I Am Going To Die

Trust not the humble writer. Every one of us craves immortality. Every one of us harbors a special fear and hatred of dying, both for its finality and its solitude. A writer wants to continue to live among others, many others, and that may only be accomplished through his work.
— Roger Rosenblatt

Humble Endings

What scares me the most, almost more than death itself, is the idea of regretting my life.

It's hard to imagine existing on the verge of death. But I see it. I feel a smile as I lose consciousness, see everything flash in rainbow, converge in white, see the planet Earth shrinking, a pale blue dot, myself a fading shadow in a well-lit world. Maybe I'm afraid, but I've learned to love it like a friend.

This post is about what I want. This post is about untangling what's important to me – truth, the mind, the natural world, love – from what's not. This post is about seeing death down a yellow country road like a farmhouse, a heat mirage; me rolling in dirt and dust and sunlight all the way down. The knowledge of death is there, so is the fear. But it's easier to choose how to live, long as I know what's waiting for me.

Me topping out Air Wolf. A moment I'll never forget. Photo by Nathaniel Davison.

What I Need

This blog post is not meant to be morbid. The more I read, the more I learn from those figureheads of knowledge who've somehow figured it out, the more I understand that acknowledging death is the first step to living a whole life. It puts everything in perspective. Since I won't be here very long, why not pursue the things I want?

This blog post is a list. That's all. Just a list of what I want. Realistic goals that I think are attainable. I want to make the list public as a way to hold myself accountable. As a way to be held accountable.

So here it is, uncategorized and incomplete:

  • I want to write every day.
  • I want to rock climb for the rest of my life.
  • I want to be part of the rock climbing community for the rest of my life.
  • I want to read as many books as I possibly can.
  • I want to build an audience that I can influence in a positive way.
  • I want to create meaningful work, always.
  • I want to be healthy.
  • I want to skydive.
  • I want to travel to at least thirty different countries.
  • I want to visit my distant relatives on Tristan da Cunha.
  • I want to visit the pyramids of Egypt.
  • I want to learn as much about history as possible.
  • I want to generate an income that allows me not to worry about an income.
  • I want to write at least one book.
  • I want to learn jiu jitsu.
  • I want to minimize procrastination and master discipline.
  • I want to learn from psychedelic experiences.
  • I want to gain control over my ego.
  • I want to be present in the lives of my family members.
  • I want to share my life with someone.
  • I want someone else to share her life with me.
  • After I figure out my own self, I want to help others do the same.

At this point, this list is more about the what than the how. I know that if I at least write down what I want, then the how will flow naturally.

Or, it won't. Successfully achieving every bullet point on this list relies upon making a choice to pursue it. But now that this list exists in the world, patient and raw, what choice do I have?

The Source of The List

I got the idea for creating my list from an article called How To Invest In Yourself, written by Jon Westenberg on Medium.com. He suggests writing out 100 things you want to achieve in life. Nothing grandiose; things you can actually accomplish. I threw my list of 22 bullet points together quickly, and I plan on finishing it soon. But I just needed to start.

Check out Westenberg's article for more on the subject. And, shit, why not try it yourself?