Facing my own mortality!
I’m 71 years old now. Seven decades plus. Not that old I tell myself. But, I put that in perspective owing to the fact that my older brother died in 1992 at the age of only 51. It was a very sobering time for me even though I was only 45 at the time. Now, some 26 years later, I sometimes find myself contemplating my own mortality.
My brother’s death in 1992 was sort of a turning point in my life. It was my first brush with mortality of someone that I loved. Even though he was 6 years older than me and not a jw, (so of course I wasn’t allowed to be too close to him per my jw conscience) he was someone that I looked up to because he was a very wise person. (No doubt the reason he never took to the “troof”.) At that time, I was semi convinced that I would see him again in the “resurrection”. It was a semi comforting feeling but not that “all out” conviction that I was expecting to have as a life-long jw. The 1995 major change in the “this generation” doctrine, basically caused me to become PIMO until about 2010 when I became basically POMO.
The tormenting years during which cognitive dissonance ripped me apart (as I’m sure it did to most of us here on this site) forced me to think about my own mortality. The ‘pie in the sky’, ‘pipe dream’ of living forever was gone and reality got real. At first it was so gut wrenching that I contemplated suicide more than a few times. I checked myself into a mental health facility for a few weeks because I couldn’t handle the reality of the “troof” not being the TRUTH. It was like having that ‘funny’ feeling that your mate is being unfaithful to you but not knowing and not being courageous enough to broach the subject with her/him. Then one day you walk in and there she/he is in bed, going at it with another person. Absolutely devastating!
Enough rambling. Now that I KNOW that I will someday pass away, I do wonder if there is something on the ‘other side’. I do think about how I have lived my life. But mostly, I live every day and try to make life worth living. Since I woke up, I have found so many things in life enjoyable that I once regarded as a futile pursuit.
How are you dealing with the thought of your mortality?
The problem with the “other side” is no communication back to this side , so we keep flying blind not knowing if their is a pearly gate. At least I’m grateful I didn’t give WT any more of my life and I know from the bottom of my heart that none of WT corps representatives will be judging me from heaven. Relaxes my friend everyone has regrets , learning to be at peace with oneself is the pinnacle of of life.
Any living thing gets old and dies. This is how nature works and had worked for Billions of Years.
Religions try to create faulty and Anti-Natural hopes like after life, reincarnation, resurrection and all other non-senses.
We had all realized the truth now and should accept what nature has to offer. Cant worry about things we cant change. This is how I am coping, after having realized Mortality.
Don't waste life dying. Many have died disillusioned with what the Org presented as a realizable hope..Death is just everlasting peace... without any bills!
It's a difficult thing to come to grips with ones own mortality all at once rather than doing it gradually over ones lifetime. Most young people typically have a built in sense of invincibility and immortality as it is but for those of us who grew up as JW's, this was doubly so because according to our indoctrination, it was an absolute given that we'd never grow old and die.
For a good number of my adult years starting at around 40, I was the in grip of seemingly random and unexplainable panic and anxiety attacks. I had a great wife and kids, a good job, nice home and no debt but something was very wrong. This problem went on for years despite medications, therapy and counseling and it didn't stop happening until about a week or two after I stopped going to meetings.
Looking back I realize that my subconscious knew that my hope of never growing old and living forever, was a false one. Attending meetings and the constant inculcation of those hopes using reason and logic that no longer made sense to me, caused a terrible internal conflict. Outwardly I was acting as if my hopes were still real to me but inwardly I knew it was a hoax. My ongoing problem with panic and anxiety didn't cease until I admitted this to myself.
Now and then, in the wee hours of the morning those old anxious feeling creep in but I've learned to nip them in the bud by reminding myself of and repeating to myself, the following.
- The idea or notion of living forever was one that was planted in my mind by others.
- Wanting to live forever might be a matter of short sighted human greed (more isn't necessarily better)
- Everyone who has ever lived has eventually died, it would be narcissistic of me to think that my life is so special, that it should go on for all eternity.
- Living for all eternity might be an absolute nightmare after the first 1000 years (or maybe even sooner)
- Everyone who is alive, no matter how young they are, is getting older.
- Everyone who is alive , no matter how young they are, can also be "not alive".
- I had my turn to be young and now it's someone elses turn.
- I am grateful to have made it this far.
- I will show the younger ones coming up behind me how old age is done.
- I will be as positive and as pleasant and as uncomplaining as I can possibly be.
- I will face old age and death with the same courage, style and dignity that I've shown in my life thus far.
- If there is a God and if he indeed has good things in store for mankind, there's no reason that I too won't be a part of it.
- I will not waste time and energy worrying about something that I have no control over rather I will focus on doing things today that will make my future as good as possible.
Anyway, doing this seems to do the trick for me. It keeps me focused on what I "want" , rather than what I "don't want". I usually end up falling asleep before I've even finished repeating the above Mantra.
- The idea or notion of living forever was one that was planted in my mind by others.
For everybody getting up there regardless of their religion, facing our mortality is something we have to deal with. For those who have left the JW religion, there is an uncertainty of what there will be “after”.
When I began my fade in ‘01, the first thing I did was rid my mind of the JW paradise earth teaching because I felt it was an unhealthy trick to play on my mind. I had no problem and I suppose I never entirely bought it.
I was raised Catholic and I really think nobody knows for sure what will happen. I am aware of my mortality because of recent health scares. Yes, everybody dies and I cannot believe how time has flown as I look back over my life...My parents are gone and all the older relatives except for two. I have my two siblings and I’m the oldest.
I have no regrets about leaving the JW religion..Even after 9/11, I was not deterred and did not go running back. I only felt sad at one point about broken dreams but I got over that..What I was taught by the JWs was a mirage. Even the “friendships” weren’t real. I reconnected with relatives back in ‘01 before it was too late (priceless). Since then I have hooked up with old friends and even some childhood friends and school mates on Facebook. I just make the best of each day.
good post following will read through later thank-you
Realizing that from your infancy you are taught that you will not grow old and die is one of the biggest lies perpetuated by the Watchtower Company. When I realized that I was getting old and I was going was going to die it threw me into depression for several months. The "pagans" that went to church knew that they have to die to get their heavenly reward.
It makes me angry when I think about all of the lies that I was taught by the Borg. I have no idea how all of the overlappers can still believe in this nonsense. My grandmother believed that she would not die and she did. My mother believed she would not die and she did, When my grandmother died I thought well my mother should be OK and not die because the generation that saw 1914 was getting up there in age. Then the new light. "Not so fast buddy, the generation that Jesus talked about was an overlapping generation that can last as long as 140 years in length."
The overlappers now believe this at the same time thinking the end is just around the corner and let's throw in they think they will not grow old and die.
Good post. Something I struggle with.
I think Pete Zahut makes a good point I hadn't thought about before:
It's a difficult thing to come to grips with ones own mortality all at once rather than doing it gradually over ones lifetime
The constant suppression of our mortality over the years due to our false hope of not having to face it is no doubt not healthy psychologically and makes it that much harder when reality bites!
How a person views death is often related to how they view living. I try not to think about dying, but focus on living, having a purpose each day, being nice to people, etc. We were stripped of our own free will for so long. Now it’s time to do what makes us happy!