I was sitting in my room at midnight, reading The Passage, when my heart started racing a little bit, and I suddenly realized, “Oh my god, I am going to die.”
I got up from my chair.
“Oh my god, I could die right now. The human body is incredibly fragile. I could just die at any moment. Oh no, I don’t want to die!!!”
And I paced my room thinking about that for a bit. It was disquieting. This happens to me roughly every year about in December / January. It’s usually an indication that I am in a pretty good mood, since the rest of the year, I’m like, “Ehh, death will claim me someday, whatever.”
But even though this has happened before, it is still disquieting.
Honestly, at least 50% of my fear of death is about the actual, physical pain of death. I imagine that it has the potential to be extremely painful. And that does not sound very pleasant to me. I know it’s silly to worry about it, since it’ll only take a few days (at most) and possibly won’t even be an issue at all, but I still don’t like the thought of all that being up there in my future.
As for the rest of it, the not-being-alive part. I guess that’s a bit existentially odd, but, in general, it’s alright. Not ideal, but not terrifying. I agree with whoever said that if we are not terrified by the time before we were born, then we shouldn’t be terrified of the time after we die, because the two things are fairly similar.
As a result of my terrifying vision of my own mortality, I did realize that all my anxieties are pretty trivial. Like, it all comes out to nothing in the end. Even though he won the Nobel Prize, Hemingway is no less dead than, well, Lloyd Biggle or well…someone else who didn’t win the Nobel Prize. Also, success doesn’t make people that much happier, nor make their lives experientially richer. Really, success is valuable because it gives you the illusion that you’re so important that death will never come for you. But it will.
All of this is stuff that I already knew, of course. But after my TERRIFYING VISION OF MY OWN MORTALITY, I started to actually believe it a little more. And, since then, my life has been much less anxious.