I’m petrified of death

I was about twelve when I became an aetheist. That’s quite a jump for a twelve year old to make. Before that, I’d been a choir boy for a number of years. I’d gone to church every Friday for choir practice, Saturdays for weddings and baptisms, and Sundays every week for service.

When I was twelve, however, I realised I was just going through the motions. I didn’t believe in any higher power. I quit the choir and suddenly had free time on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings. The free time may well have played into my decision, but I remember well that I just decided I didn’t believe in God.

The next logical thought, though, is that there isn’t an afterlife. If there’s no afterlife, then every second things are alive is precious. Not just for me, but for everything. If you squish an ant, well it’s not part of some plan. It’s not going on to a better place. It’s just gone from being alive to not.

So, I went out of my way to avoid killing things. I didn’t become vegetarian, even though I probably should have. In the eighties, being vegetarian wasn’t as common as it is now. Or at least I wasn’t aware of it as a child. I cycled to school and I would swerve violently on my bike to avoid killing a worm or snail. If I hit one, I’d feel sick to my stomach with remorse.

Recently, I’ve become a little less interested in the lives of bugs. I’ll still avoid killing them if I can, but I no longer feel that twinge of guilt if I accidentally kill one. I’m still not vegetarian. I tried it for a week and couldn’t even last that long. I know it’s possible, but meat just tastes too good.

On my own demise, I’m equally as paralysed with fear. For instance, today I thought about how my youngest son is two. When he’s eighteen, I’ll be fifty-four and just a short hop to death. I don’t think that’s a normal thought for a human being.

The seconds ticking away each day bother me intensely. There’s so much I want to do, so many stories I want to write, so many places I want to visit. Each second is one I’ll never see again.

In my teens, something else paralysed me equally. If you’re an aetheist, then you know that everything will end. Your life will end. The Earth will end. Eventually the Universe will end. So whatever you do means nothing eventually.

I rocketed between that thought and another just as paralysing. I could do anything. I’m a smart guy. I’m completely inept at sports, so they’re out. Anything involving my mind is possible, though. If you can do anything, how do you decide which path to take?

I’ve veered onto a lot of paths, most of them creative. All of them lead back to writing eventually. I guess that writing has always been what I really wanted to do, but interest waxes and wanes, like anything. I’ll write like a maniac for a year and then drop it and try painting or playing the drums.

Now, I’m thirty-eight. I don’t know how that happened. It’s almost as if, if you wait long enough you get middle-aged. My life is by no means over, but optimistically I’m at the half-way point. I’m overweight and have high-blood pressure caused by stress. My life expectancy isn’t high on anyone’s chart. I might have thirty-eight years left, so I’m going to use them.

2014 is the start of a new challenge over on the Last Author Standing Google+ group: Write a million words in a year. In 2013, I wrote about 300-400K words, so this would be a massive leap. A million words would be between ten and fifteen novels for me. Frankly, I think it’s impossible. I’m going to try, though. After all, next year at this time I’ll be thirty-nine. It would be nice if every second between now and then had counted for something.


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4 thoughts on “I’m petrified of death

  1. The most optimistic view is actually that medical science will advance faster than you age, making 38 nowhere the mid-point unless you want it to be.

    I fully support your attempts to make your next year count though (especially because 10 more Simon Cantan novels to read would please me).

    • Oh, I’ve heard that too. That medical science will make us live until we’re 150+. I think they might be being a little optimistic, though. I think that, aetheist or not, most people want to live as long as possible. It may be a little wishful thinking.

      I’ll be very happy to write another 10 books for you. I’ve got a lot of great ideas for novels, just limited time to write them all.

  2. Interesting. I was raised Atheist, myself, and changed my mind in my mid-thirties. When I was an Atheist, though, the idea of death never troubled me at all, because I figured that no matter what happened there would be no “I” to experience it, and consequently it wasn’t my problem.

    I wonder if your feelings are rooted more in your early religious upbringing than in your current beliefs.

    • Wow, you don’t actually hear about many people going the other way. A friend of mine went from aetheist to religious, so I guess it’s common enough.

      It’s true that I won’t be there to worry about it, if I get hit by a truck tomorrow. I think it’s more a fear of not getting the most possible out of life while I am here.

      It’s quite possible that it is because I was raised protestant. It maybe more of a shock to be told, “You’re going to great place after you die” and then not believing that, than the other way around.

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