Present Tense

We’re all gonna die…

There are times in life, when a corner is turned.  Sometimes, we are completely unconscious of it happening.  We aren’t even aware of that right angle that we just traversed.  Other times, you feel it; you recognize that a little flag of triumph was raised in your conscious or sub-conscious mind to announce your progress.

I’ve turned a corner.  It’s a corner that is the size of a very large racetrack, as it’s taken me a few years to get around it.

I used to be suspicious when life was good.  One of those, “Things are going so well, that I just KNOW it can’t last” kind of people. When life was glorious, I tiptoed around just waiting for the big, old thud of that other shoe as it hit the floor.

Well, that was my corner and it’s behind me.  I’m happy with my life and the dread is gone.  Vanished.  Well, not really vanished; its been a process and I’m so glad that I took the first step on that journey a few years ago.

There isn’t enough time and space here to outline everything that I did to get to this place, but it’s pretty well documented in each and every post on this blog.

What I’ve accepted and even embraced, is the reality that bad stuff happens.  Always.  If our lives are going swimmingly and perfectly, bad stuff will occur.  If our lives are already in the crapper, more bad stuff is in the offing.  That’s just the way it goes.  Might as well accept it and not let it ruin all of the beautiful times that in my experience, FAR outweigh the bad.

I also began to recognize what’s bad and what’s merely inconvenient or annoying.  We tend to categorize fairly minor bumps as bad, when they’re really not.  It’s a matter of degrees.  Begin to honestly categorize things on a scale of 1-10 and you’ll start to see that disasters are often not all that disastrous.

I’ve also learned to look around and see how other people are handling REALLY bad stuff.  Cancer, loss of a child/spouse or parent, a terrible accident, etc.  They keep going; pushing forward knowing it will be behind them at some point if they just keep getting up out of bed every morning.

Look, the truth is, we all die.  That’s it.  All of us.  Every single person reading these words has a finite amount of time.  I guess you could say that the ultimate ‘bad stuff’ that befalls us is death.  Ultimately, that is what we fear the most. It’s our most deep-seated fear and most other fears emanate from it.

We lose everything that is dear to us at some point, so when you accept that premise, the dread dissipates.  For some of you that is unacceptable and I understand that, but I won’t live that way.  Accepting death and impermanence has been very freeing for me.  It has, quite honestly, brought me to a place of joy.

Be well.  Be peaceful.  Accept what is.

August 20, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , ,


  1. I lost my mother about 9 weeks ago very tragically, and unexpected. The lessons learned from her death have brought me fear, dread, and has quite frankly broken a few.relationships that proved to me during this time of tragedy , needed to end. I no longer benefited from giving and being a door mat. I agree that we all learn from these horrible curves you refer to, but most of all i have learned to be present and no dread. It is a waste of time and we all have things and loved ones to cherish. We need to spend oir time wisely and not let guilt, worry or the ever so present dread nest in our hearts. Thanks for this post Jane.

    Comment by suzette | August 20, 2013 | Reply

  2. You really know how to use a limited supply of space. I am sure being stuffed into radio studios when you were first starting out will do that to you. “Nobody gets out alive” I have accepted that and that is for all the people that I love, care about and the ones that I don’t. The great news is that it does not keep me from buying toilet paper and groceries when I am at the store. I still winterize the mower and the boat. Is it really about how you died, or how you lived? I have suffered loss. I know about that, but I also think that experience allowed me to look at death differently. As you know, I am a social worker. I am content that the many lives that we can touch, however we do it, through entertainment or some other venue, is how we will be judged. Thanks J.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd, Ann Arbor, Mi. | August 20, 2013 | Reply

  3. I don’t look forward to death as something to fear or loathe. I just have to be right with God. Once I’ve crossed that threshold I won’t be sick and miserable anymore. I will have a new and glorious being that will never fail me. It’s the death of others that I loathe. That huge part of me that is missing with them can be so head to deal with. You get used to it but, you never get over it and you are right, it makes what you thought was so terrible before insignificant.

    Comment by Mike | August 20, 2013 | Reply

  4. My father died two years ago, a very uncomfortable death. It changed how I view the time I have left (precious) and it brought me to a place where I can almost accept my own eventual demise. Tough lessons….but okay once I was a little past them. It brought me to a more peaceful place.

    Comment by Kelly @Try New Things | August 20, 2013 | Reply

  5. My father died 3 months ago. I too, am turning that corner, but it’s taking me a while to get around it all the way considering that started 2 years ago, LOL. I have had many beautiful times, before and since his death, and luckily I’ve already been aware of those people and places that made those times beautiful. I like this blog though, more so than many, because we really, truly have to embrace every experience, and breath, take it in, acknowledge it and than breath out, and move on, good or bad. Remember it, but not dwell in it. My life is OK, and I’m trying to make it better, but it could be so much worse. I am so happy that my father has been buried at Fort Logan Cemetery, with honor. I go often, and 3 weeks ago his headstone was finally etched and erected with his name, branch, and wars he served. Now I greet him and his marker with anticipation when I go there. I laugh with joy, then I cry, and laugh, then cry, then I tell him stories, and hug him again. If anything is freeing, it’s having a place to go and allowing yourself to do that. If that’s the kind of person you are. I think my life is better than a lot, and could be improved a lot too. I know that. “So what?”. But by listening, and observing, reading, watching, and making things the best I can, I’m happier than most. Thank you Jane for another uplifting and realistic blog. I enjoy them a lot.

    Comment by Theresa | August 21, 2013 | Reply

  6. I am a nurse and I deal with death all the time. When I was only 33 years old, I was a mom with a 7 year old, two 3 year olds, all girls, and I was living in Houston because my husband worked for Mobil Oil there. He became ill with a mysterious disease which we now know is the effect of agent orange, but was not recognized at that time. He died, his mother died that year too; my dad died and shortly thereafter, my mother died as well. I was adopted so I had no one else to rely on. I was alone with three small children. I moved my family to Colorado and started my career as a full time nurse here. That was 30 years ago. My girls are grown and are successful, I have since remarried a wonderful man, and I have learned to live each day as a gift and to enjoy all the parts that it has to offer. I tell my family all the time that I love them because I never want to leave that unsaid. I think that I was supposed to learn and grown from that experience when I was 33. It has made me patient, accepting, forgiving, unafraid of death and a believer in the inevitable. I think that every morning that I wake up, it is going to be a pretty darn good day!

    Comment by Jeanne Major | August 21, 2013 | Reply

  7. Jane, you nailed it with this one. All my life every time I was happy or something great happened, I would have an immediate thought that something bad would happen. I’ve been working very hard the last year to rid myself of this fear because you are right, it just gets in the way of the good things.

    Comment by Heidi Jeter | August 22, 2013 | Reply

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