I’m at a crossroads, I suppose you could say. That point in every man’s life when he looks at where he is, what he’s done, where he’s headed, and double checks within himself that all the choices, decisions, endeavors, relationships, advice taken, advice ignored, and each step along the way was the right thing to do at the time. I’m 30 now; shit’s gettin’ real.
I was recently given a mini, informal psychiatric exam. On it, there was a yes or no question section, and one of the questions was, in effect, “Do you ever think about dying, or that things would be easier for your loved ones if you were dead?” First of all, that’s two questions, and kinda broad without context in their own right. And you can’t answer yes or no questions in pairs anyway, since “Yes/no, but…” and “enh, maybe” aren’t possible answers. So I answered “yes” and now shall tell you why.
Anyone who reads my paltry blog should be able to glean that I have a history, if not a current battle, with depression. It’s nothing I’m ashamed of, lots of people get depressed, or are depressed, and as bad as things can feel sometimes, they usually do get better. So when I get depressed, I like to allow myself to feel it for a little while, even if that means secluding myself away from family and friends for a day or so, acknowledge the truth of the situation, and allow it, and myself, to move on. Maybe that’s the right way to do things, maybe not, don’t take advice from me, but it’s how I am able to get through the harder moments in my life.
So when I answered “yes” to the if-I-think-about-dying-slash-better-off-dead question, I want to make one thing clear right now: I am not suicidal.
What I am, though, is tired. As days go on, I am finding that living real life is fucking exhausting. I have health issues, I have financial issues, I have relationship issues, I have family issues, I have so many issues that my sophomore high school English project, wherein me and three of my best friends turned in a modified version of our shared journal as a “published book” was entitled They’ve Got Issues, is sounding more and more prophetic.
When I think about my own death, it’s hard to describe how it feels. It’s almost like, the rest of my life is an upcoming vacation. A beautiful getaway, waiting to be experienced. Maybe it’s to a bright sunny beach where the sands are finely ground and warm to the touch, with large leaves for shade and no need for more than a baggy pair of shorts and a visored hat in the way of clothing. Or maybe this time it’s a fantabulous, whirlwind week in New York or London, jam packed with shows and dinners and shopping and art and glamor. Or maybe it’s a quiet midwinter spent in the mountains, with just enough snow blanketing the earth to give a sunny day a brisk chill, and incentive to build a roaring fire and make hot cocoa during the deep dark nights. Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to it.
But then, the logistics start getting in the way. Your flights get canceled and now you need to make an eight-hour layover in Des Moines, your hotel never confirmed your reservation and the only available rooms are twice what you can afford to pay, the weather turns, itineraries are suddenly unfeasibly tight or you planned so little you are clawing your eyes out with boredom. And these days, all I can think about are the failing logistics getting in the way of my much needed vacation. I’ve barely arrived and I’m waiting for that moment when I get back home, toss my suitcases in the corner to unpack later, pour myself a glass of wine, curl up with Mason (who has missed me so terribly while I was gone that his usual feisty self won’t resurface for a few days, meaning fewer love bites and more purrs and cuddles) and let go of all the crap that happened, and just think about the parts that were fun, relaxing, exciting, and enjoyable.
So when I think about dying, and feel like I want to die, it’s not that I want it right now, or to hurt myself in any way, it means I want to look back on my life, and let go of all the logistics, plans, and people that failed me, and know that all in all, I lived a good life. That I will be able to live a good life yet to live, and all the bad luck and bullshit I’m wading through now won’t matter in the end, because I won’t even remember it. My thoughts will be of my family, past present and future, my contributions to society, my good deeds, my accomplishments both personal and professional, trivial and monumental. The idyllic scenery, the breathtaking views, the freedom of adventure all fresh in my eyes as if they were still in front of me. These are the moments I look forward to remembering, and, on my better days, look forward to experiencing. When I think about dying, and feel like I want to die, I don’t really want to die; I want a life yet lived, wrought with beauty and joy at all the possibilities, knowing it was all worth it, in the end.