Attention Whoring, Death

Please Don’t Defend Me

It makes sense that death has been on my mind. I haven’t seen sunlight for more than 2 hours at a time in over a week and two of the people I hang out with most are over 90. God, their lives seem depressing to me.

They can barely see, can barely hear, can barely walk, and need to take naps all the time. PLUS they don’t have the internet! What kind of hell do they live in?

Death is the most frightening concept to me because I will stop being able to control the attention I’m getting. Death is like publishing something that you have no ability to defend or discuss afterward. People are going to interpret your life however they want without you getting to say: “No wait, you didn’t get it! That was supposed to be that way!”

What being around death has taught me though is that old age is gonna suck too. My grandmother died when I was 12 after a long battle with the most hilarious disease in the world – Alzheimer’s. It was the grandma that I am with now who told me she was dead. She comforted me. Now she is forgetting the thing she just told me and asking me to read pictures that she thinks are words, and once again, it is very funny.

In Swedish the word for fun and funny are the same so sometimes someone well ask me: “Well, is it funny being in New York?”

On her 90th birthday party I sat next to her best friend from middle school. This woman can’t hear anything and speaks no English. Our conversation consisted of her telling me something, me telling her my name, her telling me something, and me asking if she needed help, and her telling me something. I’m sure it was interesting, but at the time it was very dull. Old people have lots of stories, and I’m already very good at making stories out of my life, imagine how interesting I’m going to be when I’m old. By “interesting I’m going to be,” I mean “little I’m going to let others talk.”

I worry though that I won’t have that same fervor for speaking when I am that old, and that scares me. A flight of stairs may disable my grandmother for a day, and fervor takes energy. If I don’t have energy, will I be able to care that much about making people care about me?

I don’t want to get old. I don’t want to die. I wanna live forever with a lot of energy. Now I understand why people work out.

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