Today, I heard a piece on NPR about death cafes, a place where people can come together to contemplate their mortality. The reporter said, “The fear of death haunts us like nothing else. And it makes sense. All other fears — such as public speaking, centipedes and heights — pale in comparison. So we don’t really talk about it.”
I am not afraid of death.
As I write this, I am 31 years, 19 weeks, and 3 days old; I should have, if I am average, about 36 years–over half my life–yet to live. That’s a long time. But I have also lived a lot in my 31.4 years. I’ve studied fascinating language concepts in college* in grad school. I spent two exciting years living in a foreign country. I once spent 4 hours and 49 minutes on a Saturday morning running 26.2 miles around the heart of Berlin. I’ve visited the Louvre and eaten real French crepes. I’ve eaten the most amazing fish and chips near King’s Cross Station in London, had Currywurst from an old East German Imbiss and Döner from the Turkish district in Berlin. I’ve fed birds at Notre Dame and watched from the top of the Arc de Triumph the hilarity that is those traffic circles. I’ve driven to Poland just to buy cigarettes (with and for my in-laws). I’ve been to the breath-taking Neuschwanstein castle–3 times. I’ve played a Fourth of July patriotic concert at the American Cemetery (where General Patton is buried) in Luxembourg City.
I’ve played canasta with my best friend for hours while eating chips, salsa, and queso at a Mexican restaurant. I won the 4th grade spelling bee. I’ve played Mozart piano sonatas and Maynard Ferguson jazz tunes. I’ve seen Maynard live, and I’ve seen Paul McCartney live, too. I’ve listened to five trumpeters give a concert from the top of a church tower in Gießen, the only part of the structure that still stands after a World War II bombing. I’ve seen the most beautiful flowers, clouds, landscapes…
I have experienced so much. I have loved so much it hurts, laughed so much I’ve cried**. I have felt deep, dark pain and sadness, and I have found joy in little things.
I am happy and proud of the life I’ve lived. If I died suddenly or after a long illness, I would be content.
Death does not scare me, but I would love to live a long life; think of everything else I would get to experience!
* If learning does not equate to living for you, fair enough. I’m a curious soul, so learning stimulates me quite a bit. You live your life, I’ll live mine. ;)
** And peed my pants.