Mark Twain

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Monday, April 15, 2019

M - Mortality

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

M is for Mortality

I read on Facebook
'Humans are the only creatures on earth
 that are aware of their own mortality.'

If this was on Facebook it must be true.  

Don't know if that statement is correct - lots of discussion on other websites when I googled that comment.

Mortality can be a difficult subject no matter how you approach it.

I believe for the young, the idea of mortality is a distant theory-like idea, unlikely to occur anytime soon, if ever!!  It is sort of a 'maybe,' but surely not tomorrow or the next day!

It is only when you are older - maybe retired - that you start to think about how much of a life you have left ahead of you.  I am 72.  That is not a mid-life age number no matter how you work it!  Another 28 years would put me at 100,  but I don't feel strongly about reaching 100.  If I could see age 90 - another 18-20 years - that would be nice.  Trying to determine how much longer you've got is really a silly exercise.  Tomorrow is not promised to anyone - not even someone who is 19 years old.

Of course that doesn't stop me from speculating about it.  I was ponding my mortality one afternoon while I was out for a walk ... and what things around me would still be there when I am not!  Ok, stupid thought really.  Once I settled on the fact that EVERYTHING would still be here after me - I had to laugh.  I am the only object in this present moment with the shortest expiration date. Ha!  Note - I said 'object.'

None of this examination of my mortality included people around me - just me outlasting stuff -  duh - stuff doesn't die!! You just have to visit an museum to know that some stuff hangs around for centuries.  Weird thoughts and where the heck to they come from.  Then it occurred to me ... isn't it possible that the idea of my own mortality is something I still 'dance around' even at the advanced age of 72.  Is one's own mortality so difficult to fully and completely accept that you just can't imagine the world without you in it?

Things changed a bit when my grand child was born, and I started thinking about the milestones of her life against my own life expectancy.  Would I be alive to see her graduate from high school, get a driver's license, her first boy friend, marriage?  I never examined those questions in regards to my own children - I was young enough to say - "Well, of course, I will be around for all that."   Remember one's own death is only a theory in the mind of a young person.  But now ...  how many milestones could I expect to see for my grand daughter at my current age of 72?

I became a grandmother late in life. I'll miss a few of her life events, I know.  I won't say those 'misses' didn't plague me a bit - but in considering my own mortality in the number of birthdays left verses her growing up into the cutest little person ever - being present every day makes the most sense to me.

In fact this actual examination of my own mortality against the milestones of my grand daughter's life gave me some peace of mind on this topic.  How lucky I am - I was here for her birth, I saw my son become a fabulous father, I saw her first Christmas, her first birthday, her first steps, her first words, her gorgeous smile!!

I feel like every single day of her life that I witness is precious and important!
The question of mortality?? 
Just not that important!

I can live the rest of my days 
comfortably with the thought!


Leigh said...

It certainly does seem that our thoughts on mortality change as we get older. I've thought that in part, it depends on what I identify as "Me." Physical body? Soul? Spirit? Even so, the photo and following paragraphs are the perfect ending on this topic.

Seeking Serenity said...

I thought that "72" was a typo a few posts back because you look 50!
For the first time I am now feeling like each visit with my mom is now important...
I am happy for you that you have new things to bring you joy after the loss of your mom

Lael said...

I love this so much <3

My daughter in law is flying my mother in law out for a visit and said something in a FB post about "Great Grandma". Even though I know I'm Grandma, just seeing my very own mum in law with her "Great" title gave me a start. I'm the Grandma of the equation...ME! I wonder how she feels when she sees that she's "Great"? It's all so weird to me, ha ha My mind just cannot take it all in. I'm starting to think it never will but eh...that's ok.

Your girl... <3 <3 <3 Swoon!

Marie Smith said...

I so agree. Grandchildren put everything in perspective!

Arlee Bird said...

This does hit home for me. The perspective of nearing the end of the line is something I consider almost daily. Never thought much about this before age 50 or so, but now it's becoming more of a reality. It might be nice to eliminate the uncertainty of when the end will come, but would I live my life much differently than I do now?

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

John Holton said...

You may not see all of the significant moments in your granddaughter's life, but you've already seen many of them. And you're right, mortality is something we'll all have to face, but we don't have to brood over it.

Jemima Pett said...

It's an interesting debate over whether other animals know about mortality. Maybe they do and just don't worry about it. They certainly understand death, and they also grieve. So I have no idea why the 'concept of mortality' is an issue, any more than any other concepts. How do we know?

I think it's just a hangover from the time when we were 'morally responsible for using everything on earth to our own advantage, because it was God's will to put us in domination over everything'.

But as you say, if it's on Facebook... :D

Enjoying the A to Z visits, and yours is excellent.


netablogs said...

She really is a little doll! I often think about aging, now that I am in the later middle years. How has this happened? ;) I still feel so much younger than I am. Maybe we all feel that way.

Retired Knitter said...

Seeking Serenity, thank you for the lovely comment on my picture appearing younger than age 72. Actually the picture is of a younger me - I think it was taken when I was 68 - not 50, though! I am blessed with young genetics from my dad's side. He always appeared younger, and my non-gray hair was a gift from my maternal grandmother who didn't really turn gray until was was in her 80s. I don't have a recent picture of me for the blog - I assure you, I look much closer to 72 than 50! But thanks - you made my day!!