Sadly, very often the answer to this question is YES.
Yes you can live too long if you have the misfortune to outlive the people you love best, to be no more use to anyone, to be yourself tired of living. To wish for death and be thwarted for no reason you can see. When life loses its joy, its magic, its sense of all things being possible. Then you have lived too long.
The thing is, with an aging population, and the ever more impressive feats of medical science, longevity issues are going to be mainstream, whether we like it or not. Life expectancies have increased by almost 5 years since 1935 when Social Security was implemented. Most people aren’t ready, financially or otherwise, to deal with longer lifespans. Not to mention what will happen to individual families and society as a whole with more and more elderly, retired and healthy people around.
Hint: less optimism, more looking back to the “good old days”, more generation bashing.
I remember my Dad saying, while still well in his prime, that he wanted to live as long as he could be “of use” to someone. Once he was no longer needed, he wanted to go. Simple. Logical. No regrets. Vows like that are easily made when the end seems years away, no surprise that they stick in the throat as the end appears on the horizon.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
Because as bad as this life can sometimes be, with illness and loneliness, injustice and suffering… it’s all we’ve got. The here and now… the feeling it is to be a living, breathing, thinking thing on this amazing, miraculous world of ours is not to be put aside easily.
We are here in this oh so material world for a reason.
Maybe the closer you get to relinquishing this existence it’s natural, a reflex perhaps, to try and hang on, hang on tight. It certainly seems that the middle-aged disdain for the miracles of modern medicine does an about-face when that practice saves you.
Nobody likes endings (or good-byes) after all, I know I never have, and it terms of endings, death is one of the biggies.