Symmetry – Death as a Reflection of Life

Readers familiar with a certain not-so-well-received Metallica album may remember the lyric:

My lifestyle determines my deathstyle

Mortality has been on my mind a lot lately as I home in on my 30th birthday in a couple of months. I’ve escaped death countless times and will undoubtedly do the same in the future until I am no longer adept at dodging it. I’m not thrilled about the idea of death, but I am not delusional enough to believe that I will escape its grasp. So, with that in mind, it is my goal to make death as comforting as possible. However, that lyric – and the teaching of my therapist – remind me that in order to die well, one must live well. Death is a reflection of life and if I continue to live poorly, I will die poorly.

I wrote recently that I expect to be more or less discarded when I expire. I do not treat those around me well and my acquaintances are very transitory in nature as a result. A comforting aspect of death for many is the knowledge that they will be surrounded by friends and family and I realize that unless I become more prosocial toward, and tolerant to, those around me, that the nature of my dying days will be quite solitary. However, I do not believe this realization grants me enough impetus to change. As we will see later in this post, I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to remain as I am with absolutely no drawback at hand.

The physical nature of my death will probably be excruciatingly painful. I do not take care of myself, currently being a heavy smoker and formerly being a heavy drinker with occasional drug use, and I am reckless to boot. My devil may care attitude accelerates my decline. Over the winter, I nearly died in a car accident when I pulled into a busy intersection (where the speed limit was sufficiently high for those who had the right of way) with both of my side windows completely frosted over. I believed that no harm would come to me – a delusion – if I just pulled out without being able to look around. My recklessness and unwillingness to change my poor habits will inevitably cause my demise. The only questions that remain are when and to what severity will my death entail.

I do not change because I feel that I do not have to change. I, admittedly, have narcissistic delusions that keep me believing that my actions will always be without consequence. I am convinced that I can stay on my current course and that only good things will happen even though all the evidence points to a reality in which only bad things are happening, much less will happen. I’m playing Russian roulette.

On the other hand, those that live well, die well. Those that treat their friends and family well will have their support in the inevitable final days to come. Those that treat themselves well may very well still die in a violent fashion, but the odds are lessened. Death is truly a reflection of life in this regard.

Yes, my lifestyle will determine my deathstyle as I alluded to with the inclusion of the lyric at the beginning of this post. I’m on a trajectory in which both life and death are unsatisfying and tragic. However, I cannot seem to change. I am glued to the improbability that I can thread the needle in all respects and come out fine. I want to believe that I can live life as hard, fast, and callously as possible without consequence. Common sense would dictate that I cannot. Narcissistic delusion demands that I must.

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