Friday, December 20, 2013

Among The Dead


I am not a habitual obituary reader but I do try to take a look at the end of the year compilations of pictures that news agencies put together highlighting the notable people that pass each year. This year, I am struck by what seems to be three distinct categories, old people, those in their mid forties to fifties that die of preventable conditions such as heart attacks, and suicides. As I page through the pictures and remembrances I am absolutely sure that I want to be in the first category, old, when I die. This seems like a simple task, avoiding, of course, unexpected accidents or other circumstances beyond my control, it really does seem like I have an enormous influence over which group I end up in.  But then, many of the people pictured were successful, with families and support systems in place and good medical care and information. I wonder about the disconnect between our daily choices and our own long-term self-care. I wonder about why it can be so hard for me to keep my eye on the greater future, and if it is that hard for everyone else. I worry over my choices, the ones already made and those I will make in the future. I try to remind myself that no one is perfect and even all the good choices and prevention in the world is not a guarantee. I try to have compassion for myself and my weaknesses. Then, I tell myself to get sorted. Life is long, but not always. Ultimately, your life, and how much you get of it, are up to you. Use it wisely.


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