I don’t know when I became aware of my own mortality. I can’t really put my finger on it. Was it when I was a teenager, lying in bed late at night, dreaming and concocting stories in my head about the future, the way all kids do.. stories that didn’t really have an end. They were open ended dreams that were vague and hazy in their conclusion. I couldn’t really dream beyond a certain point of time. Not that I thought I would be dead by then or anything so grim, but more like the exciting part of life would be over. Or perhaps it was just that I exhausted the limits of my imagination. How young I was. Big dreams, elaborate stories, detailed to the minutest. If one day it was a dream of a house and a man, the next it was of a career of fame and fortune. Each story so detailed and so real. It felt like I could reach out and touch it. But never did I plan for anything but the infinte. A dream and then.. well then nothing. My mind couldn’t make my dream or story jump beyond a certain point.
But somewhere along the way when the dream and the reality began merging I stopped dreaming and probably started living. The occasional story flashed into my head some nights but most nights the reality was better than any dream and it felt disloyal and selfish to want more.
Life passed by and very surreptitiously the end entered my consciousness. When and how things changed I really can’t pinpoint, but change it did and the seeds of thought on my mortality crept into my mind, and with that the dreams became finite. It has to end, that’s about the only sure thing in this journey, the end is a certainty. Maybe it happened because I lost a parent or maybe when I became a parent. Awareness of my mortality not in a ghoulish way but in a way that makes your life come alive.
I know now that there are all these unanswered questions that I have for my mom that I didn’t ask, and I know that there are some moments in my child’s life that I will never see. But I also know now that most of those questions don’t matter, and what matters is the life we lead together. With my children too, the length of time spent together won’t matter as much as the way that life was lead.
Knowing and accepting it’s going to end is what has made everything more bright, colourful and delicious for me. Something to savour and cherish, much like the feeling you get when you dig your spoon into your favourite dessert. It has to end but the joy and satisfaction you feel while eating it, is what makes the moment unique.
This might sound totally crazy I know, but now that I can savour my own mortality, my smile has gotten wider and my world a whole lot brighter.