Years ago, for no reason that I can recall at all, I began having these panic attacks that I would not live to my thirtieth birthday. It was so bad it became like actual palpitations, it was a fear that was inexplicable.

I had not had any experience with a psychic, a fortune teller or any clergy claiming knowledge of the unseen. It just started and grew to the point of taking me over.

The only person I had the courage to mention it to casually said to me,

“It is just a phase, I have been through it as well and really, it is just a yearning of your soul to do more with your life.”

He was a bit flippant in his response and I would have disregarded it but he’d stroke a cord.

Indeed, questions had been resonating in my head as a result of the fear. In trying to deal with my thoughts of death, I had taken steps to look at it logically

I am afraid I will die, soon.

I may die soon-
If I die;
Would I be missed, truly?
Would my absence in the world be felt?
Would it matter that I passed through at all?

I may not die soon-
If I do not;
What will I do so that it will matter that I was here and so I will be missed truly when I am no more?

Death is a veeery tender matter to talk about, much less to carried in your head morning, noon and night.

I had no illusions that I had three scores and ten years signed as tenure on earth. My brother had died before he was thirty, the pain dulls but the tears are not ever far away.

I did not want to be subsumed by this phobia so I sought to find answers to these questions while my hour glass carried on.

What will I do so that it will matter that I was here and so I will be missed truly when I am no more?

It was becoming a bit annoying really, because the more I thought about it, the more I wondered,

“So between the time I was born, weaned, toddled around in my nappy, went to nursery school and then seventeen whole years of going to primary, secondary and tertiary institutions plus X years of being at home due to labour union strikes by university lecturers, I had lived, really approximately twenty three years following a system that I did not choose!”

And here I was, having palpitations about dying before I was thirty. So, in effect I had just a seven year (out of thirty) window to be the decision maker in my life and to ‘make a difference’.

“How in God’s holy name did a whole civilization of humanity end up in this production line?!”

As if this was not maddening enough, I realized, that post-graduation when I should have taken a breather, stepped back and evaluated the worth of the last two decades of my life and peered into the future to create what I want for a change, I packaged and signed myself into another institution.

Aaaaargh!!!! How did that happen? Why did no one tell me? Why was I not cautioned to slow down, look at my options? Why did women who had been there and done that not whisper in my ears-

“Live a little sweetheart, there’s no rush, you have your whole life ahead of you.”

It was a humbling and eye opening period. I realized humans, at least the ones following the production line I went through, were living in a trance, like zombies programmed through a system.

No options, no choices, just passed from one conveyor belt to another….

I evaluated my two decades of education, okay, not a total waste, should have been shorter, packed with more value towards life, living, making a mark on the world and not just getting good grades towards a good job with a fat pay check.

Now, now I saw the opportunity, the opening in the production line to decide whether I wanted to carry on to the end or I was going to abort it and choose which belt to hop on next.

Ah! Light at the end of the tunnel. I have a choice.

What will I do so that it will matter that I was here and so I will be truly missed when I am no more?

At this point, processing all these information, my phobia had taken a back seat. It was not the issue any more, I was on a quest to answer that one question.

In figuring out the answer and living that answer lay my peace of mind.

It didn’t even really matter if I achieved it all before my last breath. But that I sought it, found it and began pursuing it, that’s all that mattered.

From the day of birth to all the years in a ‘system’, hours sleeping, eating, drinking, taking care of personal hygiene, relating, commuting, hanging out on social media, earning a living, falling sick, growing old and infirm, there isn’t that much time left to make a true mark on the world.

What will you do so that it will matter that you were here so that you will be missed when you are no more?

 

Your SoulSister
Wuraola Young

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