16 November 2008

I Shall Wear the Bottoms of My Trousers Rolled

As you may have noticed in my last few posts, I am beginning to come to grips with my mortality. This is especially true because the news of my high cholesterol came as I was fighting the tail end of a vicious cold. The next week, my foot swelled up for no apparent reason, causing me quite a bit of pain for a few days. In a word, I felt like I was falling apart.

Considering my mortality has been a difficult thing for me, for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is that, in many ways, I still feel like a child. I like riding in the folded-down backseat of a station wagon at night while someone else drives and I go to sleep. I like ice cream. I like having as little responsibility as possible. I am surrounded by wondrous things, and I like not knowing how they all work (because as soon as the knowledge comes, the wonder dissipates).

Children, however, do not need to worry about cholesterol or cardiovascular disease. When children stub a toe or bruise a knee, they do not need a week to recover enough to go up and down the stairs without grunting. Most children seem not to get sickness that lasts for much longer than a weekend, and very few of them continue to hack and cough for the next month.

Secondly, I have always felt reasonably healthy. You know, like the kind of healthy that doesn't need angioplasty or a Rascal scooter. It is, therefore, disappointing to learn that my poor lifestyle choices have had negative consequences. Who knew that a lifetime of eating fats, carbs, and other delicious things could have such negative consequences? (Answer: me, but I didn't really know-know until the doctor told me I could die from doing this.)

Thirdly, I find that the idea of death bothers me. Not because I fear death, but because I would be leaving behind the woman I love and a large family of brothers, sisters, and parents who would presumably mourn my passing. It hurts to think that they might be in emotional pain and I would not be in any position to provide them with comfort -- or, indeed, with anything other than stiffness, decay and possibly diseases, at that point.

For all these reasons, I have been thinking a lot about my mortality and how I should act in light of it. And, of course, these lines from Dylan Thomas came to mind:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

So here is what I have done today in an effort to rage against the dying of the light:

1.) Listened to rock instead of classical while cutting coupons this afternoon
2.) Felt my foot beginning to swell up again and determined that I would give it a reason to swell up, so went to the gym
3.) Lifted weights entirely too much while at the gym, despite my knowledge that my whole chest will be throbbing all day tomorrow as a result
4.) Stacked the pillows differently while making my bed
5.) Wore my slippers out of the house
6.) Pushed my Toyota Camry's 4-cylinder engine up past 3,000 RPMs while getting on the highway (normally, I don't like taking it up much past 2,500)
7.) Choreographed an especially daring "chair dance" to do tomorrow, in case my foot becomes too swollen up to go for a run
8.) Didn't wear a belt with my jeans tonight

How is that for daring to disturb the universe? (Or at least daring to eat a peach?)


lanes said...

Way to seize the carpe!

MagenRanae said...

heh...you're too cute.

DP said...

Grace and I were still laughing on the way to church yesterday about the #1 in that list.