Here’s something strange: for some time now, and with increasing frequency, my first coherent mental activity upon waking has been a vivid sense of my own mortality. I mean, vivid. Like, lying on your actual deathbed-vivid. I’ve always had a strong disposition toward melancholy and morbidity, but this isn’t the same thing. It’s not an intellectual understanding of mortality, it’s a pervasive feeling of it, into my bones, as if the disorientation of sleep has removed all the mental barriers we keep around us so as to be able to continue with our mundane activities. No more distractions — YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, with all the subtlety of a foghorn in your ear.

I can’t really recapture that feeling once I’m up and moving around, so I’ve taken to getting up a few minutes earlier just to be able to sit and reflect on it while it lingers. I don’t think too hard about it; I just try to observe it unobtrusively. Just acknowledging its existence and seeing how it affects me. As you can imagine, this was pretty jarring at first, but I’ve actually come to look forward to it somewhat. Not for any of the usual pragmatic, utilitarian, self-help rationales — I don’t care if it lowers my blood pressure, or gives me a more balanced perspective on trivial irritations, or any of that shit. It just feels…right. Good for its own sake. More real.

The best part of waking up is Thanatos in your cup.