Soundings

Fear of living

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7001.395 (Published 05 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:395
  1. Tony Smith

    Most children and young adults enjoy frightening themselves—at least to some extent. This is the appeal of rollercoasters and horror films and part of the attraction of outdoor activities such as downhill skiing. How much the wish to get the adrenaline going persists later in life seems very variable. A few people (such as the mountaineer and sailor H W Tilman) go on finding new challenges until long after retirement age—Tilman was lost at sea on an exploring expedition at the age of 79. Most of us scale down the amount of anxiety we can tolerate as we grow older, but we like to retain some excitement.

    The essential feature of the appeal …

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