Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag | Page 40

JURRIËN MENTINK It’s by living together, being around one another, that we are really slowly saying goodbye to each other. 40 | ART OF DYING We had a discussion one night about why they weren’t going to the zoo or theater anymore; why they weren’t interested in what they used to do. They said that it was because life keeps getting smaller, that in death your perspective shrinks. Why are they saying this? I don't get it. I'm becoming increasingly rebellious. Living here has taught me the importance of doing what you want to do; not just doing things that are socially acceptable. I know that I am not going to do what everyone expects of me because of what I've seen here. Someone said that life is round. I think if you want to live the life you want, your character isn't round. Your character is more like a spearhead. But once it gets rounded, life gets dull. Then you cannot slash with it. It cannot penetrate anymore. Lots of people around here haven't lived like a spear. They have lived like a shield. They didn’t do the things they truly wanted to do. Those people have the most regrets. I have a friend twelve years older than I am. He was always partying with lots of girls. Then he got married and has a child, but he’s not round. But his friends are becoming round. I went to his birthday party and they talked about the weather and other mindless things. I wanted to invite them to come to Humanitas, and learn from the residents that the way they’re living is not right. I think the more dynamic you are when young, the better the end of your life. The more passive you are, the smaller your life and death will also be. More than sixty residents have passed away since I’ve lived here. And they always go in clusters of three or six. It's never just one at a time. If one is dying, you can bet that at least two more will die within a week. People die more often from mental than physical weariness. If you lived to be one thousand years old, you would be the most unhappy man or woman in the world because you would be mentally broken. It’s hard to be the last of your friends to die. They say things like "I don't want this anymore.” Life becomes agonizing because they are the last one, and they have gone to all those funerals.