I feel confident that if you would simply read the first 12 categories to the left side of this website, you would fully understand, and possibly appreciate, the answer to this question. Nevertheless, it’s the first question anyone is likely to ask and so here is an attempt at an initial answer.
Keep in mind that I didn't think it was fully possible to answer “Why?” without answering “Why not?” It is because of that that I also included a discussion on “Why Not?”, clickable on the left side of this page.
Even so, here is a simplistic answer. The answer is in part… “Because I can.” You may think that’s trite and that it doesn’t answer the question at all, but hear me out.
1. I always thought I might commit suicide someday. When I considered the options of living to be old and all the negatives associated with that alternative, I knew there was no way on earth I was going to allow myself to deal with such an intolerable situation. In order to guarantee that I avoided it, I also knew that I had to commit the act before I was incapacitated and unable to carry it out.
The thought of being in a nursing home, physically or mentally disabled, was the single scariest thing I had ever thought about - at least on this earth. So, in order to make sure that it never happened, I determined that I would have to end things when I was still semi-intelligent and physically able. That’s what I mean by saying “Because I can.”
"One said of suicide, 'As long as one has brains one should not blow them out.' And another answered, 'But when one has ceased to have them, too often one cannot.'"― F.H. Bradley
It’s also true that I wanted to leave on top. What does “on top” mean? Of course, it means different things to different people. I’m inclined to think of it in a sports context because I’m such a sports fan – as is evidenced by my other site – SportsInReview.com.
Very few athletes go out on top – or even close. Most play far beyond their peak and even far beyond their relevance. Often times, it’s a sad sight to see. I was beyond my peak, but a ways from being irrelevant. Nevertheless, irrelevancy was on the horizon for me as it is most people at my age - me more than average.
The apt analogy is that I've run the race. I already got to the finish line. I didn't croak on the way. I didn't get embarrassed. I didn't break a leg. I sprinted most of the time and sometimes I slowed to a walk to catch my breath. But, I could see the finish line and I liked it!! The last thing on Earth I was going to do when I got there was... keep going. I completed the race because I went over every hurdle that was in my way. Sometimes I fell. But, I got back up and ran that much harder. Perhaps your finish line is a little farther off in the distance than mine. I don't know. I only know I reached mine and when I got there the only thing I wanted to do was rest. And, so I shall.
I began seeing the problems that come with aging some time ago. I was sick of leaving the garage door open overnight. I was sick of forgetting to zip up when I put on my pants. I was sick of forgetting the names of my best friends. I was sick of going downstairs and having no idea why. I was sick of watching a movie, going to my account on IMDB to type up a review and realizing I've already seen it and, worse, already written a review! I was sick of having to dig through the trash to find an envelope that was sent to me so I could remember my own address - especially since I lived in the same place for the last nine years!
One of these days, I would have been in choir at church and the rest of them would have started singing the song we had been practicing for three weeks while I would probably would have started singing the Star Spangled Banner. And even worse... I would probably have gone all Christina Aguilera on it.
Someday, I would fall down the stairs or slip in the bathtub or get caught walking in a never-ending circle or driving to the store only to end up in Maine. And, nobody would know the difference - at least for awhile.
I didn't want to put super glue in my eyes thinking it was eye drops because I suffer from dementia. I didn’t want to exist being unable to type on a keyboard because of Parkinson's or drive a car or recognize the people I love. I didn't want to be beaten to death by an intruder or eaten alive by maggots. If you thought I was going to drift through this type of embarrassment and indignity, you were out of your mind even more than me!
And, here’s the clincher… it’s only going to get worse!
I didn’t want to die alone. I didn’t want to die of old age. I didn’t want to die after years of unproductivity. I didn’t want to die having my chin and my butt wiped by someone who might forget which cloth they used for which. I didn’t want to die of a stroke or cancer or heart attack or Alzheimer’s. I decided I was gettin’ out while the gettin’ was good and while I could still produce this website! I’ve been to the penthouse. It may only be a 10-story building, but I refuse to ride the elevator down to the basement! Nope, I'm going out on top. The rest of you can go out whenever you want.
