Today while sitting at a stop light on the way to a tutoring session, I was gripped by the reality of my impending death. I was mindlessly listening to an interview on NPR. Incidentally, it was a repeat of an interview I had heard the morning before. A few stop lights back, I had wondered if NPR replayed interviews. This was an interview with a candidate for governor who was waxing and waning on about his view of the issues. As he remarked how in 150 years, some issue would or wouldn’t be on the minds of people, I had a palatable sense that I was going to die one day. I became very uncomfortable and filled with dread.
It’s not like death had not crossed my mind before. For some reason, I felt the pull of it very clearly. Well…not the pull of death so much as the stark realization that death was coming one day. I felt slightly claustrophobic and alone at that moment. I then thought that my life was somewhat insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I’m a regular person with an outsize imagination, but regular nonetheless. For some reason, I thought of The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and his death. He was known, loved, and revered by many. After his death, many mourned, but life went on. Other famous figures crossed my mind, and I thought the same thing. The light changed to green and then I thought that death was just that a thought. I had students to instruct and appointments to make. I entered into the intersection and made a left turn.