Monday, November 26, 2012

Eternal sleep

In light of recent events but without stating them (because I feel that the coverage of the incident is better kept to student publications and official announcements), there is a topic worth discussing that has re-entered my mind and continued to hound it lately. I don't want to scare you (or myself, though I think that ship has sailed already), but the topic is mortality.

I don't think I spend much time on here fretting about the end to my life. If anything, my greatest fears surround the loss of loved ones. I can't imagine how I would bear with that sort of thing. Rarely do I think of the experience of not being alive myself. I'm an invincible young adult so naturally that particular issue just don't cross my mind on a day to day basis.

But sometimes I wonder why it doesn't. I'm just as mortal as any other human being. My flesh is only so thick, and it's not exactly been maintained or well-trained in such away as to fend off the grim reaper. If I had been alive in the time of cavemans, I'd definitely have been turned to dust already.

This only becomes more clear when I'm sitting around reading my emails and find a little note about someone I may not have known personally, but whom I easily could have known, who lost her life in the same way that anyone my age could lose theirs.

There are so many factors that have to align for human life to continue existing. Just think about our reliance on perishable items. We must have food three times a day (if you believe the hype) and water even more than that. There's the issue of regular sleep and other little measly habits that we just can't shake as humans.

Sometimes I find myself actually becoming worried about how vulnerable I am. Like now, for instance. Luckily at this point in the evening I have no reason to be called outside where I must brave the elements and the influence of humanity. I am in my safe room, lying in my warm bed, away from anything that could possibly harm me.

Or am I?

I think this is where the news of lost life really begins to frighten me.

In so many ways I truly feel control over my life. It may sound silly, but I like to believe that I have a bearing on my own fate just by being positive or negative in general. If I think that I will succeed in life, then clearly I will. And usually I am convinced that I will have a happy future, so I never have much reason to be depressed or cynical.

But what if I had no control over anything? What if I was subject to moods that were beyond my awareness or comfort? Conditions like bipolar disorder or depression are concerns that people battle daily. I've been lucky not to have any myself (as yet discovered), but that doesn't mean I'm unaware of the fact.

The most scary of all prospects is the one that I, myself, hold. What if I was the type of person to find comfort in my own passing? How would that affect my decisions in other parts of life? Since I get defeated so easily, would I just give up on life even before committing to commit suicide (so to speak)?

Whatever the situation, I think the most scary concern is how much of this has to do with me and what's present in mankind. The ability for free thought and action. But the risk as well.

I think I've discovered that what keeps me alive - other than the luck of not having any mental health issues - is both a healthy fear of death and an honest hope to always be learning and seeing new things. I walk away from the knowledge of the loss of a classmate and am further reminded that life is a precious commodity and something to be treasured in others and in yourself.

I don't like that I forget about myself. Because before the fate of anyone else, I must tend to my own - if only to be sure that it persists so that I can enjoy the lives of others.

And I guess that's my deepest desire - to experience the joy of human interaction. Even if it's fake and on the screen or the stage, even when it is difficult and confusing, the thing worth living for is that connection between even the most rivalrous men, ourselves.

Looking forward, I guess the only way to defeat these fears is to take some time in youth to stop considering them. It can be hard, but mortality doesn't have to be an issue a 20-year-old worries about.

There's so much to live for, so I guess when tragedy strikes, the only way to properly handle it is to be happy for living at all. That's all I really have to say about the matter. And from now I move onto the temporary rather than the eternal sleep.

Hopefully no one will consider this interpretation and structuring makes light of a serious topic. I have the most tremendous respect for everyone involved with this story and even though I don't directly state any details of it, I want to express my condolences to families of students and young adults who take their lives or who lose their lives outside of their control. It's the ones left behind who suffer most.

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