It seems that every news story I saw last week, every friend I talked to, almost every blog I read reminded me- no hit me in the face with this- that we are mortal. We, as all mammals, come into this world and start dying the moment we draw our first breath.
That is a concept that most people don't want to think about. You mean babies start dying from the moment they are born?
Yes. Cells start sloughing off and die. The only way to escape this is to be a single celled organism that reproduces by division that way. For if you belong to any species that reproduces by sex- you start dying the minute you are born.
Take the following news events this week-
1. Big news if you live in the US and are a baseball fan. Derek Jeter broke the Yankees all time career hitting record- that was previously held by Lou Gerhig. Fans over the age of- well, 40? 50? were happy and sad. If a record had to fall, why one by one of the most beloved baseball stars of the last century? It's as a friend of mine said- "Soon all he (Gerhig) will be known for is a black and white movie and a disease".
2. Larry Gelbart passed away at the age of 81. Gelbart was the genius who brought M*A*S*H to television. My youth and teenage years were absorbed by this show- it was the entire family's favorite. My father still loves watching re-runs on TV when he accidently finds them while channel surfing.
3 The world's oldest person died at the age of 115. Wow. I cannot even picture myself at 50, let alone, double that. That is a celebration of a life, not a death. Think about seeing three centuries- New Year's Eve's go by! Think of seeing electricity, horses replaced with cars, man landing on the moon- that is a celebration of a life.
4. The world's oldest dog died in Manhattan at the very old age of 147- doggie years, and 21 in human years. And Larry, if you are reading this, she was a doxie. Maybe all those Sabrett and Coney Island dirty water dogs, added to her longevity.
5. Two people I know had to send their dog and cat to the Rainbow Bridge.
6. "King of the Hill', Mike Judge's brilliant TV show and razor sharp views of American family life, went off the air last night after a 13 year run. No more Bobby and Hank Hill! (Sniff)
7. And lastly The Beatles:Rock Band came out, and i realize, even though I was first into Paul and Wings- then the Beatles; I was alive when John Lennon died. Now i know the Beatles won't be reuniting, with both John and George Harrison gone.
I think about my friends children- little boys between 3 and 6, and it's a sharp contrast. Full of life, playing, doing all the things small children do, some of it to the consternation of their parents. I was once a little girl, sitting on the floor with story books and dollies, thinking about how cool it will be to be a grown up. To do grown up things, like drive and be a mom. And now I wonder, what is it like when you are grown up, and you cannot drive anymore? What is it like to be 40 or 50 and not recognize the current bands? What is it going to be like to be a parent- and hopefully, a grandparent?
It's 3 am in the morning. I wasn't planning on writing this. I just cannot sleep. But,even with these musings, I feel blessed that such things were in the world, and I was alive to experience and know them. Socrates once said "The unexamined life isn't worth living". All I know, as i stifle a yawn, I am glad I have experienced these things, but- i don't think in all honesty, I would want to live to be 115, in human years, or even 147 in doggie years. If I wake up on December 22, 2012 and am still alive, that will be enough.