Afraid To Die

Afraid to die and afraid to live! Death is an eternal truth. Every living creature who walks this planet has to perish. Some later, some sooner. Most people fear death, only the degree of this fear varies from person to person. Death is such an intriguing concept that we have an entire scientific study dedicated to learning about it viz Thanatology.Thanatology is a scientific discipline that examines death from many perspectives, including physical, ethical, spiritual, medical, sociological, and psychological.

While some fear may be healthy if it makes us more cautious and mindful, excessive and unhealthy fear of dying is crippling. But one thing is for sure – everyone is afraid of dying. No one in their right frame of mind wants to DIE. 

Fair and acceptable.

What about the people who are afraid of LIFE?

Never heard of it? I am sure you have met some, just haven’t identified them as ‘Afraid to Live’ beings!!

These beings are normal people like you and me. They breathe, eat, sleep and function like everyone else. So what sets them apart?  

What qualifies them as ‘afraid to live’ is their Periculophobia i.e. an abject fear of taking any risk! This phobia is understood to be the result of a traumatic experience post failure of a risk-taking attempt. And I am not attempting to belittle it in any way or form. There are genuine cases of people suffering from it and I respect their resolve to deal with it.

What I am instead talking about are the people, who haven’t taken any risks in their lives merely for the fear of unknown consequences they may have to deal with. These are the people who are so afraid of the consequences that they dodge the risk-taking altogether. They are so risk-averse that, let alone taking risks in their lives, they will try to avoid any decision-making et al. You cannot imagine living a meaningful life without taking life-altering decisions. No decision-making or risk-taking= No real life!

A ‘safe’ life is a rote life.

If you were told that you have a free party coming up tonight only for an hour. You have nothing else to do tonight. Would you attend it? Well of course yes, right? What do you have to lose anyway? You will try to make the most out of it since you have nothing to lose. Would you sit down analysing what is good, or bad, or not up to the mark; or what can go wrong or would you just make the most of that limited time and enjoy yourself to the fullest? Most would do the latter. 

It is the same with life – you have limited time; you either make the most of it or you do nothing. Party ends on time whether you enjoy it or not. There is no second chance or extension of this party called LIFE. 

This set of people that I call ‘afraid to live’ is afraid of taking chances in life. They don’t want to take any leap of faith, even for the dream that they so badly want to achieve. Afraid of spreading their wings to fly into the unknown, they never really experience freedom! They don’t experience what free air under the wing feels like.

They are so paralysed by fear that they set ‘safe’ boundaries for themselves. These safe boundaries are nothing but the tried, tested, and rote rules that society has laid down, which they know keep them safe. What they don’t realize is that it keeps them ‘Imprisoned’ too! 

They have dreams too, but fulfilling your dream requires guts to take decisions you have never taken before. It requires you to be prepared for the unknown that you may encounter. It takes courage to pursue what infuses life in you. It requires you to take risks, and take decisions – the outcome of which you don’t know yet, but you still have to have the daredevilry in you. You need not be the stuntman trying to jump from mountains and breathe fire. Have respect for life and care about it. But fear not to the extent of paralysing yourself into not taking any step forward. If you are not willing to step out into the unknown, how will you ever achieve that Dream? Fear Kills Dreams – and you got to realize this before death kills life! 

This time between your birth and your death – this little time is only what you have in your hands. This is what is called life. A third of this ‘party time’ we spend sleeping, another one-third ‘working’, the remaining one-third is all you have – to grow up, to travel, to love, to commute, to dance, to sing, to have a family, and to pursue your dream. Even if you live 80 years, one-third leaves you with just 27 years to do everything you want to do and can do. Are you prepared to live this life in fear?

Would you die in regret of not living a fulfilling life or would you rather take those chances and see where it goes? What do you have to lose anyway? There is no ‘ever-after’ after death? Would you not LIVE before you DIE? It is okay to be Afraid of Death, but not okay to be AFRAID TO LIVE!


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