How do you deal with the fear of dying?

This answer is one of the reasons why I follow the topic Big Philosophical Question in Quora :") Touching, encouraging, giving me back the sense to why we had been born in the first place and that there's something to make out of it.

Answer by Kai Peter Chang:

I too, find myself contemplating my mortality from time to time.

I cope by flipping it around into something a bit more optimistic. Perhaps this will work for you. 🙂

Consider this: In a harsh and unforgiving universe, your very existence represents an unbroken line of ancestors, ALL of whom survived to sexual maturity, found a mate, had a child, and raised him/her to maturity – all the way back into antiquity.

You are their heir.

In your DNA lies the genes of survivors, survivors who have experienced human-caused mayhem, and those wrought by the elements. They have witnessed and endured the horrors of war, pestilence, plagues and natural disasters.

Not only did they endure them, they successfully birthed children amidst that chaos.

This is no small accomplishment, and your life is a goddamn miracle.

Most living things fail to pass along their DNA. You represent an unbroken line of those who have succeeded.

What matters is what you make of your life right now. Purpose is what we make of it – things that resonate real and whole and true to your core.

Personally, I find my own mortality motivating, not depressing.

It's a trope in fantasy or science fiction where humans coexist alongside immortal/long-lived races (Elves in Lord of the Rings, the Asari from Mass Effect, etc.), that the long-lived races marvel at how much humans accomplish in their comparably-short lifespans.

To those with centuries to burn, any given year (or decade) can be wasted with little consequence. And so the long-lived and immortal do just that.

We humans don't have that luxury.

When the occasion arises where I speak to a group (a conference, discuss forum, whatever), I like to conclude with a seemingly-easy question: "Without looking it up or using a calculator, how many days do you think an average human in a modern society lives?"

Audience members futz around, offer guesses, but rarely does anyone every get it right.

The answer?

Take your own guess before scrolling down.

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30,000 days.

That's it.

I continue:

"Since we are here right now, as adults, roughly 10,000 of those days are already gone.

Spent. Irretrievably.

Likewise, your final 10,000 days will be likely be in diminished capacity –  physically or mentally enfeebled … or both."

As adults, we are in that middle 10,000 days at our prime, right now. What we do, when our strength is at its zenith, is what defines us.

Finding meaning through self-absorbed pursuits (accumulating money beyond living expenses, social status, luxury possessions, Quora upvotes, Facebook 'likes' etc) is futile and dissatisfying.

Narcissists fear death with great dread, and rightly so, for death is the great equalizer that obliterates everything they strive for.

Attempt to join their ranks, and you will know their dread firsthand. I'd advise against it.

Instead – find meaning through service to your fellow humans.

Are you literate? Volunteer to teach a recent immigrant to read English. Are you employed? Anonymously donate 10% of your income to a cause that sings to you. See a fellow human being suffer? offer them comfort and give them hope. Are you in good health and over 120lbs? Donate blood and know that a pint from your veins (which your body will replenish in but a month) will keep as many as three other human beings alive.

Did someone love you enough to raise you to the literate adult that you are today? Tell them what they mean to you, while they're still alive to hear it.

There are a thousand ways to find meaning as a mortal.

Find one that resonates with you, and go at it with all your might, while you are in the prime of your life.

In 10,000 days, you will wish you started right now.

-張敦楷
 

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Chief Tecumseh, from the movie Act of Valor.

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