We talked about it a bit at book group on Thursday night, though the central focus was, of course, on books, and the central anguish in all of our reader's hearts that we can't get everything read before we die. No matter HOW long we live. One woman said it was a comforting thought: that books will never end, that there will ALWAYS be something that she still wants to read, but most of us were horrified and almost angry at the idea that we would never be able to finish all the books out there that are waiting for us to read them.
If I ONLY read the books on my wish lists, I could manage it, assuming I don't die in the next 4-ish years, and assuming I read as many books in each of those years that I did this year (which is doubtful, though possible, I suppose), though assuming that I won't re-read any books that I already have is really pushing the boundaries of believability. And it would also be assuming that I wouldn't be adding anything new to the list which is laughable, since authors won't stop writing good stuff that I want to read just so I can achieve my goal of reading everying on my list...and I wouldn't want them to, besides.
But I can't really grasp the concept that I won't live forever. It's not that I think I'm immortal; that would be foolish, plus the evidence is so damningly to the contrary, alas. But the idea that I'll just STOP someday is impossible to hold on to; my slippery brain slithers around it and dances away with its hands over its ears, chanting LA LA LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!*
(I'll just pause here for a moment while the vision of my brain with its hands over its ears, SINGING, comes to life in your minds. Got it? No? Yeah, I know, it made my brain hurt too for a moment. Moving on!)
The idea that I won't know what HAPPENED, the end of the story, the end of ALL the stories of the people and things I care about, is unconscionable. That this collection of facts and emotions and memories and feelings and idiosyncracies and habits and anecdotes and experiences and education that makes up ME won't just continue, ad infinitum, world without end, forever amen, is just too bizarre a concept to be real.
Some people say that they wouldn't WANT to live forever, but I don't believe them. I think what they mean is that they wouldn't want to live forever in an elderly, non-functioning, depleted body, perhaps senile or crippled or ill. But who wouldn't want to continue as they are, if they are healthy and fit and full of enjoyment in life? Why would you want to stop, then? Why would we ever want to stop?
So, we just keep going, in the hopes that we can enjoy as much of it as possible before our time is up, that we can learn more and read more and love more and treat each day as if it were our best, not our last; not agonizing too much over the fact that some day, hopefully far, far in the future, it will be.
Funny Punny Surely Sunny Birthday Wishes to somebodystrange!
*Title from a quote by Brian Kessler