Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Facing mortality

They say that when a man is faced with mortality, whether his own or someone close to him, he may react or respond to it in fairly predictable stages. I'm not sure about the order of things, even here, but I know there is denial, guilt, fear, depression and finally acceptance. So they say.

Am I still in denial? Is this my "regular" depression or a more serious than usual bout of pain? How does my anxiety relate to it all? How much of it does it really matter?

I've recently, perhaps too recently to be writing this post, received rather alarming routine check-up results which continue to point to the deteriorating chronic failure of my kidneys. In addition, they've found an abnormal cluster of blood vessels in my brain. So who's going to 'off' me first? I know the brain thing sounds promising (it's a regular time bomb in there) but so does the 'creeping death' style kidney. My bet is on a third, as of yet undiscovered failing organ (or maybe just a car accident? that could be disappointing after all this medical stuff...).

So yeah, I have to deal with my own mortality. The thing is, between Eros (which stands for the will for life in classic psychology) and Tanatos (same thing only for death), I've always found a certain appeal for the latter. I do not want to die, but how bad do I want to live? What do I have to live for? The answer for these questions is not so obvious to me.

I have one thing to draw comfort and hope from - I know that other people in far worse conditions than myself have found the strength to face their hardships and with a will for life greater than I have thus far felt. Perhaps I should take this as an opportunity to change and challenge what is left of my life, to truly live before I truly die.

Here is a link of a man I admire very much, and not just because of the reasons he'd made the recording, but because of how he lives. Here is Professor Randy Pausch in the famous "Last Lecture".

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