kenshi's moving entry on 'the dying season' was a jarring reminder of how many people I knew who have passed away just since October.
Too, my participation this week in a conference on estate-planning and long-term care has been a particularly sobering experience. Sure, I know in the abstract I'm not immortal, but absorbing the concrete specifics of the messy details of the dying process drove home the notion of my own mortality - that this bag of blood and bones will one day breathe no more, and the path to this inevitable ending may be fraught with complications that can burden loved ones throughout the twilight of my years.
Truth is, I've lived much my life as though I had an infinite number of second chances. In college, I was the quintessential dabbler, taking classes across dozens of unrelated departments to satisfy my voracious appetite for novelty; I sampled everything - but commited to nothing. No need to take anything too seriously, there's always tomorrow, I reasoned; the future was boundless and pregnant with possibilities.
But the wide-open tomorrows of my yesterdays have a way of becoming the unchangable yesterdays of my Right Now.
Scary, how quickly time seems to pass when viewed in hindsight. Scarier still when I think about friends who are progressing along their careers and establishing families while I play the role of the footloose vagabond, the wandering adventurer who never stays in one place for too long, but will happily regale you with the crazy story about this-or-that. Make no mistake, I wouldn't trade my experiences and memories for anything; the library of my recollection is abundant with vivid rememberances, tragic and wonderful, that I could have never imagined at 18. I revisit my memory-library often, especially in recent days.
Is it enough? Has this world become richer for the fact that I've been alive all these years? Have I given more than I've taken?
In many ways, my chronic unwillingless to put all my chips on the table of life has made me a parody of my younger self - a grown-up child who still trades too much on cunning and charisma rather than purpose and responsibility. When you think you have an endless supply of tomorrows to squander, the daunting task of becoming the architect of your life becomes something to be pushed into the infinite future.
Tick-tock, tick-tock. This is your life, and it is ending one minute at a time. What do you want to become? What are you waiting for? Will a 60-year-old You look upon what you are doing right now with dissapointment or approval?
Me, I've got about fifty pages on insurance law I need to review before I sleep. :)
PS: As I am writing this, it occurs to me that, some day, there will be a final entry to this journal, floating in time, never to be updated again. N'Shallah, that day is still far off, but for whatever reason the thought of it inspired a bemused smile.
Back to studying.