I’m in a bit of a morbid mood right now, so bear with me. Death is a terrifying thought for many reasons. Death itself doesn’t really scare me. Once I’m gone I’m gone, that’s it. But the process of dying is kind of scary. I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to be in pain. When I die, I hope it’s quick. But I’m also afraid that my life won’t mean anything. Mostly I just view this as a silly flaw of our society. We are told that being average isn’t good enough and that we should strive to be special. But there are 7 billion of us. What are the chances that even a seventh of the human population will know my name after I die? And why should I care? I don’t know a billion people. I’ll never even know a million, or a thousand. At most I’ll know a couple hundred, and I’ll know less than half of that well. So why do I care if my life means anything?
I don’t want to die with regrets, so I want to enjoy life as much as possible. And I want to accomplish as many of my goals as possible. I want to have children and see them grow into adulthood. I want to get published and travel a lot. But mostly I just want to be happy. If I die happy, then my life can’t have been for nothing. It doesn’t matter if anybody remembers me, or if I left anything with my name on it behind. It only matters that I enjoyed the time that I had.
So why is death scary? I suppose at this point it is scary because I’m 25 and, with any luck, my life won’t even be half over for another 20 years. But there is always the chance that I could die tomorrow. I’m not ready to die, which makes the very idea scary.