“Choose life” was the well known slogan of an anti drug campaign in the 1980s as well as the well-placed marketing technique for the wildly popular cult classic movie Trainspotting. For those who know the movie and its sequel T2, then you know the compelling speech made by the movie's main character Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), but for those who aren’t familiar then here is the speech made in the first movie:
"Choose life.Choose a job.Choose a career.Choose a family,Choose a fucking big televisionChoose washing machines, cars,Compact disc players, and electrical tin openers.Choose good health, low cholesterolAnd dental insurance.Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments.Choose a starter home.Choose your friends.Choose leisure wear and matching luggage.Choose a three piece suite on hire purchaseIn a range of fucking fabrics.Choose DIY and wondering who youAre on a Sunday morning.Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbingSprit-crushing game showsStuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.Choose rotting away at the end of it all,Pishing you last in a miserable homeNothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish,Fucked-up bratsYou have spawned to replace yourself.Choose your future. Choose life."
As you can see, it is a compelling speech wrought with subtle sarcasm and obvious contempt from the character Renton. Now if you are unaware, the movie centers around Renton and his friends who are all known to be heroin addicts, so it’s obvious to see why those aspects are picked up.
This movie and this speech mean a lot to me and my immediate group of friends. “Why?” you may ask. Seeing as neither me nor my friends have ever done heroin and don’t plan on trying it, then why does this movie and the slogan “choose life” mean so much to us personally?
For me, it is because I have known and lost people to heroin and I have seen the dark side of addiction. It has affected my family and a few of my close friends, but again, why does this mean so much to me and my friends as a whole?
The answer is simple.
At one point in all of our lives, we have wanted and/or tried to commit suicide.
Now if you were to look at me and my friends while we were together, you would never see a more happier looking group of twenty somethings. No one would have ever guessed by looking at us that we have all expressed the feeling of wanting to end our lives, and that’s why it means so much to us.
In the end, instead of taking our lives, we all decided to choose life. We decided that instead of just ending it, we would push forward and keep going whether to spite ourselves or others.
Over the past few months, all of us have come together and gotten closer and have confirmed the thought and practice that happiness takes hard work is true. We hang out knowing that the weekend is coming to a close and the dark thoughts that come with that circle us but we persevere because we know that there is always next week.
Plus...it would look really dumb to find a body in an obvious display of suicide with the words "choose life" tattooed on it.