I’m getting old. That means that death is closer than ever. Whether I want to or not, I have to think about that.
As I’ve noted before in this blog, we Americans avoid talking or writing about death, as if hoping that silence on the subject will make it go away. We do the same thing with sex. Other cultures I’ve lived and worked in are much more open to both topics. They accept that death and sex are a normal part of living and speak of both casually. I wonder why we Americans are so wary.
I’m determined to live past a hundred years. My excellent health augurs well for that hope. I work hard to maintain a healthy diet consisting almost entirely of vegetables and fruits. I lift weights for a couple of hours every other day. I sleep a minimum of nine hours a night and nap each afternoon. It’s working. My primary care physician declares me fit.
But as the years pass, I feel my body declining. I’m less steady on my feet than when I was younger. I’m not as strong as I was in my youth. My hearing, damaged during combat, grows weaker. And my brain is less nimble and effective.
So rather than avoid thoughts of death, I must face it head-on. Since it is inevitable, how can I make the best use of the time I have left?
I know the answer: writing. I’ve known since I was six years old that I was born to write. And while my brain is weakening with age, my ability to think and create is, strangely enough, getting stronger each year. If I was put on this earth to write, my sacred duty is to do everything I can to preserve my health so that I can fulfill my vocation.
Yes, death awaits me. It’s pointless to deny or ignore it. Far better is to make the best use of the time I have. I have two books in my mind at the moment. How many more will catch my fancy?