Re: On death and dying
When you find yourself old, with a few years, maybe a decade left to live, your understanding (both intellectual and emotional) is a lot deeper. Now you know that it can happen any day. By now you have seen people dying, their lives slipping away into oblivion, their bodies rendered to ashes – you know that your turn will come soon. You may have spent days, months, years by the bedside of a cherished person, suffering from a deadly disease, praying to a god you never believed in, for recovery.
The enormity of the concept, the finality, the relentlessness of marching, day by day, toward of oblivion makes it so real that no teenager, or even middle aged person can experience (with a very few exceptions).
You find yourself slowly putting your affairs in order, summarizing your life experiences in your writings, worrying about those you will leave behind. You stop taking issues seriously, issues that made you burn with passion before suddenly start looking silly.
You also start feeling what a precious gift life has been, what a marvelous opportunity it was to live on this planet with all its beauty, truth and love. You will start cherishing every moment in every day with an intensity you never felt before. A sunset, the flight of a bird, the cavorting of a kitten, the smile on the face of your beloved, become glorious reminders of what life is about. When you reach this stage, you are ready, you have finally understood life and made your peace with death.
No teenager or young adult should experience this ahead of their time. They need to live in their present, plan for their future, be passionate about issues, experience the thrill of new discoveries, new truths, find soulmates, have a family, find their place in the world.
Experiencing the ephemeral nature of all that, with the finality of old age, would be a cruel and unusual punishment. They should celebrate their existence in the best way possible: with creativity, with accomplishments, with love. I know I did and I am happy nobody robbed me of it. Not that they could have -- I was irrepressible!