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Could Your Life Be So Good That You Fear Your Death?
Am I the only one who has experienced great accomplishments and happiness in life, after years of heartache and failure but now struggles not to think about their death?
This isn't about suicidality but the opposite feeling, where you're borderline obsessed about maintaining your existence. It's difficult to describe and it's a new feeling that I've been struggling with for several weeks.
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I've spent the past few years holding myself accountable and being a better person than I was the day before, so my worries are no longer about the situations I have control over but instead something I have no true control over which is when I'll die.
I've thought about the lowest moments of my life, like being unemployed, living in my friend's basement, and essentially alone. I was purposeless and other than my son, felt like I had no reason to take up space in this world. It's a horrible feeling but a real one that I had.
However, as I'm writing this, I'm sitting on a train headed to Rome next to my beautiful and supportive wife, not wanting this life to end. I've found a purpose greater than me, with an objective to help as many people as I possibly can, and the thought of it ending prematurely scares me.
This isn't about me no longer having a writing career or people no longer caring about what I have to say: this doesn't worry me. What I'm worried about is what's beyond my control and being forced away from the world before I'm done making an impact.
Remember, much of what I'm saying isn't logical but it's an irrational feeling that I'm dealing with. I've been incredibly blessed but maybe I've been too blessed.
Maybe blessings are like a well and I've been dehydrated for decades but only now am I quenching my thirst, which is slowly emptying this well of blessings. Part of me knows this doesn't make sense but the other part of me is worried that I'm wrong.
I think about the great men and women who've made historical impacts but lived incredibly short lives. I'm not egotistical enough to think I measure up to these people but I think if this could happen to people greater than me, what chance do I have?
If I were to listen to my own advice, I would tell myself to continue to focus on the things I have control over because there is no point in being preoccupied with something that you may not even face anytime soon. But why am I even thinking about all of this?
I believe much of this started after receiving my unfavorable blood test results. I'd been living an unhealthy gluttonous lifestyle stemming from my days of nothing to live for and drowning my sorrows in food addiction.
I'm worried that my old depressive self may have ruined it for my future self, shortening my lifespan to be around people I care about and pulling me away from others I could have helped if I weren't 6-feet deep.
I'm trying to do everything possible to reverse the damage that was done but I worry that I may be too late. Coincidentally, my paranoia has made me thankful every morning for the past few weeks that I'm alive. I don't take any of this for granted and maybe that's the point.
I just want a legacy that my family can be proud of, and I want to leave behind artifacts like books, writings, and media appearances that encourage other people to live a fruitful and positive life.
I'm currently working on my next book about fatherlessness, something that I feel is a great detriment to our society, and I want to finish it sooner rather than later because I don't know when my last day on this earth will be.
I'm not in love with being right & I would love to be wrong about my fear of an impending death.
In the meantime, I'm going to turn off my laptop & enjoy the precious time I do have on this earth with my wife.
I may not have control over when I'll die but I do have control over the fear I'm experiencing: I just need to face it instead of pretending it isn't occupying my mind like I have been.