at one time, other times focused on a few big ones. Learning to paint is a project. Visiting all the national parks and as many beautiful parts of nature as I can is another project. Teaching, passing down knowledge and nurturing and guiding, that can be a project too. However my end doesn't have to be all of their ends.
Perhaps there could be people who pick up what I will leave behind. They can ensure that the many projects I have started do not end. If, after I was gone, people were inspired to learn new skills and explore new places and nurture new passions in my memory, then it would be like I never left. I like to imagine my essence as one that is driven to create and explore. No matter what happens to my life, as long as that spirit of passion and adventure continues on then in my opinion very little will have been lost.
I don't really find it necessary to write a will, at least not yet. I don't have that much stuff to give away. I don't have any priceless heirlooms to pass down or final regrets or apologies that I need to air. None of that is very important to me. The one thing I care about more than anything else is keeping the drive alive. Let this end lead to many new beginnings. Everything I choose to do, I do it because I think its cool and creative and fun. If people keep doing cool and creative and fun stuff then my spirit will rest easy.
Of course this is all entirely theoretical. It's more for everyone else than it is for me. After all, like a funeral or a will, anything people leave behind is essentially just for aiding people through the grieving process. If doing this stuff will help you grieve by letting you feel that you're giving my life meaning then by all means do it. If it doesn't then please don't, I don't want to force anyone. Like I said I consider myself to have lived a very long and full life, no matter what happens next, so however you'd like to deal with my death is fine with me. Plus I'll be dead anyway, so will I really care?
The fact that everyone dies eventually is sad. But is it also a reality we have to accept. It's not that I want to die, but having accepted that I one day will I can now free myself to worry about other things. I a sense, I am already dead. All of us are already dead. We have already died. Once we can convince ourselves of that, we can start to live.