Living to See Another Birthday

April Fool’s Day.

I was born 63 years ago this morning at 8:02.

No foolin’.

It’s hard to believe I am 63.

I’m getting to the point where when I take a survey that asks you to choose your age from different age groups such as 48-64 and 65 and up, I’m almost at the next to the last selection.  That’s depressing.

The older you get, you truer it is how fast life flies by.

I feel that if I could live another 63 years, it still wouldn’t be enough time.

The truth of the matter is, I’d be lucky to be still living in 20 years, and 20 years seems like a blink in an eye.

The two things people have no control over during their lifetime:  being born and dying.  If you are human, both will happen to you.  Being born is a blessing.  Having limited time is a curse.

As I approach one year of retirement, I realize how important work is for people for this reason:  it is a major distraction from the inevitable end to all of our stories.

Most of my life I have obsessed about death.  Unlike most people, the fantasy that I would live forever was blown up when at age 11 I saw my grandmother dead in a coffin.   Now 52 years later, I still can’t get that image out of my mind.  It forever changed my view of the universe.

While I am a strong believer in eating well and exercising often, the truth of the matter is, good lifestyle habits may ward off certain diseases, but nothing that you do will prevent death.

I wish I didn’t know this at such an early age, but that cruel awareness has motivated me that, as the saying goes, tomorrow is never promised.

There is a famous children’s prayer to be recited before going to sleep each night:

            Now I lay me down to sleep,

            I pray the Lord my Soul to keep;

            If I should die before I wake,

            I pray the Lord my Soul to take.

The phrase “if I should die before I wake” has always haunted me.  What happens if you go to bed one night, and you never wake up again?

I think it is one reason why I often wake up early in the morning when it is still dark as if to resist never waking up again.

Well, I woke up today which is why you are reading what I wrote.  For me, having an awareness that I will die one day is not depressing; it is more a powerless feeling, not sad really.  Just the way of all living things.

So, I will go out for breakfast for my birthday, I’ll eat some cake, I’ll talk to friends and family.  And, one day at a time, appreciate a gift too many of us take for granted.

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