How My New Diet Helped Me Come to Terms With My Own Mortality

I don’t really want to die. Or at least I didn’t. Then I started this new diet. It’s not that much of a diet, actually. It’s the “don’t just eat whatever you want whenever you want it” diet. But see, I liked eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. Good times. And now I eat mostly what I want, at appropriate times that do not include any time after 7 PM. So it’s not so bad. I am not complaining (much) about it. And I don’t want to die. But I finally understand how, in the future, I could be okay with dying.

It happened the other night. I was looking in the freezer, and I saw the ice cream. I did not eat the ice cream. This is a new me. And, even weirder, I was okay with not eating the ice cream. Part of my new diet is that I have given up dairy. I was always allergic as a kid, but at some point I guess I just gave up on that, or at least started ignoring it. But I thought, hey, new diet anyway, why not give up dairy? So I did. For a while all dairy, including cheese and butter, but those are back in now. Now I just don’t do milk and ice cream and other high-lactose items. And it’s going well. It was not so fun on those hot summer days, but I got used to it. And so I looked into the freezer, this new me, and I was hit by a nostalgia wave.

I thought back to those days in high school when friends who worked at Ben & Jerry’s would bring dozens of pints around. I thought back to my college days when dinner was a pint of Ben & Jerry’s bought on points from the student union. I thought about creemees and birthday parties and fairs and post-concert milkshakes, I thought about my very first job at Dairy Queen, and I realized that I have eaten a lot of ice cream in my time. I have probably eaten a whole lifetime’s worth of ice cream in less than half (I hope…) a life. And it struck me that I was extraordinary blessed to have had such good times with ice cream. And it also settled into my soul, this idea that I had had enough.

Yes, I would probably be fine eating more ice cream. But if I never do again, it will be okay. I have had my ice cream. If I was standing near you and you weren’t looking, I may have had your ice cream too. We had a good run, and if that was it, it would be okay. What a fantastic feeling! Enough! In this world of more, enough can feel like a revelation. And if I could feel that way about something as amazing as ice cream, well, why couldn’t I feel that way, eventually, about bigger things? Like, maybe even…everything?

I don’t want to die. I have a lot of living and giving left to do. But someday, I will die. It seems unavoidable at this point. And when I do, I have hope that my life will have been enough. I have confidence that, as I begin to shuffle off this mortal coil, I will be able to look back on what I have done and be satisfied. From this point on, every bite of ice cream I take (come on, you know there will be a few) will be a gift. And every moment of life will be like ice cream. And though I haven’t had my fill quite yet, just the idea that I could have my fill is astoundingly comforting. And for now, it’s enough.

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Posted in Death, Ice Cream, Life.

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