As far back as I can remember, at least for my entire adulthood, I have been very "matter of fact" about death. It happens to every one of us. Face it, we have 100% mortality rate. A friend of mine that I respect greatly likes to remind people that your birth certificate came with an expiration date, you just don't know what it is. A long time ago, I decided it was nothing to concern myself with since I couldn't change it. Many of my friends thought I was "a bit off" but seeing people be so afraid of death was appalling to me. I didn't want to be them, so I simply chose not to be. I read a quote a long time ago attributed to Genghis Khan: "I had no place to hide from thunder, so, I am not afraid of it anymore." I liked that and it continues to influence me to this day.
A bit later in life I decided I wanted a good death. That could mean something different to different people. For a Spartan it might have meant being defeated on the field of battle by an overwhelming opponent, while making him suffer as well. And I have to admit, the romantic in me says that would be a pretty cool fucking way to go. Hoards of barbarians storming the walls, making your final stand. At least it would make a good book. Now in essence, what I mean by a good death, is one I experience. I do not want to go in my sleep. Dying is something we are likely to only do once. I don't want to sleep through it. I don't want to miss it for any reason. If I only get one chance to experience it, I want to actually experience it.
Now to the interesting part.... Recently, I have seen an article or three about what our mind does when we die. It didnt sound like mad science. When we experience something new, our brain instantly searches its memory banks for a similar experience so it can apply a reaction that will likely lead to self preservation. We see that happen very frequently as a normal part of life. When the brain cant find something similar it expands its search in our memory banks to find anything that might be useful. People who say they saw their entire life play out before their eyes in a near death encounter recollect this often. Science has shown that everything we have ever done is stored in there. Now the newer things I read just happened to be news feeds that popped up on bookface or the random stories that show up on my news app on my phone, but they all seemed to drop in the last few weeks. What they showed was that when the brain activity flatlined, showing that the cortex ceased functioning, that the hippocampus activity went off the charts. The hippocampus controls memories. This led scientists to believe that when the brain was experiencing death (certainly a new activity) memories came flooding into the mind to find a way to stop it. One of the reports mentioned that the activity in the hippocampus was 30 TIMES greater than ever recorded during consciousness. This lasted for up to a minute after death. Nothing sounds ridiculous to my ears with this theory.
So now I'm looking at, sure we all have to die. I hope it's doing something cool, but I really want to know when it's happening. And when it does, I may spend a moment with a vivid, filmed in technicolor, replay of all of my memories laid out in front of me like a giant panoramic view of my life. Doesn't really sound like a reason to be afraid at all. Being that I'm nearly 40 (pay attention to that number, it'll be important in a minute) there are a LOT of memories that are now hazy and faded. Ones that I try daily to recall in greater detail. Mostly of my grandparents when I was a child. For my last act on earth to be recalling those in rich detail seems like a swell way to go. Almost like a gift from the Force, or God or whomever one happens to believe in.
Now, this kinda shit runs through my head at random times throughout my entire life. Sometimes I feel like my mind works like a woman with the remote to the TV, constantly flipping from one thing to the next. So this channel gets tuned in randomly just like everything else. But why did I choose to jot it down? Well ever since I was in grade school I had this eerie premonition that I would die when I'm 40. Not "before I turn forty" not "In my forties" but during the time that I was 40 years old. Now, if it turns out to be true, whatever, it's not like I can or will be doing anything about it. But in 2 months if this blog suddenly stops cause I bite the dust, at least you'll know where my head was on the subject. Is there an afterlife? Hell I don't know, and I'm not going to worry about that either. But if so, hey, I'll get to be with loved ones that I miss. But if there isn't, it still seems like I'm going to get to spend a little more quality time with my Pap before I become maggot food. So all in all, I still cant find a reason to fear the inevitable, there might even be an upside to it.
BTW, If I make it to 41, I'll be sure to make an "I made it!" blog.
And as usual, come on over to facebook if you want to chat. Or swing by my youtube channel, as there is a few new ones in the works. Dont forget podcasts with That Libertarian Guy. And there is still a chance to vote on Decide the Fate of the Beard contest.
Next time, I'll fill you all in on my really cool Yule celebration.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
I was in the woods for a few days. Went out on opening day with the eldest Daughter. Saw one buck but had a really good day. We put about 8-9 miles in some really cool historic spots. A little chilly, but overall a great time.
Spent yesterday in a new spot with the younger daughter. Fresh snow on the ground was great for tracking. We put in about 15 miles. 6 of which weren't really planned on. She was awesome and never complained once, even after her feet got wet (and cold). We literally stepped out of the woods, 4 miles from our rendezvous, at the very last sliver of light.
Now, the guys we went hunting with were a bit concerned, but the two of us and our hunting buddy, Nate, weren't concerned at all. I don't take a full blown bugout bag when I go hunting, but a small assault pack from Grey Ghost Gear always goes along. Not only was I confident that we'd be back in civilization promptly, I wasn't really concerned if some weird shit went down and we'd need to hangout in the woods for a night. I've spent a night or two in the woods with much less gear. But having a bag full of essentials was beyond comforting. I know that Mindset is drastically more important than Skills, Tactics, and Gear. But, what I've noticed, is that when a person has confidence in their gear, when they have practiced their skills, and when they have tried their tactics, you just cant help from having a great mindset. I always thought of those 4 things in a linear fashion, but they really do affect each other, they are quite intertwined.
Speaking of gear and mindset, I was inspired by some of my gear. Ok, maybe not inspired but "impressed" just doesn't have the same level of importance. I want to rave about a bit of gear. I am convinced that the now discontinued OTB Bootisatn is the worlds best cold weather/ hunting/ mountaineering style boot. New Balance really fucked that up. They bought a great company and then promptly stopped making those products. They didn't even do it to kill the competition since NB doesn't even make military boots. At any rate, I ditched the ortholite footbeds and dropped in some Powerstep Protech Orthotics in there as I have been battling plantar fasciitis for a decade and these work as well as my $600 prescription orthotics. Inside that I wore issue Navy Ski Socks. They are plain heavy wool socks. I could walk till I drop in this combination and never have a foot issue. I just cant stress highly enough how important quality footwear is.
At any rate, the bugout video is a work in progress, the Every Day Carry video has been live for awhile. The first podcast with That Libertarian Guy is up and were recording #2 later today. Feel free to vote in the fate of the beard contest. And check in on facebook if you want to sound off about something.