Trust and let go. Climb staircases, open doors, explore paths, fly over landscapes.
— instructions given to patients at the NYU psilocybin trial

After looking into a good way of dying in my recent post, I had a sort of an epiphany. It seemed that thinking what it would be like to have a good last year of life (say), propelled me directly into considering how I wanted to spend my elder years. For a time, I became something of a pest to my friends and my psychologist, as they worried about my “obsession with death.” I tried to explain it was nothing like that… but… it seems that talking about one’s last years (be they 15, or 30, or hey, maybe the Grim Reaper is heading my way already) is one of the remaining taboos.

One thing that jolted me was the realization that if I truly aimed for “a good death” on my own terms, I needed to prepare well in advance. Just about everything I want, from shallow graves or sky burials, to plentiful pain killers, to the right dose for departure (& don’t you dare call it suicide!), and to the intriguing entheogens that ease the anxiety — if not outright horror — that surrounds death and dying, is illegal or at the far edge of possibility. Unless I acquire new skills and connect with people who are in the position to provide these things, now, I will be out of luck.

And then I thought… you know, this is kinda fun. Thinking of ways to make one’s last months on earth good… led me directly to thinking of ways to make my last x years on earth good. Nobody knows the day nor the hour. May as well have a path, or at least a guiding star. How about seeing one’s elder years in the expectation of enhanced well-being? Yes, one’s body begins to wizen, but the brain grows more complex and more open to new ways of seeing reality — if  provided with stimulation from daring new experiences, meditation or prayer, “smart foods,” and plenty of wrongthink! And since such brains are apt to be more creative, I may be able to figure out how to deal with the inevitable health issues not through the usual wheelbarrowful of pills that doctors push on older folks, but through herbs, supplements, body-aware movement, and an approach to life that takes me back to living boldly, living ALIVE, suffused with meaning.

So I took off running. I sold my place, moved to the edge of wilderness in Colorado. I am preparing to leave on an adventure of a lifetime. Bucket list? No, I am not ill. This is before you need a bucket list. I am going to climb again (both trees and rocks), ski again, thrill to danger again. Live in incredibly wild places, with wolves, bears, cougars, wisent and rivers full of fish. Spend lots of time with people and critters I love. Sing everyday. Contrive to get snowbound in a winter wonderland where you have to dig tunnels to get to the woodshed. Wander off on psychedelic adventures and fly off cliffs in lucid dreams. I have found an experienced herbalist who will take my (actually considerable but scattered) knowledge to the next level. I am particularly keen to learn to work with plants considered poisonous, as I had begun with my poke root hit-and-miss dosing. (Did you know that the infamous hemlock that killed Socrates is actually an excellent pain killer? It’s all in the dose. Even water will kill you if you drink too much of it.) I will find ways that suffuse the aging body with pleasure again, ways that heal old wounds and spark the feeling of youthful spunk. After decades of struggling with insomnia, I’ll learn to sleep like a cat.

A door at hands’ reach beckons into communion not only with other humans and with one’s inner self, but also with soil, critters, plants and fungi, and the universe itself. Babylon has none of these. Earthly paradise has all of them.

I will jump into all sorts of scary “crucial conversations” with gusto. Communism forced me into exile, and I am not about to live out my life seeing it creep back as a new form of totality, without throwing some sand in the gears of the neo-marxist machine. This time, that totality is fueled by politically correct bullies and sourpusses who have forgotten what free speech means, or how many people gave their lives so they themselves could say what they mean, and mean what they say, and nobody comes for them in the middle of the night as a consequence. It looks like the free speech barricades need manning again, as they do every second or third generation.

I will defy the laws that stand between me and empathogens so that my remaining PTSD, and severe stresses yet to come, can be negotiated with grace. A new book’s popped up written by a woman whose severe depression of many years became drug-resistant. She enrolled in a month-long experiment with LSD microdosing and her world changed. Now she is out there rabble-rousing, working hard to bring LSD back as legal medicine. After reading Michael Pollan’s description of the ongoing trials using psilocybin to ease people dying of cancer at the NYU hospital, I had to ask myself… why wait for a mystical experience that takes away the fear of death for when I have one foot firmly wedged in the grave? Why not now?! Then I am covered whenever and wherever death comes for me. 🐺