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Girl, Uninterrupted: No one should be afraid of growing old

Graduating high school and moving on to college has started a whirlwind of questions about life and time that are beginning to consume me. My fear of growing old and becoming an adult is ultimately driven by a fear of death. And for once, I know I am not alone. It is a natural human instinct to fear death and wonder about "the great beyond." Most people are naturally, even subconsciously, afraid of change; and death is the biggest change of all.

A common fear associated with aging is the thought of ‘"losing time.’" However, time cannot realistically be lost because it does not belong to anyone in the first place. It is not understood how this life came to be or why humans were put on Earth, but it is certain that life is an incredible and lucky opportunity. Life is a gift that is not guaranteed, and it is a blessing to be on this planet, to begin with. That being said, no matter how someone uses their time, they are still utilizing this blessing. Time may only be lost when life is lost. Feeling guilty about being ‘"normal" or ‘"lazy" or 'boring" is illogical because there really is no correct way to live. 

It is useless to be afraid of death because no one can cheat the system and avoid it. To waste a precious life by worrying about its end is to misunderstand life as a whole. Every day is a lucky chance and never a guarantee. A person's life could end at any time for any reason, so every moment that it continues should be spent as the person sees fit. For some, it may be a good idea to think about the goal of ending life with no regrets and an overall feeling of fulfillment.  

A major cause of anxiety surrounding the thought of death is the possibility of a lack of existence. Many people believe that after death a person will simply cease to exist and will be nothing, know nothing and feel nothing. However, psychiatrist William Breitbart speculates that death could be a "transformation of one's life or existence." This idea of course refers to the possibility of an afterlife, where the soul vacates the body and simply moves on to a different existence. 

If there is existence after death, then one can assume that this life is only meant to be an experience. It may be that life on Earth is just a long bus ride. At birth, a person gets on the bus and watches all the sights out their window before getting off at the last stop — death. At this stop, another journey begins. Although it is impossible to know whether this explanation is true, the idea of infinite existence will, for some, make the fear of death nothing more than a restless anxiety, or even eagerness.

Continuing to assume that life is meant to be an experience for the soul, it becomes easier to focus on making the best of life. No matter how hard life seems, it is important to realize how beautiful it is. Emotions, autonomy, history, creativity and all other aspects of life are complex experiences unique to humans. Constantly worrying about growing old will ruin life and its numerous opportunities. A person cannot focus on living if all they think about is dying.

Though many people think life and death are entirely separate entities, it seems as though death is the core of life. Ultimately, death is what drives and inspires us; it is exactly what makes life so valuable. If life never ended, then there would be nothing to live for or strive toward, and this existence would be futile. For this reason, people should work toward welcoming death rather than fearing it.

Kenzie Shuman is a freshman studying Journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Kenzie know by emailing her at or messaging her on Instagram @zieshuman. 

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