The older I get, the more my friends remind me of approaching death. I can’t help but notice the steadily appearing signs of decline. In an age when the days of even the most obscure and inconsequential lives are as thoroughly documented as any celebrity, the steady decline is impossible to ignore. The pictures and status updates make a flipbook of entropy in action. I can see the hair shedding from scalps like the crumbling leaves from a falling tree. I can see bellies extending and once taught skin wrinkle and sag.
I see people online I haven’t seen in person for maybe over a decade but just a few minutes exploring their photo albums I can fill in the years when these former friends, acquaintances, and family members were mere abstractions. Even the most beautiful can’t completely cover the corrosive effects of time.
Many of them might as well already be dead. They have passed from my life forever. The years have torn a chasm between us, and like the dead, they exist only in pictures. These phantoms are from a period of my existence when I closer to the beginning of my life, and now as I approach the middle of my allotted time on this earth, I can see the steadily approaching end.
For a long time death seemed like it was something that only happened to other people. The end of myself and the people around me was an incomprehensible prospect and certainly not an inevitability, but its creeping footsteps are growing louder. I can hear the fallen leaves of autumn crunching beneath its heavy feet.
Time is whittling away my world. Every year it gets a little smaller, and the forking paths in the road of life narrow down to a single roadway into oblivion.