It is interesting to contemplate a person’s attitude towards death as they get older. As a teenager/young adult, I was invincible. Driving, drinking, casual whatever, nothing was going to affect me permanently. Death was something that happened to other people, usually old farts.
As a young father in my early thirties, aware of my responsibilities, the prospect of dying became terrifying – not so much on my own behalf, but because it would leave my young children without me in a harsh world.
As I approach fifty, and my children are, if not grown, at least grown enough to have at least some prospect of getting along in the world, death is no longer as terrifying. I certainly don’t want to die, but, in a way that I could never have appreciated when I was twenty, I now understand that, not only will I eventually die, but that that isn’t really a bad thing. I certainly hope to have many healthy and active years before it happens, but when it does come, I hope to be able to welcome it much as I welcome going to sleep after a long and full day.
It will be interesting to see if, when I am seventy and the prospect is much more imminent, I remain as sanguine as I (pretend?) am today.
On an unrelated note (looking over my past postings, it is interesting to see how often I use that phrase!), I also find that my perceptions of historical time have changed considerably. A century, contemplated by a teenager, is eternity. Today, with nearly half a century under my belt, I can look back to my grandmother’s day (born in 1898) and think about how relatively near in time that really is.