I can’t remember one point in my whole life in which I wasn’t keenly aware that my life is a ticking time bomb, programmed to go off at any minute and that minute I am not allowed to know about.
If anything I am almost obsessive about reminding myself day and night that one day I am going to die. In fact I’m so aware of my mortality that whenever I start to think of heading up for bed at night, my eyelids drooping, limbs aching I have to mentally ensure that I am prepared for any near death experience that I may be confronted with throughout the course of the evening. I have weapons at the ready for burglars and serial killers. I have my first aid knowledge brimming at the front of my mind ready to assess any symptoms that may appear during the 9 hours of darkness and I am seriously comfortable with dialing 999 and admitting myself to A&E at the slightest twinge or pinch. In fact it is safe to say that my awareness of my mortality is about as alert as they come.
(I think this is a touchy subject for me).
In response to this post I now really wish I could think of a time when life was simpler, when I thought I would live forever, where we didn’t live in a world full of dangers and disease, when we were all invincible. But yet, on the other hand although that idea is nice, safe and cosy I think that being aware of my mortality changed my life for the better when my concerns started to grow deeper when I moved away from home at 18. Counting down the days until I was going home for Christmas I was wondering why time had to go so slowly! But then I started to realise in the midst of my concern one day about the passing of time and how slow or fast it takes to pass, that time was the greatest gift you can ever be given. I thought suddenly that there was no point getting frustrated over how slowly time was going because I knew every single second that ticked by I was one second closer to going home, and those seconds do not slow down or speed up. It makes you a very grateful person when you realise that time is constantly moving forward, you can’t stop it you can’t control it, rewind it and god forbid fast forward it you just have to sit with it second by second and it can be taken from you at any time, so each second counts.
At this moment I understood why I was so obsessed with worrying about my unbeknown fate. It wasn’t necessarily the fear of pain or the unknown, but the fear of losing the people I love after all these years of creating memories with them, spending my time wisely and frivolously – sharing it with someone other than myself. I have a fear that my time will be taken away and I will no longer have those seemingly dull and mundane seconds sitting round a table eating with people, laughing together at terrible television, walking, sitting and standing together. I would even miss sitting around spending time with myself, which I have never particularly liked doing…
Where would my stream of consciousness disappear to?! My brain is always whirring, always talking to me even in my sleep it’s showing me films of dreams and nightmares, what would happen to it when I die? Will it just be silenced?
I have a fear of time. And how little I can manipulate it for my benefit. This makes me really wish I was immortal so I wasn’t always aware of it being spent before my eyes.
No, I have never felt like I was immortal and never had a sudden realisation of my mortality but I do know that I try to make every single second count. Just sit for a minute and watch as the seconds pass you by steadily, rhythmically, continuously. Think about everything you have to be grateful for in that very second, and live.