Ep 19: 10 Reasons I'm Afraid to Die Today
My friends don't know that I'm burdened. It's the burden of having glorious purpose...like the villainous Loki of Asgard. Everyone thinks I have it all together. That I'm talented. Smart. Funny. That's because I project these traits in public. But in private, it's a whole 'nother ball game.
I'm actually a rather flawed man. A good man, but an insecure one. I don't like admitting that I don't have it all figured out. And I really have a problem accepting that I'm not the superhuman I for many years believed I was. I love my family, but I'm a pretty neglectful uncle, brother and son. I hold grudges and like to believe I can do without several key people in my life. Am I being too honest?
I'm afraid to die today. (Don't worry, I'm not on my way to that chair to be executed, but don't think I can't still die today.) Here I want to highlight 10 reasons I'm afraid to die today as therapy and catharsis. Let's get to it...
1. I'm afraid that I don't matter.
I struggle with thinking that I'm living a largely inconsequential life. That when I die, the world will just go on in its normal routines. That I will be quickly forgotten or a distant memory. That my passing won't matter and all that I've done has fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes. I can tend to think that I matter a lot more that I actually do, but maybe that's my id talking. Hell, maybe even this post won't matter to anyone. But I want to think that I have purpose and that I can influence people. I want to believe this.
2. I'm afraid to die alone.
They say we are born alone and die alone. Yet we are social creatures who crave connections. It doesn't feel like I'll die with people I love, maybe because I don't spend much time with people I love. A part of me is reluctant to get too close to people because you don't know when it's your time to go or theirs. I think I'm going to experience death alone, detached...lonely. To die not holding your companion's hand is a very sad thought.
3. I'm afraid to admit I need people.
The novelty of independency is that I get to rely on myself and the responsibility of the decisions I make rest with me. When I need people, I see that notion as needing a favor. And when you need a favor, you think that you may have to return it someday, and then it feels like you owe someone. I don't want to be in peoples' debt. I want success as a result of my own ideas, yet you can't get many places in life without a good team of people on your side. Needing people kinda sucks.
4. I'm afraid of complacency.
Complacency is like the opposite of ambition. As humans, we can get comfortable with simply being content. Then we become conservative, less open to new ideas and afraid of what we don't understand. I struggle with balancing my extremely ambitious nature with stopping to smell the roses every once in a while because I equate being content with failing to work yourself out of circumstances you think you can't influence. It's easy to not care and just accept things the way they are. Going against the grain requires an undying drive. Each day doesn't get easier. It's just that you get better.
5. I'm afraid of being a father.
At this moment in time, I don't have any children, but am all for being a dad should it happen. I often think about what it's like to be a father and how I could easily fail as one. To me, fatherhood is a lifelong commitment that requires patience, unconditional love, and a willingness to put myself last. I'm magnificent with kids and I fear that having a child could be my single greatest achievement, when I desire to affect so many lost children in the world today. Raising a single child could quickly become my world and my goals at this time could be deemed irrelevant next to the blessing of giving life.
6. I'm afraid to die before I've reached my fullest potential.
It doesn't feel like I've accomplished a fraction of what I'm capable of in life - and I could die before I get to. As a curious artist, I have the unique ability of not only finding nearly everything in life purposeful and interesting, but also sharing what I know by projecting it. But there's a great deal I haven't seen yet, experienced, or learned yet. Plus I haven't dented the universe and I could spend life times trying. My gifts haven't been shared and I haven't reached my peak. Until I do, I will feel unfulfilled.
7. I'm afraid of being misunderstood.
Many theories and masterpiece works of art aren't considered as such until the author has passed away. It's extremely easy to be mocked, misunderstood or stoned for trying to present new ideas to the masses. I want to shift the paradigm, but I don't fancy the risk that comes with it. A great sadness is giving the world your all only to be ridiculed by the media (and/or your friends, family, peers) when your art isn't separated from the artist. I mean well, but can come off as too goal-indulgent and impatient with people who don't challenge me. Perception is everything and your point of view is no less valid than mine.
8. I'm afraid that there may be no after-life.
What if it's all for nothing? Is life full of abstract coincidences or inevitable acts of fate? I can't be certain in this life. Only on the other side will I know for sure. And if there's nothingness like before my birth...well, that will be strange and unsatisfactory. Or maybe that isn't so bad. The conscious human mind is an active one. Constantly learning, thinking, processing. Absolute nothingness is no conscious. And things were ok before I was born.
9. I'm afraid of not being loved.
At the end of day, I think we all just want to be loved. We deeply crave connections, purpose and being social. And when you realize your gift, the only thing you want to do is express it and share it. I want the art I put out in the world to be recognized, appreciated and...loved. I fear that myself and my ideas will be rejected or misconstrued and that I won't have a second chance. However, I understand that to put yourself out there is to accept the risk of both the good and bad that will come from it.
10. I'm afraid of myself.
All of us humans are imperfect. The universe is filled with opposing forces. Light. Dark. Fire. Water. Any number of circumstances can turn good, honest people into rage-fueled avengers. Your favorite movie villain thinks of himself as the good guy. I've had glimpses of what my extremely optimistic outlook on life could be turned into if I loss everything I cared for and justice wasn't won. I'd be extremely pessimistic, selfish, inappropriate and careless. There's a great capacity within us to hate everyone and everything; a deep darkness. My biggest obstacle in life is in doing more selfless things than selfish. After all, it's so easy to slip into. I think I'm most afraid of myself.
The fear of dying I have is about having not resolved these issues yet. It's not easy to admit the things we're afraid of, especially when you're looked as a beacon of unlimited ambition. My greatest power might not be rooted in creativity. It might be my growing capacity for humility and vulnerability. If I shall die today, I just want to be clear and candid with you. I want you to know my fears and maybe you have some of the same ones.
After my first 8 months of writing blog posts, I may have finally found my footing. Regardless of my style of writing, I don't know everything, nor do I pretend to. I only know a lot about just a handful of things and even then, there's still much to learn in those subjects. I won't stop being bold, but I will be humbler. Being vulnerable is the best way to conquer my fears. And now, at the end of this post, I feel like I can begin to.