10/06/2034 5:53 AM ET

OPINION

Five Reasons Why I Am Self-Euthanising When I Turn 50

Robert Weskey
Male and joyful soul, consultant

CC0 1.0 Image by hbieser | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Andy headshot by Andy Eick | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
We should seek joy in the sunset of our lives - on our own terms.
I get asked a lot why I am self-euthanizing when I turn fifty. (I actually like the term 'self-terminating' because it makes me sound like an android.)

Most people are well-meaning but some give me stares like I'm that crazy guy who pees on people in the subway. Sometimes it'll come up at parties and the other person's mouth will slightly drop open and you can see the amazement behind their eyes! It's actually a little bit amusing.

The truth is, I didn't make this decision hastily, or in a vacuum. I consulted my parents, other relatives, friends and my wife. I'm thirty-three, and I made an informed decision. These are the conclusions I came to:

1. It's the ultimate expression of self-actualisation.

Since the Self-Preservation Denial Act was passed in 2030, the freedom to live or to die has been granted to the population at large, for anyone over the age of eighteen. Another barrier to choice and freedom of expression has been lifted and many people see this liberty as the means to ultimate fulfillment; this choice will define our very lives. No-one else, and no disease or mental infirmity will rob those who make this precious choice to seal their ends according to their own wishes.

This completion of my identity is something I want for me. It will be the ultimate gift to myself.


2. We have a responsibility to a burgeoning global population.

The earth is at nine and a half billion people. This is not sustainable. People are dying from drought, disease, starvation, inadequate clean water supplies.

How much longer can she support a healthy, prime population, never mind those who age, consuming more and more resources in what is (in some cases) merely an exercise in vanity to prolong a life which may or may not be as worthy of the term.

I'd rather leave those precious resources for someone with more life left.


3. I don't want to be a burden.

I had an uncle who contracted a disease while serving as part of a UN peacekeeping force in Nigeria, and it stayed with him the rest of his life. In the end he couldn't bathe himself, and he would frequently lose control of his bodily functions. He needed feeding and to have drainage taken care of.

When his family (including me as a young boy) would visit it did him no good, to be seen as a shell of the man he had been. It did us no good, knowing we could not help his condition.

I won't burden my family when my body begins to fail, either through disease or natural progression.


4. Each day will become more meaningful.

Every day, every flower, every cloud and every warm embrace of the sun, will be so much more valuable, so appreciated, now I know that my experience of them will be limited.

If there is a full natural lifetime left of such experiences, the embrace of the little things is lost. They become part of the everyday world, taken for granted because when things seem to have no end, they can be ignored or noticed at a whim. When my kids embrace me, I know I will have a limited number of hugs left, and so each will be more special.


5. I have accomplished everything I really wanted.

I have a Masters degree from Yale, a successful career, marriage to a beautiful wife (she's undecided about her self-euthanisation), two amazing kids and great friends. I have conquered life! We have a wonderful house in a nice suburb and comfortable living. I've given my all and gotten a lot.

By the time I'm fifty I anticipate a few years of being able to bounce grandkids on my knees and tell them about the beauty of choosing my own destiny, my own life, and the glory of my own end, which I know will be in their company as I say goodbye.
Correction/Broken Link?