Life

We are all going to die

…and maybe that’s okay.

With the heightened anxiety and panic around COViD-19, there is an overload of information on how to keep healthy, how to flatten the curve, how to self-isolate and basically, how to reduce the spread of the virus. Events have been cancelled. Even though originally it was about large groups of people in a confined space, people have panicked and cancelled smaller events too. There are calls to lock down everything. Borders have been closed. Travel has ceased. People are being told to shut themselves indoors. It appears life is on hold.

I cannot help but wonder – is this our way of trying to control our death? We human beings think that somehow, we can control our eventual fate. Death is the only certainty for us all. And yet, we will go through any measures to prevent it, delay it, avoid it. The reality is, we are all going to die. If not COViD, then because we are ruining the environment or else some other disease. What is it that makes us think we are so special that we are beyond extinction? That somehow, dinosaurs could get extinct, but we apparently cannot.

The very nature of our existence is based on chance. The very fact that we are here today is fortunate. What were the odds for instance, that your parents met the time they did? Or that their parents met and conceived them? Or the generation before that? Or that a particular sperm and egg met to create the DNA that finally formed into you? So yes, each and every one of us is fortunate to be here. Through pure dumb luck. Nothing more. Nothing less. And yet, when confronted with our mortality, we somehow think we don’t deserve to die. That we are special.

It’s the fear of death that results in us falling for scams to prolong our lives. Cleansing your inner organs. Stop eating eggs. Or meat. Even using essential oils. But to what extent? We are still going to die. We fear death so much that for some people, even talking about it is taboo. As if somehow speaking about death will make it happen. Death anxiety is a thing. There is enough research about it. And the only way to treat it is exposure. As in, talking about death. But also, learning how to make the most of life while you live it. Embracing it – the good and the bad – while knowing you are not meant to be here forever. Adding meaning to life. Adding purpose.

In this time of living in fear, I can’t help but think we are not living. We are succumbing to fear and avoiding life. We are creating divides and blaming and shaming. Though in all honesty, we were doing that before the virus. And maybe, just maybe we need to be made extinct. To give the planet a chance. To learn that we are not anything special.

Maybe Thanos had a point when he snapped his fingers to wipe out half the universe. Maybe we need something that wipes us all out. To teach us we aren’t invincible after all.

***

Note: I have family in the high-risk category for COViD-19 & I work with vulnerable populations. We’ve taken measures at work & are not seeing our clients. I’m not anxious about catching it myself – I may get it, I may not. I might succumb to it, I might not. But if I do, I am grateful for all I’ve had. Sure, there’s so much more I could’ve done and explored especially with music, books, relationships, and the world, but if I’ve learnt anything it’s that nothing lasts forever. Death of loved ones will always be painful and will leave a gaping hole. We can take precautions and make most of life but we cannot control everything. And we certainly cannot control the inevitable – death. Also, this article expresses my not-so-coherent arguments in a much better way! 

Featured image: Pexels

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  • Vanessa
    17 March 2020 at 9:17 pm

    I am honestly not sure how I feel about it all. I wobbled today for the first time. Apparently visibly as someone who was there noticed and followed up to see if I was ok. I am, but I did go take a break for my sake.
    Vanessa recently posted…Four Things I’d Like Humans To Stop DoingMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      17 March 2020 at 9:32 pm

      Oh no, that really sucks! I still can’t believe you have to go in to work and not work from home. I still think people need to be given a choice re what they want to do – work from home or the office. I’m glad you did take a break. I really hope you feel better soon. Also, I’m not sure how this post has come across – I think generally I’ve been feeling we are fucking up the planet and not giving a shit about that but all of a sudden when it’s a virus hitting us, it’s a big deal – so maybe we should just be made extinct! I still don’t mean for it to sound completely insensitive though!

  • Natasha Sinha
    17 March 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Fees like our doomsday, an apocalypse.

    I’m looking at the silver lining amidst this dark, dear cloud.

    https://natashamusing.com/2020/03/love-in-the-times-of-corona-wordlesswednesday-wednesdaywisdom-yeahwritenonfiction/

    Take care, Sanch. Much love <3
    Natasha Sinha recently posted…Love in the times of Corona: #WordlessWednesday #WednesdayWisdom #YeahWriteNonFictionMy Profile

  • Margaret
    19 March 2020 at 1:37 pm

    Accepting our vulnerability would be a good start. For me, social distancing and hand washing are more about trying not to spread any germs I might have acquired myself. You have some interesting links. I’ll have to come back and read more later.
    Margaret recently posted…Democracy in ActionMy Profile

  • Jen Mierisch
    19 March 2020 at 3:20 pm

    I like this thoughtful piece (and the linked article). We’re definitely all going to die, but I for one am not in any hurry! I’ll take the hand sanitizer, thank you. (ha!) I wondered recently if we (humans) have become too divorced from nature. We live in concrete jungles, get all our food from stores, and live entire lives on the internet, so maybe this pandemic is a reminder not to take our biological origins for granted.

  • asha
    20 March 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I get the frustration here. I really do. And the nihilism.

    My own worry is less for myself (though I’m susceptible via a number of factors) and more a concern about being a carrier and infecting others. You’re right that human beings aren’t so special, and yet we are. In ways that so many animal species have not been able to conceive of their own existence as a species, haven’t developed a consciousness of their own position in the world, human beings have. We exercise greater control over that too — the fact that we haven’t chosen to do that well is another matter.

    I’m also grappling with who exactly we snap our fingers and eliminate. Thanos indiscriminately eliminated half the population, but I’m not okay with that. This virus has the potential to eliminate significant numbers of people, but the people most vulnerable, most susceptible will be those who have existing co-morbidities, those who can’t access health care, and those who are on the front lines (medical staff). I don’t feel equipped to make the moral judgement that we can all just live without those people. As a species we’re not special, but we are. There’s great beauty in humanity (or there can be). There’s art and music and literature and architecture and maths and science. There’s wonder and curiosity and unbound generosity. There’s also cruelty and greed and self-centredness. Thanos and this virus don’t discriminate, they don’t distinguish between those who contribute positively and those who work in their own self-interest. I guess I’m just not ready to allow for a world with a significantly reduced population, but still the same inequities.
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