Friday, July 5, 2024

I Hope I Die Before I Get Old, Part Two

Image by Ralf Designs from Pixabay

This weekly column consists of letters written to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now and haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal." -Ray Bradbury (from Fahrenheit 451

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

In part one, I declared that there's bad old and that there's good old. I explained bad old thusly:

"I don't ever want to be so old that maintaining my personal financial and ideological status quo is the primary reason I keep getting out of bed in the morning -- the pursuit of purpose and meaning, and fun, be damned. 

I know/have known/know of a lot of people who are younger than me but who are actually much older than I am. I'd rather be dead than be that sort of old."

{I know that I still think quoting yourself as often as you do is a bit creepy.}

Now, as to good old...permit me to begin with a disclaimer. 

Not that it's going to stop me, but unless/until/if you're good old you're not going to fully understand what I'm on about. Also, like many, perhaps most complex/subtle things, it can be pointed to or hinted at with mere words but must be experienced to be truly understood. 

Placing things in their proper perspective are words to live by, particularly nowadays. The seemingly ever-increasing speed of daily life + the never-ending information tsunami + the time-honored media (old and new versions) strategery called If it Bleeds it Leads = a seriously skewed perspective. 

{So we're skewed?}

Not necessarily, Dana. We can (try) to live like a stoic philosopher, or a recovering drunk/druggie, and change what we can while making the best of the rest. 

Big BUT, never forget that nirvana/heaven/utopia is ALWAYS going to be just around the next corner so (try) to relax, and make the best of the ride. It's going to be over much sooner than you think. 

If you're fortunate enough to become good old, which doesn't necessarily (but commonly does) have anything to do with being physically old, you will be blessed with Cosmic Geezer(ette) Perspective (CGP). 

"Memento mori (Latin for 'remember that you have to die') is an artistic or symbolic trope acting as a reminder of the inevitability of death." -Wikipedia

I first encountered the term when I bumped into it somewhere and read something about medieval monks keeping a skull in their cell to serve as a memory aid. Remember dude, heaven or hell is waiting for us all, best not wander off Straight&Narrow Blvd.

However (the Wikipedia article provides a broad overview), this "symbolic trope" is common all over the globe in widely varying cultures, has been for thousands of years, and doesn't necessarily refer to following all the Rules&Regs of a given ideology to obtain paradise forever and ever, amen. 

For many H. sapiens, including me, it serves as a reminder that no matter what comes next, or doesn't, you will eventually be deleted. 

{Not once H. sapiens figure out how to upload themselves to the cloud!}

Let's hope so, who wouldn't want to spend eternity as a ghost in a machine? Get away from that plug! Achieving CGP means — that no matter what's next, or isn't — acceptance. You now know in your very bones, so to speak, that you're gonna die, and you can live with that.   

For the uninitiated, looking death in the eye, can, and often does, bring on a panic attack. Holy shyte! I could wake up dead tomorrow... I could drop dead any second! I should do something! 

If you're one of those demented people who think H. sapiens are to "Gaia" as terminal cancer is to normal H. sapiens you'll be thrilled, right?

If you're one of those fortunate people (more or less) confident that heaven awaits, you'll double down on following the Rules&Regs as best you can and hope God is a forgiving sort with a sense of humor. 

If you're an atheist or an agnostic and have a panic attack you'll be able to easily reason yourself out of it, right? If not, medical science has developed a plethora of specialists and medications to assist you in living with this and any number of similar problems.   

CGP, on the other hand, is sorta/kinda enlightenment for the masses. The Sanskrit word nirvana literally translates to "blowing out." You know how when some really intense experience (good or bad) ends and you experience a deep, heartfelt sigh, PHEW! (for lack of a better word)?  

It's like that...combined with acceptance and a new perspective. The bad news is that it will come and go. The good news is that it keeps reasserting itself like an alarm clock with a snooze function that can't be disabled. I think that if it becomes permanent you will be enlightened, or close enough.      

If you were born with Must Be Used By _______ stamped on your bum how would you spend your time? 

{Say what?}

If you achieve CGP you won't know what your use-by date is but you will know you have one, it's inevitable, and that it might be any time now. It will feel, um...really real, as opposed to vague, abstract, and waiting for you somewhere beyond a distant horizon.

The good news is that there's no bad news. 

You may be in no hurry to die, but you won't be particularly upset that you're going to. All of the passions, fears, goals, duties, dreams, etc. will still be there, but the pot will be simmering, not boiling. 

Clarity. You will know what you still have to do, what you really want to do, and will balance them as best you can fully aware that life is what happens to you while you're making other plans so there's no point in getting upset about it, although you still will from time to time. 

"Good" implies "bad" and vice versa. Together they constitute an inseparable whole and there's just no way around it. All that you can do really is all that you can do. 

Deep inhale, blow out, laugh at yourself.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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