So I was talking to a friend the other day who also had a heart attack, and we were talking about what we were afraid of or not afraid of and I said,
"The biggest fear I have is missing out on what is going to happen next. I want to know how the world changes."
My friend didn't have that reaction at all. He wanted to enjoy life--which I get. Both of us agreed that we hadn't been as afraid while the heart attacks were actually happening as we thought we'd be.
But afterwards, I thought about my answer and realized it was true. Finding out stuff really is the reason I'd like to stick around, and one of the reasons I know it's true is because it was the same thing that kept me going when I was deeply depressed in my twenties. (I enjoy my life right now, I love my wife and kids and house and business and writing and everything--but what motivates me is finding out things.)
For most of a decade, I had few friends--in fact, little interactions with others at all--which just made me weirder and weirder the longer it went along. The pills in some ways flattened things ever more. I operated and reacted to things not emotionally, but intellectually, in my head.
But I had my TV and movies and books--and I paid attention to current affairs. And that was weirdly fulfilling. Pathetic maybe, but I found satisfaction even in the darkest times.
Yes, depression does seem to flatten everything--and yet, my curiosity was still strong. When you have as deep of depression and anxiety as I had, ending your life might seem like an answer. But I don't think I ever really considered it. Not even at the worse.
Because I wanted to know what would happen next.
I don't know about the validity of the Myers and Briggs test or the Enneogram, but whether scientifically sound or not, they certainly seemed to nail my personality. INTJ and a Five, respectively. I'm a loner who loves to gather facts. Loves to learn new things. Strives to find context in everything, looks ahead for dangers and tries to plan accordingly. Not impressed by popularity or brands. Goes my own way, no matter what anyone else says.
As I get older in the time of Covid, and as I consider my mortality, it's the idea that I'm going to miss all the advancements and drama of the future that bugs me. (I'm optimistic, perhaps.) I have Linda and my writing and all the good things in my life right now, and I love them, but I assume that will continue.
It's finding out what happens next that motivates me to try to stay healthy and live a little longer--knowing, of course, that all the information and context will one day blink out.
And that's OK. I won't be around to regret it.