I was trolling through blogs today, and I ended up at the site 1,000 Awesome Things. I had been here before about a year ago and gave it a cursory glance, but I never thought much of it. Today, though, I read an article about remembering friends who have passed on, and it got me to thinking about the fragility of life. Instead of being scared, or sad, about how random life is – and how it is very possible, when considered objectively, that death is always right there – this author ended on a positive note about enjoying every moment
I’m a worrier, and for the longest time I was loathe to admit it. I always knew deep down that my worries – about whether my friends really wanted to hang out with me (obviously not), or relationships, or whether I was happy where I was in life – were completely counterproductive. It’s not as if I could change people’s perceptions or attain happiness through thinking about it as hard as possible; no, only actions count… or, I guess, you could find a hypnotoad and just be convinced of the value of, well, anything really.
Only recently, probably within the past two days, have I truly sat down and thought, “Well, fuck me. I worry about everything. Might as well just accept that and go on with my life.” Lo and behold, I have started doing that, and it feels pretty great. As a great friend once said to me – once said, being sometime last week – “No matter what you do, you’re stuck here. Might as well enjoy the ride.”
The problem with worrying and anxiety is that it is baseless. I remember in third grade – in a memory that, in hindsight, probably spells out exactly how strange I was – hearing from another kid at lunch how a giant meteor was going to hit the earth in thirty years and kill everyone. NASA said it, so we were all guaranteed to die. Most kids thought about it briefly and then started talking about dinosaurs…and then Jurassic Park.
I remember sitting there, though, by myself and bugging in. I kept thinking to myself, maybe not in so many words, “fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I don’t want to die when I’m only 37! Fuck. Fuck.” Let alone that at that time, I wasn’t even ten yet. I hadn’t even experienced a full decade, and thirty years was, for me at least, literally life times away. Still, I kept thinking about it and worrying, as if that would somehow change the meteor’s course enough that it would only hit the bullies, or Boba Fett would save me, or something like that.
Very recently I had a revelation. I was sitting around in my living room with some of my best friends, when a sadly familiar feeling crept upon me. It was the feeling of total abandonment and loneliness, as if an abyss had opened besides me and was tearing me away from everything. Then, it hit me.
I felt so alone because I am terrified. I am terrified that everything I love, all my relationships, are inherently transitory. Try as hard as you might, everything changes and change is terrifying. Realizing this is power, though. I know now that I can not stop life’s course, but I can appreciate every little moment. If anything, this transitory nature makes every moment even more special. This is only happening now, for once – make sure to appreciate it.