I frequently find myself taking an established, popular aphorism and mangling it just a tad in order to see if anyone is paying attention.
As a way of quick introduction, this is a screen shot of something I posted on my Facebook wall last night.
Yesterday marked the ten-year anniversary of that fateful day I almost ate it for good. This blog would never have existed.
But let’s not use that as the sole criteria for the justification of my current existence.
Five years ago I posted a full detailed accounting of that day.
Still I wonder if that near-death experience affected me. Sometimes I think it has, but I don’t have a direct linking correlation that tells me so. It’s very easy to ascribe everything to such a monumental life experience; a little too easy. I’ve noted many personal changes and evolution that I’ve experienced in the accident’s aftermath, but then I am left wondering if these changes would have happened regardless. Perhaps I would have straightened out my act on my own.
Or would my lifestyle have eventually killed me? If I had not been involved in this accident on July 11, 2005, would I have been involved in something far graver on August 11, 2005, or December 1, 2005, or May 23, 2006? I was unhinged and rapidly spiraling out of control in 2005. Perhaps the accident “snapped” me out of it and halted the downward progression, and maybe a small kernel of hope and optimism sprung within me, thus surreptitiously affecting how I perceived life, how I would now choose to treat it.
I suspect there may be a tendency on the part of many people who have survived a life-threatening experience to thus begin a delicate slide into a fantasyland of self-perceived invincibility. I suspect this is how the original aphorism of “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” originated. Someone had the sense that since they “defeated” death, they were now superhuman. But this is idiocy, and we all know it.
My interpolation of this saying, though a tad fatalistic (would you expect anything less of me?), comes closer to the biting truth.
Yes, I “overcame” death once, but I’m not fooling myself.
Death can be warded off, but he never strays far.
In fact, Death is you.