I nearly died of pneumonia under rather strange circumstances when I was 12. It left me with the utter conviction that I was mortal - a notion that most adolescents are lucky enough to lack.

Rather than being unable to imagine that I would ever die, I was unable to imagine that I would make it to middle age. Naturally, I had some fairly dramatic ideas about being doomed and dying young.

Talk about cognitive dissonance! This year I turned 40 and survived cancer. I'm an old fartress, which just goes to show how mistaken I can be.

I was told when I was 10 by a "fortune teller" that I would die when I was 21 in a car crash. Not a happy thing to tell a child, and I kept telling myself not to believe it, but a little part of me still kind of believed it. I was somewhat paranoid about cars most of my 21st year.

Obviously, she was wrong since I'm 27 now, and I've survived cancer. I don't really consider myself a cancer survivor since I never had to get chemotherapy or radiation treatment. I was lucky. Surgery and repeated biopsies have shown me to be cancer free.

I used to have adolescent nightmares about being trampled by crowds. Or sometimes, angry mobs would single me out and tear me apart with their bare hands.

I think this stems from the fact that I spent most of my childhood getting pushed around the playground:

Stupid cripple! Cripple! Cripple! You walk like a retard!
Ah, the innocent cruelty of children.

I decided that in a kill-or-be killed situation, I would be the first to go down. Not because I couldn't run as fast as other people, but because my sensitivity made me ill-equipped to face the world.

Now I'm sure that pain won't kill me--I'm far too tough for that.

I haven't decided about beauty yet. :)

I recall staring at myself in the mirror when I was eight or nine. I looked at my pale face, my dark eyes and my ginger hair, and it occurred to me I was going to die soon. The thought didn’t come to me as a shock, for I often imagined what it’d be like to be dead, yet I was a little amazed with the great certainty of the thought. I looked at myself, knew I was going to die young, and didn’t feel anything but a perfect calmness.

I stopped talking to people, unless it was inevitable. Children thought I was weird, but I couldn’t care less. As a matter of fact I stopped caring for all the things that had been dear to me before, and found comfort in my carelessness instead. Whenever I had a headache, I knew it was a brain tumor (but it never was), when I had a tummy ache I was convinced I was having a heart attack, and when my mother drove me to school I imagined us crashing against a large truck, or a wall, or maybe even that tree over there. I felt my skull crushing.

Through the months I learned to start caring for things again, simple things like pancakes, drawings, cartoons, just the general stuff kids like. Then when I was sixteen years old it again occurred to me I was going to die within short. My motto became an extreme version of ‘seize the day’; I quit High School, made long trips, used an extreme amount of drugs and slept on the beach. I came to my senses when I realized that instead of seizing my days, I was just wasting them. Took me some time to realize that, I wasn’t too smart a kid.

Now I’m twenty and not all that convinced anymore I’m going to die young. Perhaps I’m just ignoring that little voice inside my head telling me that I’m going to die, I’m dead, I have no future, but ignoring is still better than giving in to it.

I can’t exactly give a reason why I’ve been so convinced of my early death all my life. I just felt that way.

- In case I suddenly disappear from E2, you know what happened.

Every now and then I have a dream in which I jump off a building. In most dreams like this one wakes up before they hit the ground. In my dream I actually hit the ground. I feel the initial thud of my skull hitting the cement. My body bends backward and I feel my spine break as well as other bones, arms, ribs, etc. I am paralysed from the neck down... with my last bit of air I look up and realise what a stupid thing I have done. I then die. And of course after that I wake up.

I have trouble imagining anything past next year. And I don't mean a variable "365 days beyond anytime"--I mean "the year I stop being 20".

I don't know why I'm like that, but I am; have been ever since high school. Maybe it's the paradigm shift, maybe it's a precognition, maybe I'm just imagining not imagining things.

It's not a cheerful thing to look forward to, the end of one's personal worldview. I always had an idea it might be The End. If not of me, then of everything. But I don't think I put that much faith in my 733t psychic powers.

At quite an early age I became convinced I would die at the age of 23. I cannot say why, though. I just believed that.

Curiously enough, at that age I picked up an infection of my right foot and it spread throughout my whole body as a poisoning of my lymphatic system. I was on vacation. In fact, I spent the whole day on train going to a spa in Western Bohemia to pick up my mom and accompany her home.

I did not find mom in the hotel, but I knew I could find her in her favorite cafe. There she was. People there were saying how good I was looking. I had just spent a week at a yoga camp and was well tanned (something very rare for me).

However, I had trouble walking from the cafe to the hotel. It was getting worse by the minute. My mom decided to take me to the nearest hospital. It was vacation time, so many of the staff were gone, but I lucked out: The chief of surgery was on duty that night. He performed minor surgery on my foot (which was swollen and filled with puss).

Along with the good luck, I also had some bad luck. The surgeon told a nurse to give me a shot of penicillin. Right then the power went out and stayed out for about an hour. The nurse never gave me my shot. They sent me back to the hotel in an ambulance, and told me to come back for a checkup in the morning.

That night my fever skyrocketed. I was shaking and shivering. Well, my body was. I, on the other hand, was watching my body from about three meters above. I felt sorry for the guy down there. I felt no connection to "him". I felt no emotions whatsoever. I was an objective observer. My mom and her sister (who also was there) were crying and lamenting. I was puzzled by that. I knew they were crying over me, but I felt very good, very peaceful.

Eventually, I reconnected with my body. I have no idea how long I was out because I had absolutely no concept of time.

The next morning I was hospitalized, and spent about two weeks in the hospital. They expected to amputate my leg but I fully recovered. I believe that was thanks to the fact I spent the week before practicing yoga full time.

So, I did not die at 23, but I did have a near death experience. Strangely enough, being "dead" was the most beautiful experience of my whole life. So beautiful indeed that when I later read Robert Monroe's Journeys Out of the Body, I was obsessed for several years trying to get out of my body (even tried his hemi-sync tapes). But I never succeeded, much to my dismay. Then I grew out of it. I have not tried it for a long long time, nor do I intend to. But I haven't feared death since.

By the way, just in case anyone wonders, I did not experience any kind of tunnel, often described by others with similar experience (I'm not saying they did not experience it, only that I did not). I was just floating 3 m above my body and felt perfectly at peace. I don't have any recollection of how I got out nor how I got back in.

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