Burning the Candle at Both Ends
Hitchens talks about death, and I haven’t yet heard anybody talk about this topic in a way that resonated so strongly with me.
Even undergoing chemo-therapy that already cost him 7 pounds and most of his hair, Hitchens is as strong as ever. There is no denial, but no fatalism either. He knew about the possible consequences of his lifestyle from the very beginning – it was a risk he took consciously. Of course he isn’t exactly happy when contemplating that he might not live to see his children married, or that the plans he made for the next decade probably just won’t happen. “But”, he writes, “I understand this sort of non-thinking for what it is: sentimentality and self-pity. […] To the dumb question ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?”
Under the following link you’ll find a video of Hitchens getting interviewed by CNN’s Aderson Cooper.
He is not resigned, but at the same time he remains realistic. He knows that his chances are slim, but he also knows that there is no point in whining and self-pitying. I think it’s an admirable serenity. Here is a man who has come to terms with his mortality a long time ago. “I knowingly [burned] the candle at both ends”, he says, “finding that it often gives a lovely light.”