Someday I Won’t Be Here Anymore

I remember being about 16, lying in bed, and thinking weird thoughts. Part of being a teenager, right?

This was in the early 1960s, when life was far simpler, but for a teen it was still complex.

Who was I? Who would I become? Would I ever have a wonderful husband? What about kids? Did I even want kids? What would my adult life be like? I could barely figure out how to be 16; how would I ever figure out how to be an adult?

And then my thoughts turned darker. What if I didn’t live a long life? What if … what if …

My 95-year-old grandfather had died recently, so I’m guessing that’s at least one reason my thoughts went in that direction. Not that we’d been close or anything, but seeing my mother cry and be upset certainly had an impact. His death was the first of many relatives that I was old enough to be aware of, so it hit hard. It created a sadness that I hadn’t experienced before.

Suddenly, as I lay in bed, an idea that I’d never really paid attention to before hit me, hit me in a way that went to my very soul. I knew, for an absolute certainty, I would die someday. I wouldn’t be alive someday. There would be an end to my life as it was for my grandfather. As it would be for my mother and father, brother, cousin, friends … and me.

Me. Someday there would be no more me. I remember shivering and feeling a deep sense of doom. Of dread. It was hard to breathe. The enormity of someday not being alive was suffocating!

Heavy stuff for a teen, I assure you.

I remember packing those thoughts away, burying them deep down, vowing to never think of them again. And to a certain extent, that’s what happened.

My life – as most lives do – didn’t live up to any expectations I had; how could it? We don’t know what we don’t know, and we can’t foretell the twists and turns that fate will deliver; all we can do is ride the waves we’re given. I will say my life has so far turned out far, far better than I could have imagined.

So why this now?

Because there are so many articles coming out here and on other platforms about the legacy we want to leave behind, once we leave this earth, at least in our bodily form. What would we want others to remember about us?

Articles about who we are, what choices we’re making, how we’re surviving and even thriving in this world that so suddenly – in 2020 – crashed on top of us, knocking us to the ground, knocking the breath out of us literally and figuratively – creating the need for deep thought.

Who are we? Who do we want to be? What dreams either died suddenly or at least need to be completely rethought?

What can we keep doing, and what needs to change?

What ideas are finally coming out of the closet into the light that we want to help with? That we want to embrace? How will we do that? How will we do our part to ensure that the ideas remain alive, that we walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk, while we’re still here?

All this from a distant memory of a girl on the cusp of adulthood, knowing so little about life, and coming to this time – this age of 74 – still alive and kicking, living a full life,  learning, helping. And she’s still with me; she makes her presence known every now and then, motivating me to keep at it, whatever “it” is, to keep moving forward … until.

What are your thoughts, friends? What are you doing in this enormously tough time to make our world even better than it’s been – while you still can?


Susan Rooks
Susan Rooks
With nearly 30 years’ experience as an international workshop leader, Susan Rooks is uniquely positioned to help people master the communication skills they need to succeed. In 1995, Susan formed Grammar Goddess Communication, creating and leading workshops in three main areas – American grammar, business writing, and interpersonal skills – to help business pros enhance their communication skills. She also leads one-hour LinkedIn workshops (Master the LinkedIn Profile Basics) via Zoom to help business pros anywhere maximize their LinkedIn experience, offering it to Chambers of Commerce and other civic organizations free of charge. As an editor, Susan has worked on business blogs, award-winning children’s books, best-selling business books, website content, and even corporate annual reports (with clients from half a dozen countries), ensuring that all material is professionally presented. In April 2022, Susan became the Managing Editor of the Florida Specifier, a bi-monthly trade publication covering Florida’s diverse environmental industry. And although the focus is on Florida’s issues, many of these same challenges are found elsewhere around the world, so the readership isn’t limited to just Floridians or those interested in that state. But in all these endeavors, Susan’s only goal is to help everyone look and sound as smart as they are.

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  1. Susan, thoughtful article! Good way to approach considering and reconsidering the moving targets our goals and dreams have become in the uncertainty and new reality of 2020.

    Yes, in this environment completely rethinking what moving forward means is a necessary “what’s next?” response.

    Adjusting the sails on our dreams can get us to the keeping at it . . . and to the changing of “it” . . . that fit us.

    Fitting ourselves and our spot in the world to now.

    Now and for whatever legacy might come from inspiring and motivating ourselves to go forward with gusto . . . until.


  2. This year is a time full of strange, unknown occurrences, constantly on edge: which makes us think more about our mortal selves, I suppose. There’s something almost comforting about it; no matter who we were on earth, we’ll become equals finally.

    Heavy stuff for a heavy time: I’m glad it’s come to be more present within our own bubble of self-awareness. All we can do is try our best each day, and for some, that may be getting out of bed, going for a walk; others, running a company and making strategic decisions; others could be caring for a family member. For me, my best continues to be helping others, making sense of words on a page, and learning a bit more each day.

  3. Susan, I really enjoyed this. I retired in February and they talked to me about the Legacy that I left behind for the company. I was grateful for the recognition but for the last few years I have focused on living life. This is my time with my family, including all the dogs and cats, I always take time for my friends and I share my stories.. I would only hope to live my life focused on Life, Love And Living and maybe someone would say I was a kind man or a good man. Maybe I do that for me, because in the end as you say it is left behind when we go.

  4. Sooner or later, each of us wonder if, and if so, how it is possible to build a better world. Many avoid the problem by convincing themselves that they are at the mercy of events; this is actually an easy way to avoid the responsibility of making efforts in this direction. Others, while actively seeking a way, faced with the difficulty of the challenge, cling to more or less dogmatic beliefs, linked to some excessive simplification of reality.
    The pandemic has hit everywhere and teaches us how only with the commitment of all can we get up and even defeat the virus of social selfishness with the antibodies of justice, charity and solidarity. To be builders of a more just and sustainable world, of an integral human development that leaves no one behind. In particular, this pandemic can be an opportunity to root the value of fraternity in our future.
    A great change in even a single man could, thanks to a dense network of interactions, induce many other people to change, and ultimately lead to the change of all humanity. This of course can occur both for better and for worse, but the good news is that we are not completely powerless in the face of the ever-faster transformation of the world, but rather together with many others, despite a complex interaction, we are its creators.