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I’m (Mostly) Glad I Didn’t Die

by Lena Simons about a year ago in healing
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And that you haven't either

Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

Television and books have made death seem far too simple. It's incredibly difficult to force your body to give up. I don't recommend trying it. You'll likely give yourself an aggravating injury at best, a lifelong impediment at worst. Which, you really don't need. "Shoot for the moon," they'd said, "if you fail you'll land amongst the stars." In this case, you'll land amongst the rest of the "failures" in your city.

I spend several nights wishing I'd succeeded, but most nights glad I failed. Most of the time, it's because of the small things. I'm glad I'm alive to see the newest art exhibit in my city. I'm glad I'm alive to still experience good days at the beach. I don't know what happens after being alive, but it's nice to know I can still have nice days. I like them more now.

I've never had to confront death. I've been to funerals as a kid, closed casket. Spent the last year hearing about more death and doom than anyone should hear about in a lifetime. Nevertheless, I've remained disconnected from the concept of it. Until it came to my own.

I never wanted to die, really. I'm not sure any of us do. We want a life worth living. Sometimes the idea of having so much time left sucks. Life isn't short, it's the absolute longest thing we're experiencing.

My second entry to life mirrored everyone else's. The interesting thing about losing your grasp on reality in the middle of a pandemic is that no one notices. Every rope, except one, tethering you to existence snapped, and no one heard a thing. How could they over all the noise?

Everyone around me was different. I know I was. Confronting your own mortality does that. What's disturbing, is that they all felt so much like this new version of me. As if they'd all lost their grips on reality. As if everyone's rope had snapped and I hadn't noticed it either.

Conversations, which once felt like they were at 1.5 speed, were quieted. Now, they felt slower. Easier. We spoke with an effortlessness and breathiness we never had before. And an openness. No one felt ashamed to tell me they were feeling depressed. Or anxious. Or didn't have the mental energy to go on.

I may have been the only one who'd tried intentionally, but everyone around me died a little. There was a mass reincarnation. Everyone lost parts of themselves. I don't know if they felt good or bad about it, but I felt great. Every colour felt brighter. Every step felt lighter. Everything and everyone around me felt more substantial.

Our souls were drained. Without "real" life, you have no choice but to confront yourself. You have to find all your stoppages and drain them. Find all your own empty holes and fill them. And it stings. Who has time to love themselves at a time like this?

Almost dying made me inwardly focused. Potentially, to a fault. Still, everyone's had a second chance at their lives this year. The focus I had on myself, my own life, and almost lack thereof made me lose focus of the big picture. I might be the centre of my own universe, but not the universe. There's so much more going on around me that I forgot existed. I forgot there was a lot of suffering around me that wasn't even my own. That what felt so deeply personal was the most universal experience there was. 

There's a reason we double-take when we see something beautiful. We all often fail to appreciate the beauty of our own lives initially. Our humanly perception fails us once, but there's so much beauty in the second chance. So much more value in your second glance.


About the author

Lena Simons

I need lots of external validation to keep myself going each day.

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