I could overcome most problems I was encountering on August 15, 2013 – especially when I wrote so prodigiously. I could take my time, check, double check, triple check and then hit “send” or “publish”. And, even then, I could still edit it. But, the reality is that I struggled a great deal with things that people should not be struggling with at the age of 59… and I was simply not going to sit idly by while that deteriorated until I became a babbling idiot – although some have already given me that title.
Of course, there are other reasons.
2. Not all that long ago I started thinking about what I would leave to this world. Since I figured 90% of my energy, creativity, legacy, etc. was already over, the bigger question became not what else I could do while alive to be remembered, but rather what I could accomplish by being dead.
I know the older I got, the more I would use up my assets and by the time I died – if I live to the age of my dad before his death (83) - I would have very little-to-nothing to leave for others. I know plenty of people that could use the money now and that was a big motivator for me! I had never been left much money, but I could imagine how welcome it would be to get $10,000 (for example) that a person wasn’t expecting. That might make a huge difference in the lives of people who don’t have a lot - and I was aware of plenty of people I could help.
It’s also true that my life insurance was to expire in 2014 and if I live beyond it, I would not be able to afford or justify getting additional insurance. By dying (regardless of by what means) in 2013, I was able to leave that money to people I cared about. For me, money (beyond basic survival) was only of value to make somebody else’s life better!
“I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted.” -- W.C. Fields
3. If I wasn’t already sick of seeing suffering, the past few months before I died was more than enough – too much. First, hurricane Sandy obliterated the NE. Then a crazy gunman killed 26 at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Shortly after that a terrorist attacked innocent people at the Boston Marathon. Then there was an explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas. And then a devastating F5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma followed by the largest tornado in world history (2.6 miles wide) in nearby El Reno a few days later. These tornadoes killed kids at an elementary school and three storm-chasers among many others. No discrimination. Each one of these events seriously broke my heart.
As I say, I was sick of it. It hurt to watch… and I decided I was watching no more.
“On the day of my judgment when I stand before God and he asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I going to say? I want it to be over and done with. I do. I’m tired. Mostly, I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel in the world everyday. There’s too much of it. It’s like pieces of glass in my head all the time…" John Coffey, The Green Mile
Unfortunately, it is likely to get worse - a lot worse. I honestly believe I would have seen a dirty bomb go off in a big city or a virus sweep the world or a nuke in the hands of terrorists. I honestly believe I might have seen a tsunami wipe out an American coast or a volcano destroy half of Mexico City or Seattle. These things are going to happen someday. But, even if they didn’t happen in my lifetime had I tried to live as long as I was able, one thing absolutely, positively would happen and there is nothing on this earth that can stop it!
4. Economic collapse is inevitable (see to the left). The United States’ annual debt and cumulative deficit is way beyond the “out of control” label usually associated with it. It’s spiraling into oblivion and it will take society with it. Today the deficit is $16.9 trillion dollars with another $125 trillion of unfunded liabilities such as social security, medicare, prescription drug and federal pensions. It’s hopeless.
I felt pretty good about being prepared for economic collapse – the primary reason being all the gold and silver I owned. But, then one day I realized that all the gold and silver and guns and ammo and dried food and toilet paper in the world wouldn’t prevent me from seeing the calamity with my own eyes - either ignoring other's plight or succumbing to it. And, that’s something I decided I simply was not willing to live through.
I do not advocate anyone take the same way out that I took – especially considering almost everyone has more identifiable reasons to extend their life than I did. But, if you plan to stick around, then you better plan to watch an economic collapse that will be worse than anything you can imagine.
“Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly, and of their own accord, preparing themselves for dying and death. If this is true, and they have actually been looking forward to death all their lives, it would of course be absurd to be troubled when the thing comes for which they have so long been preparing and looking forward.”