This question popped into my mind a couple of times in the last few months. I have been having a health issue that caused me a whole lot of worry initially and now causes some amount of discomfort and pain.
After crossing forty many people face some or the other health issue, so why did I have to go and delve into my mortality? Well frankly I can’t pin point a single reason, but I did (wrongly) think at some point of time that I might not make it (being a creative person my imagination tends to go to extremes almost all of the time). That aside even after I was told that my health problem was going to resolve itself in due course, I still thought about it a few times.
So what is a decent age to die?
Is it decent to die before your children are grown up and able to cope with having one less parent?
No. Definitely not.
You’ve got to be there for them for a very good amount of time. How much time seems decent? Well I came to the hazy conclusion that if you live until they are married then it should be decent. This brings to mind soppy Hindi film storylines with the ill mother saying that she would like to see her child married before she dies. Whatever. I thought it nevertheless.
What is a socially decent age to die?
When should you die so that people do not point it out and think you’ve died too young? This depends on what the general social perception about it is, and frankly I don’t care much about this one. So let it hang, it doesn’t deserve any deliberation.
What is a good time to die for your own sake?
Now this was a really tough one. On the one hand by the time you are forty you’ve experienced most of what there is to experience in this material world. The spiritual world of course hasn’t even been scratched, and anyways the spiritual world doesn’t really care about whether you are living on earth or a soul freed from its body cage. Coming back to what is a good age to pop-it for your own sake, of course ‘the length of your natural life’ is a no brainer, but what if it were to be cut down unnaturally? Anything past fifty five seemed to be a good time. Your body is giving indications that it’s time to go, and all the material things are just repeating themselves endlessly. So, it will be good to hang on till that age at least, I guess.
Which brings me to a related question. What will I miss when I die? My family and loved ones for sure. Not much else though. Everything else, deep deep down is actually insubstantial. What really matters is the ones you love and who love you.
The question finally turned around on its head and gave me a simple answer.
Something beyond my physical brain said to me, “Sanjeev, make hay while the sun shines. Spend time with those you love and who love you, spread happiness among them, be happy with and for them, do things that make you and them happy, experience the moment to the fullest. And leave the rest to God.”
So make the most of your time and don’t ever think (I’ve stopped) about what a decent age to die is.