Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Further details emerge on my impending doom

Consciousness is knowing you're alive. Sentience is knowing you will die.

Over the past four years I've begun to think more frequently about my death which is, I imagine, part and parcel of growing up. But I realized today that I've only thought about my death in the abstract, "I'm 21 - I'm almost dead," kind of way. It wasn't until this afternoon that I spent some time wondering seriously about the end of my life. This is the stuff self-fulfilling prophesies are made of!

My paternal grandfather lost nearly all of his cognitive powers with age. I have been reminded on numerous occasions of the similarities between he and me. Aside from looking identical at age 7, we share many personal and mental traits, according to my father. I am told to have inherited both his great potential and his propensity to waste said potential. My maternal grandmother on the other hand is frighteningly lucid and shows no sign of slowing down. The family fears she will outlive us all. (My maternal grandfather died when my mother was young and my paternal grandmother died when I was young. My paternal grandfather is also dead.) I am nothing like my grandmother. It therefor seems likelier than not that I will lose my mind when I get old. If in my crazy old age I am only able to remember people and events from my youth, I wonder what time frame that will encompass. For all I know, my life right now will be all I can remember in sixty years. I'm trying to decide if that thought makes me self-conscious.

I usually think of "older me" as another person, but for some reason I don't think of the many "older mes" as a group of other people. What I mean is, I think of me at thirty as another person, and me at forty as another person still. I can, when I so choose, feel the gaze of a singular "future me," judging my current actions, but I cannot evoke the sensation of a group of "future mes" judging my behavior collectively. This, despite my birthday mind game.

Assuming I remand lucid, I do wonder how large a component of my identity age will become. I feel that much of my ego for the past 21 years has been predicated upon youth. I have defined myself in terms of being a "young person." As that bedrock slowly slips from under my personality, I find it's replacement (maturity) to be alarmingly absent. For this reason I think that Old Scott, if his wits are about him, will relish in the appropriation of age to support his identity. To "be old" will probably be my favorite part of being old.

Truth be told, I can't wait to be old. It's the "getting old" part I'm not so hot on. But the "being old" looks like a hoot. Any excuse to shit my pants...

Life is so much prelude to death.