Fear Of Not Being
Good days come at a cost. I wake up in the middle of the night, wanting some water and then bam, my mind starts to wonder. And I inevitably get to the point, how else, where I think how many more days like the one that has just passed will I have the luck of living.
Do you know what this is? It’s fear. I can smell it from a mile away.
And do you know why this happens? Because I am old. How do I know this? Well, Mircea Eliade said it better in Oceanography: aging comes with the fear of dying. Something with acknowledging what you have that you only get when you are old and wisdomous and not in the tumult of youth.
The fear of not being is in the little things.
For example today. Today was messy and loud and anecdotal. Today the dog was agitated and there were too many glasses on the table. Today I had palinca (traditional Romanian strong alcoholic drink) three times, watermelon and grilled meat, washed a lot of dishes and listened to the stories of Aunt Tița. I tried to sleep, got woken up by a message, and just as I am writing, a mosquito decided to turn into me a late dinner. Today wasn’t perfect.
But then, I wake up in the middle of the night when everyone sleeps, even the dog, and I ask myself: how many more of these days do I have left in stock?
So you see, it’s not really about dying, it’s about not being.
Not watching the dog running in circles, not inappropriately drinking palinca in the middle of the day, not being able to listen to the stories and not being annoyed at Alin’s snoring.
When I was in seventh grade I had an obsession. I was trying to imagine Nothing. Literally the Nothing. I used to do it in class when a professor would read something to us. The professor would disappear, then his book, then my classmates, one by one the Nothing would swallow everything — my school, my friends, my home. I had some trouble imagining my parents disappearing but then again, the class was too boring so what choice would I have than to continue this ridiculous exercise? My parents would go too, then my summers and all those places I was yet to discover, my future.
The biggest problem, however, I would have when the Nothing would have to swallow me. That would be the time when not just my physical being would stop existing, but the mere thought of it, that very exercise. And if that would go, how else would I still be able to continue imagining? See my problem there? At that point, I would get all freaked and start listening to the teacher again.
Now, I realize that it wasn’t the absurdity of the exercise that scared me. It was the fear of losing all the memories of all the things dear to me.
And it’s not the pain of not remembering or not having, as if I’d have some sort of dementia. I don’t think there is such a thing as the pain of not remembering. When you don’t know, you don’t know you don’t know, you know?
It’s the pain of witnessing something and then stop being there to grasp it, to share its beauty. For who are we but vehicles for all the shattered beauty of this world?