The other side of the discussion at hand? We all die. Thus, the title of this post. But of the two–birth and death–death is recognized as the greatest-of-all, the king-of-the-hill equalizer. “You can’t take the money with you when you die,” my father would always say about wealth amassed during any person’s funeral. He died, too, and he followed the everlasting rule. #6, says the angel.
Once in a while, more often now, I think about death. The thoughts are random. I think to myself, in less than 10 years, I’m going to be 80. I feel 50, even now that I had a devastating, close-to-death stroke and wearing the leg brace. Go figure.
People always commented on my youthfulness, that I seemed 10 years younger than my current age.
“45?” they would say. “You look 35!”
“Come on. 55? You look 45,” they argued.
Those contradictions, that I looked younger than I currently was, all evaporated when I turned 65. Nobody says anything remotely like that anymore. Sometimes, I prompt them. They roll their eyes.
The baby boomers, some of them, maybe even most of them, and I believed in perpetual youth up to around 60 years old. Many of them are fixated on not only being alive but looking younger as well. There are under-the eye creams for bags, wrinkle products to get rid of those very fine lines, sometimes only apparent to you, and Jennifer Aniston and the like extolling the merits of items that give you a youthful glow. I tried them all. Hogwash. Growing old is not for sissies, Joyce #2’s father would say. It sucks.
It’s better that the alternative–death, I mean–unless you’re willing to die, even welcome death, and not discover how stories turn out while you’re alive. For example, I don’t want to die:
Before I know if I will ever be a grandmother
Before I’ll finish the 5th book (I’m working on #3 currently)
Before I improve enough to do a 5-mile walk without stopping
The country artist, Randy Travis, said it best in the song, Three Wooden Crosses:
I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you.
It’s what you leave behind you when you go.
The final thing I’m going to blurt out in this stream-of- consciousness rant: if you’re feeling anxious right about now, if I put thoughts in your head that you wish weren’t there, watch this video to feel better.
Um, feel better now?