03-11-14 Dear Diary, I think it must have been 1972 when I believed I received a revelation of sorts about when I would die. I told everyone close to me that I would not die before April 7, 2041. Thereafter, for several years, on each April 7th, I gave gifts to my friends in honor of my Deathday, as opposed to receiving birthday gifts. I lived every day with a secret assurance that I had a charmed existence.
Looking back now, it seems that I really did, even to the point that I'm still too embarrassed to fully admit. From time to time, I'd give someone a gift, and tell them, "Happy Deathday!" Naturally, they'd always ask, and I'd always tell them I was counting down to 2041. Of course, they all--even my brothers--would just humor me, probably thinking it was a harmless quirk.
It was last year sometime, that my memory of the revelation pushed to the surface, and I remembered that the actual original date was April 7, 2014, but I thought I'd rather live to 86, so I swapped the digits to make 2014 into 2041. I have only told a few people this so far, and they still humor me.
But, forty-plus years have passed, and April 7th, 2014 will happen in 27 days.
As it happens, it may be a good time to shuffle off this mortal coil. I have reached the pinnacle of my career, achieved the level of musical ability I had hoped to, done every extraordinary thing that interests me, discovered my own spirituality and found what I believe lies behind the veil. My body is as healthy as I could expect, I make enough money to satisfy all my desires, as well as provide for others. Apparently, I can choose to quit work any day I feel like it, and my retirement income will sustain my current lifestyle for the rest of my life. From here on, I have no higher aspiration than to cruise in my happiness for as long as it lasts.
I think I'm comfortable now about dying, being no longer concerned that my sinful existence might condemn me to eternal damnation.
Although I hesitantly think I'm ready to see what's next--if anything--I still hesitate to think about it. Interesting. I know from experience with my dying mother that our bodies are built to resist death to our last breath, but what I feel about death is nervousness, not really fear.
Anyway, since April 7, 2014 is after all, merely the date before which I won't die, all it really means is that every day after the 7th will be like everybody else's every day. The slightest misstep could kill me. I think I've spent every day since my revelation in learning how to avoid missteps. If the charm vanishes that has protected me all these years, then I hope I have learned my lessons well.

At least, until I get tired of cruising.

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Comment by Gilfur Ashardi on March 31, 2014 at 10:04pm
With a week left to go, I've decided to use the date as a turning point to clean up my life. I feel a lot of resistance in writing this down, but what a great day it would be to eliminate the behaviors that make me less than I am. I often tell people that the only real sin is in being less than you can be.
I'm inclined to believe that I really could live to 2041, if I start living at my optimum starting next Monday. It won't be easy to quit my bad habits, but the World is already arranging coincidences around me as reminders and guides toward right behavior. It is a certainty that as I turn my focus more fully upon the clues and serendipities that show me my best path, my goal will have already been reached. I already know that directing my attention to the blessings that surround me causes them to rain even more upon me.
I love my life!
Comment by Gilfur Ashardi on April 13, 2014 at 11:38am
I spent my Deathday in self-examination by reading all my journals from the early '70s to now. It was an odd day, and its reverberations continue to rock my boat.
Comment by Gilfur Ashardi on April 14, 2014 at 9:51pm
I'm getting closer to writing about what I've learned from my intense introspection, but not yet. I do believe that we humans are all wired the same way in some underlying basic sense, so I'd like to state here what I've learned about life. Even if no one else gains anything from it, the act of writing about it in this venue, knowing that someone else could read it, ensures a level of focus and clarity that I might not otherwise achieve. My thoughts in the past week have been somewhat unsettled, but a coherent theory of success in life is showing some beginnings. I look forward to it.
Comment by Gilfur Ashardi on April 23, 2014 at 8:25pm
What I discovered as a result of my last Deathday is, of course, based on my own experience. To put it plainly, and quoting an old adage, "a leopard cannot change its spots." I used to object to this notion, partly because I desperately wanted to change my spots, or even wash them clean off. I insisted that I could be a different person if I just tried hard enough. But, this is not the case.

Despite over 40 years of concentrated effort, extensive study, prolonged behavior modification techniques and many, many counseling sessions, the best I could achieve was improvement in how I interact with people and my environment. Even though I am certainly much better at being who I am--in fact, very successful--I am still basically me, with the same tendencies toward the same weaknesses.

At first, this left me a little depressed, because if we cannot become better human beings, then what's the point of all this? But the fact remains that I am more confident, more graceful and less likely to intrude on the lives of my fellow humans. So, the point is really not to change our essential selves, but instead to improve our lives and the lives of those around us through the best expression of the qualities that make us who we are.

This seems self-evident to me, now, and it may be to you too, but the answer wasn't so clear to me before. I believe that the hurt I inflicted on others in the past, and the collateral damage I left behind me in my journey was probably the direct result of trying to change my inner being, instead of trying to simply BE the best way that I knew how.

For a very long, long time, I was convinced of the notion "fake it 'til you make it." In other words, if I could create new habits of behavior, they would eventually become ingrained and thereby change my nature. However, I only succeeded in creating a costume that I wore to masquerade as the person I thought I should be. I actually wrote a previous blog about this, but I somehow missed the connection.

It's funny how I keep coming back to the same perspective, over and over, each time with a better grasp of what it truly means. I suspect the same is true for all of us. So, I will repeat what I said in a previous blog, this time with greater conviction and understanding:


It's not only the best way to experience this life, it's also the best way to be successful at expressing our true identities.


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