I didn’t want to hit the button. I didn’t want to do it all over again. They tell us there are only a thousand moments to be remembered in life. Memories fade, and your mind shuts off to an absent stare in some chlorine smelling hallway in an opaque nursing home. Could I make it all happen, again? Restarting was the siren’s song. The idea of remaking, rebuilding, recreating, reanimating, and recharging my life was drowning me, and I was looking for the water. When I was on the High Bridge, that concrete line rising out of the gloomy Mississippi river into the winter-star sky, it wasn’t just depression making me want to splash into oblivion. It wasn’t just anger weighing down my pockets like a belt of chains, making me sink into the currents like a broken piece of bread to be nibbled on by catfish.
It was refreshing my life that made me want to end it. It was the societal compulsion that there was something wrong with me, and that I needed to change myself to be happy.
Technology makes life seem so much simpler. When a browser doesn’t work, or Google crashes, or anything inconvenient occurs in the pixel kingdom, we can simply hit refresh and the button will recycle our desire like an engine that couldn’t get started. We click that arrow all the time. It spins into itself. It reexamines, reanalyzes, and recreates its goal from its broken parts to make the webpage reignite into life.
If only life were as simple as clicking on that little icon.
My life when I attempted suicide was on the cusp of being refreshed. A long term relationship had failed. I lost my home. I changed jobs. I went back to school. I even moved into the basement of my parent’s house, the very same setting I was glued to as a depressed child using Final Fantasy to escape. I remember being in that basement and being terrified of the sun. The same slants of sunlight from childhood were reappearing through those windows, which sat on the earth like teeth. Nostalgia made me think nothing had changed. I was still the same depressed child as before only I was 28. I had never crawled out of the basement.
In so many levels of education, they teach us that life has this simplistic path to it. Society has direct and exact labels for you to fall into, and you should have everything figured out by age 22 when you graduate from college. What a fallacy of life, and a complete ignorance to chaos theory. I remember meeting with a high school counselor. He was in a brick office plastered with motivational posters of mountains, rivers, canyons, and really bold giant letters you could see from miles off. Not a single thing along those walls seemed to be indicative that I’d be deciding my fate at that very moment. My counselor looked old and disillusioned. Gravity had worn him down into his chair, and the circles under his eyes were cut in half by giant glasses.
“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” He asked, in a crunched newspaper voice.
“Uh, I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it too much. I like writing,” I said. I kept looking at the man’s chest rising up and down. I remember thinking it shouldn’t be that hard to breathe.
“Well, what are you going to do with that? You going to write poetry? How about a teacher, did you think about that?” he said.
“I don’t know. Everyone tells me that is what I should do if I want to become a writer,” I said.
“Well, if people are telling you that, why are you talking to me?”
“It was part of a class,” I said.
“So, you’d only care about your future if it was a class?”
“Well, no, I don’t think so. I just don’t know right now, you know?” I said.
The man rocked back in his chair. It looked like the springs were about to pop out from underneath him. Every shrug of his slouched posture was making me tired.
“You’re 16, Patrick. It’s about time you’d figured it out.”
We are so in a hurry to have answers. To have our life mapped out to avoid conflict and pain. It’ll find you though, like a sewn-together madmen from some low budged horror film. It’s New Year’s Eve, this is the biggest day to refresh our lives and restart ourselves. Resolutions. Resolutions. Resolutions. Why do we constantly think we have to change or better ourselves? Sometimes, you don’t realize the amount of work and morality it takes to stop yourself from changing. We mindlessly click refresh on our screens like some sort of reflex. We have that same muscle memory when it comes to our personal lives. We go through massive changes and we think we need to reinvent ourselves or recreate our image in the face of adversity.
Maybe though, you don’t need to change, and that simply the environment changed around you. Maybe you’re actually a good person, and the real you finally snuck out into the world and changed your role in it. I never wanted the relationship to work out. I always hated that job. We’re egocentric in our analysis of change. We think it’s all about us, instead of acknowledging the reality of the situation. We exist in a fluid stream of senses and images. Life happens all around us on a subatomic level. So why are we blaming ourselves for the world changing?
You’re better than that.
Happy New Year!