This I Believe

Doug - Houston, Texas
Entered on October 27, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: carpe diem, death

I believe in Death. I believe that every man, woman, and child in America will die. And I believe that no one has even the slightest control over when they will die.

In 1989 at age 35, I took my Porsche flying. Because I made a bad split second decision that put my little car in front of a big truck. I could have been very dead due to something that completely disregarded all my years of safe driving.

Since then I am alive… very much alive… more alive than I was before that incident.

At age 40 I abandoned my $80,000 a year job I hated. I had $10,000 in the bank, a car that was paid for, no job, and no responsibilities. I found out that you don’t starve without a job, and what Janis Joplin meant about Freedom. After experimenting with several careers, Life led me to my dream job as a Technical Trainer in the IT world.

At age 50 I flew an airplane for the first time. I chose to do tight turns and stalls rather than the safer scenic tour. A week later I jumped out of an airplane.

I believe most Americans live their lives as if it were possible to not die. They behave as if there is a way to be safe enough that no one dies. They believe it is possible to “save lives”.

Since the 1980’s I have seen America become obsessed with trying to “not die”. I saw the Disney Channel teach kids all across America to be afraid of strangers, even though most children are harmed by people they trust.

In 1990 I saw a report that stated America spends 90% of our health care on procedures performed during the last 48 hours of peoples lives. So if we were to stop spending money in vain attempts to “save lives”, we could provide health care to the alive and living for 10% of what we spend now.

And now Americans are convinced that if we spend enough money we can “save lives” that would be lost to terrorist. So, I ask, if we spend a trillion dollars a year on fighting terror, will no one die?

In recent days I have seen the difference between those people and myself. Some people live with a desire to not die and others live with a desire to… well… live.

I enjoy life more since I took my Porsche flying. I am aware of what is happening right here and now more than I was before. I am aware of what is really important to me; a roof that doesn’t leak, a car that starts every morning, a good computer, and a woman I love. I am aware that I may not be around tomorrow… and that’s ok.