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Life on a Waiting List

Life on a waiting list…
We are just keeping ourselves busy,
and wasting time.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in hospital. It wasn't a serious thing; just a sudden attack of some sort. Ambiguous signs, but no big deal.

It really was no big deal, yet I couldn't resist foreseeing a more tragic finale that could generate more exciting likelihoods. The first image that occurred to me was that of the gentle look in the doctor's eyes as he utters the crashing words "There is nothing we could do. I am very sorry. You only have one month left to live."

After that image, there were heaps of promising and exciting potentials to fantasize about. What smashing victory; the position of sudden supremacy granted! Oh, the intensity that such a situation could create! The easiness of consequences after such a sudden reality! I almost wished it would really happen.

For starters, the knowledge of timely death would instantly place me into a higher, more divine position. Any single word I say after the 'dying' realization would have serious implications; more genuine interpretations. Such an awareness is like a gift through which everything I say or do would be justified and forgiven. Any reaction that is often regarded a 'mistake' would now be perceived as a 'necessary,' even 'wise' step.

I soon started to see the precious faces visiting me in that dying room. "I forgive you all," I would smile gently while patting their hands, "You know I have always loved you," I would add, using the angelic patronizing attitude towards those who had once hurt me, and gaining easy forgiveness from those who I had once hurt.

Better yet were the legitimate possibilities that came to mind when I envisioned death as such. After the high status earned, there would be no judgment nor condemnation towards my actions. I could now approach those whom I had once stumbled upon years ago, or those who I was no longer in contact with, or those whom I had never dared to approach. The possibilities are now endless!

With intensity, I would direct myself towards those people, claiming no explanation other than "In time, you will understand." If indeed I were to die in a one-month time, everything I say or do would be completely justified, self-explanatory, and in need of no excuse or apology. It would just be gentle smiles now; forgiving scenarios and overflowing passion.

Well, none of that happened. It turned out to be 'no big deal' after all. I ultimately do not have the support of countdown timing that death could have handed, and here I am back to the same old ordinary world again. Back to knowing that I have no pretext to hold that stranger or forgive the aggressor or cry my soul out to the ideal lover.

It's the world again and there is enough time to get angry. There is enough time to take a good look around and recognize all of my imperfections. There is enough time to look at the city that is burning down and killing its people. Enough time for death to be ignored and actions delayed.

It's the world again and there is time to make up hopes. There's time to formulate wish-lists that would only be achieved in the far future WHEN I would have acquired the right piece of mind, the right piece of body, the right buddy, the right desire, the right… and there goes my life again, on a waiting list.

Do we really need death on our side to get life's rush of adrenaline? Does time-duration dry off the intensity of reality? Or are the actions we think of with death in mind nothing more than miscalculations hiding from responsibility? Are they temporary solutions to superficial yearnings?

Even though it is often marketed that way, the knowledge of death is not a romantic revelation. Indeed, it is more of a sense of incompetence in the dying and those around the dying. Suddenly everything before that revelation seems to have been 'ok', 'sufficient', 'good enough.' Contrary to wishful thinking, death would not solve the unchangeable difficulties or hand out divine interventions.

The knowledge of death is already there, but taken for granted, for it is also placed on that long waiting list. There might even be a connection: Once death is on the waiting list, so is life. It will happen, at some point or another. It's only about time.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.


giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Great work!

Great work . All the best dearie

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Greight Foundation

Nusrat Ara's picture




Dando's picture


and well written work.
keep it up Dear.

Love you.

jadefrank's picture

Living life

Hi Arda,

Your writing has once again taken me away from the page on my computer to the far reaches of my mind and imagination. Thank you for reminding me that our life can begin today, that we cannot wait until the end to forgive, to love or to begin building the world that we wish to leave behind us. Thank you for writing this!


Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Beautiful and poignant

This is excellent, Arda. I loved every word.

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

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