This thread is about how to approach the end of our lives and the lives of others, whether that be decades in the future or sooner than we'd hope
Hey all, I'm in kind of a weird place lately. I lost my dog last year, which is usually a major tragedy disguised as a minor one, but even accepting that still felt disproportionately seismic. I'd had him since I was 26, and losing him felt like simultaneously losing a family member, a friend, a piece of my own mind, and my youth all at once. It was kind of earth-shattering, and I'm still not sure I'm fully recovered. I've been lucky enough that this is the feel loss I've experienced without the benefit of distance or a long period of debilitation. I've lost all of my grandparents and several friends, but it's all been at a fair remove. This feels different and it's triggered some previously untapped well of anxiety in me about death and aging, something that hasn't really troubled me previously.
I spent most of my twenties suffering from clinical depression, and I didn't really expect to get much beyond 30. Fortunately I was able to claw some of that back a bit and spent my thirties living a really good life and doing some of the things that my depression had kept me from doing as a twenty-something. For a while now, I haven't had to have a long term view of things. If you spend over a decade of your life teetering on the edge of suicidal impulses, every day you get back after that feels a bit like charging a credit card you inexplicably don't have to pay back. If I had suddenly died in my thirties, I would have been content. The small life that I'd carved out and lived between 28 or so and then would have been enough.
And now, I feel like I don't quite know how to age. Because I've never planned for it, and never really thought about it. I don't have great models for it. I'm an atheist and I don't have children, which seems to rule out something like 95% of peoples' purpose once they start getting a lot of grey hairs. And so I find myself having minor anxiety spirals about things that are likely thirty to forty years distant, basically several lifetimes for me.
The pandemic thing is probably not helping.
There's nothing particularly urgent going on for me here, I was just interested to see if anyone in the GWJ community had any kind of interesting perspectives on death and aging, particularly as our average age is approaching the point where we should all be thinking about planning LAN parties in the retirement home.
Things I've found reassuring in my little midnight spirals: one of the final scenes from The Good Place talking about the wave (being intentionally vague to prevent spoilers). I've also found Terry Pratchett's BBC series on his struggle with Alzheimer's to be comforting somehow.