Since I was a kid, I've been very conscious of death. Conscious of a lot of things actually- body conscious, self conscious, etc, ad nauseum. But I really became aware of life the day I became aware of death. It remember it clearly; I was maybe four or five, in kindergarten at least, crossing the street with my mom. Picture me, a kid with braids and glasses, walking to school when suddenly... I noticed the cars. So many cars, it seemed, all around me and I don't know why it had never occurred to me before that they could hit me and I could die. Actually, I think I do know- before that I had never really thought of myself as a person, a separate organism. I know it seems strange, -surely I knew I was alive- but honestly, I don't think I remember much before that age-don't know if I even remembered my own name really (developmentally lagging, that was me, I think). And you know what they say- "Cogito ergo sum." I think therefore I am. I know I wasn't really present until that moment, and then suddenly I was, just in time for a car to blow by me. And that's when I knew I was real, that I could be hurt. It's a lesson that reverberates with me to this day. So much of the time I try to be a good person (whatever that means), someone loving, someone intelligent. I give myself to people, and I know you're not supposed to ask for anything in return...but sometimes I need something. I need to be appreciated. I need to be touched. I need to feel like I'm doing a god job living this, the one and only life I've been given. I hate that I walk around sometimes thinking that that moment, whatever I happen to be doing, will never come again because how many of us are living in our purpose in every moment? Ordinary life takes up so much time. It's necessary, but sometimes it fills me with regret. It makes me feel like less that I'm not living a super powered life every minute of every day. But I'm not a flame. I'm a candle, and you know what they say about burning a candle at both ends. I don't want this awareness of death to make me depressed (ironic, I know). I just want it to give those moments when inspiration does overpower "real life" even more of an edge. I want to dedicate myself to creating something, if not lasting- after all, writing and art don't always last past their creation or creator- but something, if not lasting, at least beautiful. I want to spend my time with people and things, in places, that acknowledge me and make me happy and make me treasure life the bitter sweetness that underscores it. I don't want to squander it. So I've got to focus- on me and my one life and my story and creating something- leaving my legacy, whatever it may be, behind. There are some people who would call that selfish- who don't want to be part of my story. To them I say, you're not wrong. It's not you; it's me. I am being selfish and I going to stay that way. It's my life after all and I've only got one. I've got to make it count.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.