I've never spent very much time contemplating my own death. I'm too busy trying to figure out what to eat next, what book will carry me away, where to find the best cup of coffee. I'm too much of a hedonist to think about dying.

But after Mary died in February, after I move my dad into memory care, after two more friends died in the spring, and after my family moved into the home of a 90+-year-old couple whose family had moved them into assisted living, it's been different. I think about my own mortality all the time. With each plate I place on a shelf, with each piece of art I hang, with each rug I unroll. How long will this be here, I wonder. Where will it go when I'm dead?

When I saw my therapist this past Wednesday afternoon I told her how I’ve been feeling. Well, she said. What do you think will happen when you are gone?

I would have FOMO I guess! I said. I WANT TO BE HERE. We both started laughing.

Cosmic FOMO, she said. Death: the ultimate way to guarantee you'll miss out on everything. And since it’s not like this a choose your own adventure and death is a chapter I could choose to not choose, I want to double down on not missing anything while I am here. This does not mean going out more, adding to my to do list, becoming a social butterfly. It means stripping away as many of the layers wrapping me up and holding me down that I have right now. Doing the nitty-gritty hard work of dealing with everything that takes me away from myself. This means thinking about my own death so that I can more accurately think about life.

Valley HaggardComment