I was sitting in on a lecture of the Five Stages of Guilt this morning and something hit me:
I'm not sure if I'm ready to die.
Now before you start sending sympathy cards and condolences just know this: I'm not sick or dying any more than the normal, run-of-the-mill person is dying. I mean, we're all dying a little bit each day, aren't we? Or do I have that wrong? I thought I remember hearing once that as soon as we are born the dying process begins. Maybe I made that up. Or maybe I over heard a crazy person saying that. Either way, I am not dying out-right. As far as I know.
But still, I could die at any minute. I could get hit by lightning or I could lose control of my car as I'm driving over the Grand Island Bridge and drown. I could get caught in the middle of a turf war and get gunned down. I could fall asleep one day and just not wake up. These things are not out of the realm of possibilities for someone. Even me.
As you may (or may not) know, the final stage of grief is Acceptance. This usually occurs after denial and anger and bargaining and depression. It is at this point where a person says, "you know what, I've lived a good life. I'm okay with dying." As the guy at the front of the room was describing this stage, I was trying to figure out if I could ever get to that stage. I don't think I could. Right now. And to be honest, I don't think I want to.
When I was a teenager I had my palm read on the beach in Florida. The woman told me I wouldn't live to see my 40th birthday. When I was sixteen, it didn't really freak me out. I was cool with it. I was a little happy about it, to be honest. I hope I die before I get old! I didn't see myself being an adult, so being forty was no big thing to me. But now that I'm in my mid-thirties, I can sorta-kinda see myself living to be forty. Maybe. If this woman was right (and many many people have told me that she couldn't possibly see my death day in my palm), I won't live to be 40. And I'm not sure I'm ready to not be alive anymore.
Have I had a good life? Sure, I guess. But it's a good life compared to whom? Compared to Bill Clinton? Compared to Jim Morrison? Compared to Hunter S. Thompson? I would have no answer "no" to all three of those guys. I haven't fulfilled all my dreams yet. I haven't really traveled to Europe and the United Kingdom. I haven't seen the Yankees play in New York City. I haven't written the Great American Novel or a moving and emotional stage production. I have so many more things I want to do with my life, but it feels as though my time is running out.
Or worse yet, it feels as though I may have all the time in the world, but no means to do the things I've always wanted to do. That would be the worst thing ever.
And to be honest, I really don't see any of my dreams coming true. I have to work to pay my bills and I don't have savings and I don't have vacation time (or the money to go on vacation if I did have the time) and I have a car that constantly needs attention and I have a hard enough time seeing myself ever moving out of my apartment, let alone going somewhere exciting or exotic.
And it's so damn sad.