My girlfriend's weird. One day she asked me, "If you could know how and when you were going to die, would you want to know?" I said, "No." She said, "Okay, forget it."
I just read Josh Friedman's two posts (one
) about his run-in with kidney cancer, and as a forty-two-year old guy, cancer scares the crap out of me. Well, everything about my increasing decrepitude scares me. I've been suffering from a frozen shoulder (two, actually, in a row) for the past few years and even that little amount of pain is fairly debilitating.
An old guy once explained to me that if you're over seventy and you wake up without pain, you're dead.
He is now waking up without pain.
All my life I have been driven by fear of death. I think that's part of where the writing comes from: the need to make some impression on the world before I'm gone. Kids and contributions to the culture allow you to live on.
I take some comfort in the notion that if I were dying, I don't think I'd be doing much different. I'd self-publish my novel, just 'cause. I'd surf less, I hope. Blog more. I'd still be trying to get the same shows on the air. I'd be polishing the same feature screenplays I'm working on now. I'd probably play with my daughter a little more. I'd write her a very long letter, or maybe record myself on tape, for when she's older. I'd be a little more focused on getting things polished and skip all the careeer-building stuff. But mostly the same.
I think you know you're hitting your stride when oncoming death or a million bucks wouldn't change what you're doing. And that's a good feeling.
Now I just have to stop watching medical shows.
Alex, you could get run over by a bus tomorrow. Write that letter and get your tape recorder out. If you're still around, she can read it on her wedding day.
I was out bowling with a friend the other night and he said something profound:
You know you're getting old when bowling becomes exercise!
How true. I even ached a little the next day. ;-)
(BTW, I'm keeping that line for a screenplay!)
"I think you know you're hitting your stride when oncoming death or a million bucks wouldn't change what you're doing."
I agree with you. I've been feeling that way and it does feel great. The only thing I'd really want to do more is travel. One trip a year just isn't enough to see the world.
Sobering post. And very true. Living for today isn't always possible because of work obligations, etc.; but appreciating every moment you have with the people you love...that's necessary.
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