I wish I could say that I was one of those people who took it as a reminder to live every day to the full and not ever be mean or unpleasant because everytime you see anyone it could be your last.
I really wish I had that much faith and reality in my heart. Or whatever it is that constitutes the ability to focus on the impermanence of life in such a positive manner.
In a way, I subscribe to the philosophy, but I still carry on doing a job that part of me hates and then spend days off sitting in a bundle in my room feeling full of self loathing and losing my mind in puzzle games (I still want to fucking slaughter that s-shaped hexomino).
So where were we.
Oh yes. Waking up on a wednesday morning to be reminded that we’re all going to die.
I’ve lost a lot of people, including young people. I’ve had the point proven a few times. We can go any time. There’s no warning, and there’s no room to have faith that things will be okay, or that certain people are immune to danger. It quite simply isn’t true.
My friend Will died in a car crash when we were both 19. The last thing I remember saying to him was that I was too busy to have a jam now (we were camping, but there was a piano, this is the best kind of camping) so we could do it when he got back.
I regret not having that jam more than most things in my life that I did wrong.
Has this taught me to live a life without regret, always grabbing the jams as they come up?
No. I’m slightly shame-faced to say it hasn’t.
I get by the same way most people do. By just ignoring it. Being short sighted, and just finding a way to carry on hoping and dreaming and not going crazy.
Sometimes I think it’s pathetic. Sometimes I feel like I’m letting down the people who died early (who had bigger plans and would’ve gone on to do wonderful things if they were still around, I know).
But I think in some ways it’s a part of what we have to do.
Living is farting about. Living is trying to help people get through this thing we are in.
Since reading Kurt Vonnegut’s man without a country, that’s all I can think about.
There’s nothing wrong with getting on, as long as you try to have some fun and try to help out the people around you.
We’re all stuck in a bleak, dangerous world where your ability to exist can be whisked away at any given moment.
But you know what? (This is the real thing Will taught me). There’s music. It brings something beautiful into my life and keeps me moving.
And maybe it’s not really music that helps for everybody.
But it helps me.
Find what helps you.
Illustration by Zoe.