I was walking in a fog but through the fog I could see people jogging, dieting and loading up on health-store formulas, to hopefully extend their lives as long as possible. I shook my head.
Then I saw other people drinking and smoking and taking life risking chances as though they were impatient to shuffle off this mortal coil. I thought, people are a puzzle and also very funny.
The fog became thicker but I kept walking forward. There was an owl hooting in the distance.
Then the fog cleared and I was in a huge room with a gigantic clock on the wall.
The time on the clock was 11 PM, I knew it must be PM because it was pitch black outside. Then a fella popped out of nowhere and he was trying to hold back the second hand on the clock, but he failed. Time marches forward!
Out of the mist a long bench appeared with 12 black-robed men sitting behind the bench. They were all faceless!
I was sitting below the huge bench looking up at these judges. Then one spoke:
“You are accused of NOT conforming to the rules of Aging. We are here to interrogate you.”
I shivered in the damp mist.
“Of course at the end of Aging is Death, what is your view?” said another judge.
“I have a mature view on death. Mortality is universal, everyone dies, personally, me too, it’s inevitable, final and irreversible.”
The judge nodded his head
“Do you hear voices in your head?” said another judge.
“Yes, a voice in a dark corner of my mind says:
“I will die.”
My death is a certainty, only the timing is uncertain.
The 12 judges looked at each other with their faceless heads, knowing that what I said also applies to them.
“Do you think it’s a chaotic world?” said two judges in unison.
“Yes, I do. But many people need their illusions such as religion, myth and ideology to establish a meaningful world in their minds. When in fact it is a chaotic world and many people deny their limitations.
There was a hush in the room and the faceless judges were squirming in their seats. One judge spoke up angrily: “So how do you propose people should face up to aging and eventual death?”
All of a sudden the same chap that tried to stop the huge clock’s second hand before, jumped up for another go, but he failed.
I thought, I must convince these faceless judges that I know what I’m talking about and I am being falsely accused.
I took a deep breath and said:
“Many people have personal perspectives on aging and dying. They have seen family and friends go from health to illness and from illness to death. We all should realize we are living under a suspended sentence of death that could come at some unknown time in the future. So, there is some facing up to do.”
Some of the judges got up from their chairs and started pacing up and down behind the bench. I began to wonder if these black-robed creatures were “Death’s Disciples!” There was a chill in the air.
“Well, lets see, how do people face up to aging and death? Many people go into Denial. They say, “No, Not Me! I can’t be getting old and dying.”
These people feel numb and paralyzed.
Then after denial usually comes Anger. Facts must be faced and resentment sets in, “It’s Not Fair!”
Then some people think they can make a Deal with fate. “Please hold off the aging and dying UNTIL some event or goal is accomplished.” It’s a sort of rekindling of hope.”
“What next?” the judges yelled.
“Hope fades and Depression sets in, this is a difficult time. And finally there is Acceptance. The struggle is over and the inevitable is accepted and they live their remaining life the best they can.
“Is there an upside to all of this?” said the faceless creatures.
“Yes there is, with the prospect of NON-BEING comes the motivation to live the remainder of life fully.
The judges were mumbling among themselves. There was much commotion going on.
I blurted out: “ Aging and dying are part of living and living is part of dying. It’s a paradox.”
The faceless ones were really squirming now.
“So, if you’re so smart, what is the process in the last chapter of life?” said the head faceless creature.
The fog was starting to reform.
I thought, if I can get through this, I will have them beat!
“The situation process of aging and dying starts with Restricted Activity. This means you can do less.
Then comes Limited Energy. You have to conserve your strength.
Physical Downturn comes next with aches and pains.
Then comes Disempowerment and Incompetency. People aren’t persuaded by you anymore and they think you can’t do anything right.
Becoming Ineffective is next. You can’t meet challenges anymore.
Then there is Anxiety about Time. I have a short future so I can’t do all the things I wanted to.
Loss is the feeling of loosing all that is important to you.
Disengagement is next. You are content to let the world go by and withdraw from interactions and responsibilities.
Then comes Brain Flaws. Mental functioning slows. The world seems to be slipping away.”
The black-robed faceless judges started disappearing into the reforming fog.
“And finally we come to The Story Telling. We make up stories to integrate the aging and dying into our whole life. There is a need to put everything in perspective. People are concerned with finding or creating a story that summarizes the meaning of their life. This job is carried out in the most difficult of circumstances. This job has to be done before the ultimate separation of the person from the world.
It all boils down to:
Living One Day At A Time And Enjoying The Day As Much As Possible.”
The owl stopped hooting and the 12 faceless judges were gone!
The clock struck 12 and the fog was getting thicker!
I woke up in a cold sweat!
Remind me to read Freud’s Dream Theory.
Also published on Medium.