Thoughts about death

During the past year a few persons close to me have died. I also have acquaintances and relatives who have reached a high age and are experiencing some related ailments. This has made me think about life and the process of getting old. Although I am just under thirty, I can already see how my views on getting older have changed during the past ten years. How they will develop in the future, I can only guess, but the contrast between my current perspective and the one I had ten years ago is visible.

When I was twenty, I hardly contemplated about death on a personal level. I had been to funerals, but at that time death was something that would meet the old miserly while I was young and healthy. Death was not something that could happen to me or my friends of same age. Now I think and acknowledge that death could meet me eventually, but at the same time it seems to be very, very far away, maybe infinitely far away if no accident should end my life. While the twenty-year-old me saw himself as immortal, the current me has abandoned this illusion while thinking he can still live potentially forever.

When a person gets older, they gradually lose their physical prowess and mental faculties. In what order these steps take place and to what degree, varies between individuals. For the person themselves, having a clear mind in a feeble body is likely worse than the opposite; the mind can observe and grasp how its physical housing is collapsing and how it must also come to its end. In the opposite case, an otherwise functioning body without a lucid mind cannot foresee its own faith, living both without joy and worries.

Getting older and having a visceral feeling of dying must be tough for both the person experiencing it and also the people around them. However, I think we shouldn’t worry about death but rather accept it as a necessary conclusion to our lives. If we can accept death as something over which we have only limited control, we can spend more time enjoying the good things in our lives. Living in fear of death is hardly living at all.