What is the best age to die? Is there a best age to die?

Most of us of course don’t even ask the question. We let fate determine what age we die at. And how we die. And most of us go for the long term, living as long as we can, often despite a gradually diminishing quality of life.

Now, each of us has our own individual perspective on this. Some of us who are my age have given it some thought and many of you who are younger have only fleetingly thought of it, quite understandably so. Why think of death when life is so much ahead of you? Indeed, don’t waste your time on death.

Some of us share easily the cultural norms of our society and of our times, others are more individualistic in our thinking. No one way is better than the other. They are just different. We are different and need to respect our differences. We each have our own circumstances, our own life.

I myself believe there is no one age that is better to die at than another. I have been blessed with a very good life and look in wonder at my good fortune. I have no unfinished business, no ‘must do’ items I need to accomplish, no ‘must see’ places to visit before my life ends. So 65 or 75 or 85 are all equally acceptable to me.

I am also fortunate in having no fear of dying, no anguish over my final passage. There is one thing I do worry about, though and that is the potential anguish my close ones might themselves feel regarding my death. I worry about you folks, about your own predisposition to deal with this, your own cultural and personal beliefs and ways of responding. And that is why I am writing this, offering you my perspective and helping you understand my own decisions, and hopefully deal with your own eventual grieving.

Because there will be grieving of course. That is part of the natural process this is. But consider that this will take place irrespective of whether it is in 5 years time, 10, or 20. It will be the very same.

I have decided to die a natural death [more on this at a later time] and that is why I have forgone chemotherapy. As I discussed in my Prognosis posting, further treatment after my surgery would have upped the odds slightly. I considered that the upping was too little to justify the handicaps of treatment – the potential side effects and attendant emotional turmoil that would follow any dashed hopes upon an ever-possible later recurrence. So I decided on the gentle way, going with the flow of life as is, taking whatever odds come up naturally.

I believe this is a healthier way for me and for my family too. Sorry that I might not think like you do, but those of you who know me well know that I have most often been an adventurous thinker not inclined to tradition or norms. That is just how I am, and I am now an ever older dog unable to handle fancy new tricks 😉

But of course, there is a better age to die than another, cicumstancially-speaking. There are some who will draw out dying unnecessarily long, basically living too long for their own good health, and that of their close ones. Social norms again at play. Sometimes dying earlier is better. That is not an issue with me. My decision does not involve a will to die early, just one to die naturally. If that be earlier, so be it.

So I am quite happy to go at whatever age. I will be living some fascinating end years before then and when time comes; I shall “go gentle into that good night”. I hope you will all accompany me in good spirits! Life is too short to moan about.

With fondness,

Philip

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