Saturday, May 8, 2010

Life is Free Fall

My son who will turn 36 this month called me and told me he thought he was entering "his mid life crisis" and described what it was like. He said he thought of a good analogy for it. He said when you are little being born is like falling out of a plane without a parachute and at first all the fluffy little clouds seem wonderful and life seems okay. However, sooner or later about halfway down you start to look at the ground and you fully realize that one day you are going to hit the ground and that is what people's mid life crisis is. Because when you are a teenage boy for example, often you think you are immortal and can never die because you feel just so strong and alive. But by your mid thirties, so many relatives and friends have either died or are incapacitated in one way or another that you start to sense your mortality. So mid life crisis no matter what anyone tells you otherwise is simply the realization for sure that you are going to die sooner or later no matter what you do.

I told my son that I entered my mid life crisis when my Dad died when I was 37 and didn't really fully come out of it until I was 50. I finally came out of it after almost dying for about 1 year with a heart virus. All my doctors didn't expect me to live so I prepared for death for 7 months until they finally were able to figure out what was wrong with me through the process of elimination and told me my heart had healed itself up and that I could live a long time. I found that I was so grateful for each and every day of life and because I had fully accepted death as a part of my life that just being grateful for every day of life was my focus always and never death again.

If I was still in my mid life crisis, for example, I could not write the way I do at my blog. Only because I have accepted death could I write the way I do. I write to share the highest truths I can before I die. I could not be this altruistic publicly unless this were true. Until I almost died I never publicly wrote anything.

My son was grateful to have someone listen to his analogy. And I remember just how impossible to deal with my own mid life crisis was. When my father died it ruined my life when I was 37. So as I moved towards divorce because of my father's death I had a panic attack at age 44 in my sleep in the middle of the night. I didn't know what a panic attack was so I assumed I was dying. My wife at that point didn't care if I lived or died and so just laughed at me because I couldn't talk or move my arms or legs properly. She said, "You're just faking this." And put me down. So I crawled out of bed since I couldn't walk or talk and crawled over the floor to the bathtub. Calming myself down before I died in a warm bath seemed like the thing to do at that moment. So I crawled into the bathtub and put the water on and waited to die because I couldn't talk or walk. I could only breathe and barely crawl. Finally, my (ex-wife now) called my step-son, her son, and since he was a fireman and EMT(emergency medical Technician) explained my symptoms to him. He said I should probably go to the hospital to find out what was wrong. So eventually an hour or two later my wife drove me. They explained that I hadn't had a heart attack but that likely it was a severe panic attack. Later I tried to find a heart specialist but at that time I didn't have medical insurance and none would see me without health insurance. It wasn't until I was 59 that I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism which likely was the primary cause physiologically for that panic attack and which made me more susceptible to a heart virus. Anyway, by some miracle I survived all that but my marriage didn't.(I remarried and had another daughter when I was 46 so my life started getting better by 50). This was my mid life crisis. But I have been fine (relatively) since I was about 50 and I'm now 62 as of a few weeks ago.

So, life is free fall. Accepting death is the best way to survive life long term. Learn to enjoy and be grateful for each and every day. Once you accept death it stops being something to be terrified of and you can go back to being a Hero to yourself and others once again.

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