Monday 30 June 2014

The Blessed Curse of Understanding Life

I remember it was late on New Years Eve when I was thirteen years-old, when my long partied-out Uncle drunkenly slurs to me;

"How in god's name did you get to be so wise for just a kid?'

And I think that was the first of many times in my life that I realised I'm actually probably a little bit crazy.

Not like, 'oh that crazy gal, what is she like' or a little bit Zooey Deschanel kooky, but I'll try and keep this a wee bit more upbeat and say I've always had.... 'times' when I've gotten a little too over-involved with stuff inside my own head.

And this year, it has become clearer to me than ever that it boils down to the fact that I seem to live in this constant state of hyper-awareness. 

And despite the inadvertent positive outlook it brings to my life... it plagues me. 

You see,

I'm very aware of how insane this sounds, but I pretty much live everyday convinced, if not certain, that I'm just about to die.

And I don't mean, I 'live every day like it's your last' or any of that carpe diem high-talking which has now lost all its meaning, I mean, as I watch the light fade each day, as I climb into bed and close my eyes and think about life and myself and the universe, every single night without fail I somehow convince myself that I'm going to die in the night. That there's literally zero chance that I'll live to see tomorrow.

Crazy, right?

Perhaps I actually wish I was a little more ignorant, that I didn't have to be so persistently, permanently, painstakingly aware that my life is ticking down steadily and inevitably to my own extinction.

But I don't think it's actually death itself that scares me. 

It's going before I've done any of things I've always planned to do with my life. The sheer dumbfounding uncertainty of having absolutely no clue when it's going to happen, but knowing that it absolutely positively bloody well will.

It's this 'meantime', the anticipation of waiting, expecting and wondering, knowing irrevocably that there's no way its ever not going to happen but not knowing when - that's the hard part. 

A part which haunts me on a daily basis, because in this case, this 'meantime'...

 Just so happens to be called life.

And so despite being a plaguing force which lurks like a shadow on my every action and consumes my thoughts daily... It is, in fact, quite a beautiful thing.

Living every day expecting to die really does put things into a certain kind of perspective in life.

It allows you to easily understand what is worth holding on to, and what is worth letting go, to know what you should say to the people who mean the most to you, and what is best left unsaid. It makes me want to cram as much life into every single day I wake up and realise I've somehow made it to another day, like finding out you got your flights wrong and you've actually got an extra day on holiday - you're sure as hell just not gonna sit around in bed doing nothing.

It allows me to have more tolerance and empathy with a lot of things, people in particular - you can be effortlessly more forgiving if you feel you're never going to see that person again.

And I guess, in a really twisted backhanded way, it really does make me appreciate life and urge me to make the most out of it, to push forward on making my dreams a reality, let the small worries fall away and focus on just generating a happy, positive existence. 

Because the truth is... I am dying.

It's not just this fictional paranoid idea my mind has driven into a phobia - We're all dying from the moment we came into living, because none of us escape it. 

And I think, however morbid and depressing it might sound, it would actually do so much good to remind ourselves of that once in a while.

If the world was ending, certain death was unavoidable and this was your last day left on earth - what would you do? Who would you go to and what would you say? What would you see, listen to, experience before the end?

So why not do that today?

As I now write this, (typed up from a notebook ramble) I am sat on a swing in Brighton with someone - a long lost figure of my past who I haven't spoken to in three years - and we are watching the sunset behind the ghostly silhouette of the burnt-out West Pier, talking about love, life, and death, a low gentle hum of peace, satisfaction and serenity gracing my heart.

And I think to myself, if complete oblivion lay just beyond the horizon, if the delicate hairsbreadth between where the ocean meets the sky held utter worldwide devastation and these were our last few moments left on earth...

Then you know what?

That would actually be pretty okay with me.