Eternity

Eternity.

It can be a place so big that you can get lost, going crazy trying to come to terms with the vastness of it all.

Alternatively, it can be so small that you couldn’t ever escape. A small box of nothing.

Each the prefect prison.

I’ve been in a funk all week because of my friend Eternity.

My brain moves at speeds incalculable. Some of my friends would tell you otherwise, and would most probably liken my brain to a plodding donkey. I’m not saying that a fast-moving brain is better than a slow moving one. Not at all. I’m just saying that I think about a lot of things very quickly.

This gets me into no end of trouble.

Like most people, I get a bout of anxiety once in a while. Imagine, though, when it hits, rather than being frozen in panic, or thinking of a single thing, a whole series of possibilities enters your head almost simultaneously.

Let me explain…

For some reason, I started wondering what it would feel like to die. Not the painful part, but the consciousness part.

Everyone has their own theories about life and death. Some believe in an afterlife. Others believe in reincarnation.

My beliefs are closer to the latter camp than the former. And so, I wondered how it would feel if I were to die

 

  • When one dies, does their consciousness instantly flash back into being in another body?
  • Do you float in nothingness?
  • Are you privy to the secrets of the universe?
  • Would you even know you had died if you were reborn?

 

And so on.

From this point my mind wandered onto accomplishments and regrets. This can be a sensitive subject for anyone.

Some people are very goal-oriented. Others wait for things to happen to them to help them define who they are.

I am in between.

I have several goals that I want to accomplish. At the same time, I like to make sure I go with the flow, exploring new avenues that may not have presented themseves if I stuck to the plan.

And this is where the panic set in.

I began to wonder if perhaps my beliefs may have been mistaken. That maybe I wouldn’t get a chance to come back, and that this life is all I will get. This flew in the face of everything that I believe in.

My heart began to race, and breathing became hard to do.

A small voice in my mind chastised me for feeling weak and vulnerable, knowing that this feeling would pass. Of course, that didn’t stop the more dominant voice echoing in my head, begging me to provide concrete proof that I was was not failing in life, all the while shouting obscenities because it felt as if it were drowning.

Tendrils of desperate thoughts launched in all directions, trying to find a hold to prevent me from sinking deep into a place that even I am afraid of. My wife, my friends, my future child. All of these things danced out of my reach, my grasp falling short.

And throughout it all loomed Eternity. Looking amused. Looking smug.

The immediate feelings lasted for about ten or fifteen minutes.

Eventually I regained my composure, breathing normally once more.

But the lingering effects lasted for days, tainting my mood.

My mind was filled with questions, mostly about myself. Sometimes those questions are easy to deal with. But the ones that are only answered when you finally move on from this life are the ones that can drive you crazy.

Eventually, Eternity and I arrived at a stalemate. Neither party was willing to give ground to the other. I spoke to some close friends about what was bothering me, and it helped a lot. It made me relax a little.

Unfortunately, the lion’s share of work to exorcise this strangelhold that Eternity had on my mind was mine alone.

Last night, as I was shovelling a friend’s driveway, I realized that there are no answers. And that it’s okay to worry about the end.

But letting these worries stop you from living is what real death is.

Some friends told me that these thoughts were a result of a big life change heading my way. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. I’m far too happily excited by what’s happening in the next little while to make that sort of connection between fatherhood and something as negative as possibly living a pointless life.

How can life be pointless when I am on the cusp of fulfilling one of my only goals?

And so, as I finished piling the snow next to the walk, I made a promise to keep doing what I’m doing. To keep helping out, and being a friend, and all of the stuff that most people consider dated and cheezy. I wouldn’t question myself, or put myself down for too many things. I would maintain my confidence in my abilities and be a good person.

I felt Eternity glare at me, surprised at this turn of events.

Well, Eternity can kiss my brown ass.

I’ve got work to do, and I won’t stop until I say that I’m done.

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