Dear My Last Days,
For a year now I’ve seen this video pop up on my radar here and there on social media and friends blogs, but for some reason there was a part of me that never wanted to click the play button. The description of the video begins as follows: “Zach Sobiech is a 17 year old diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. With only months to live, Zach turned to music to say goodbye…” It’s just one of those things where I know cancer happens every day and having personally been touched by the disease, I wasn’t about to try and emotionally make myself vulnerable to someone else’s story; I was too busy with my own. To me it’s funny that although we are all separate living entities, ‘life’ is only built by the accumulated interactions we share. I’m not sure what caused me to give in and watch the 20 minute documentary today, but it’s a good thing that it happened.
It’s a symptom of being a 20 something, but recently I’ve been in a state of trying to ‘get my life together’ and ruminate on all the small issues that compile themselves into the daily stress I walk through. It’s been a time of worry and constant anxiety about how I will ‘make it’ and micromanaging my emotions to the point where I tended to turn numb to issues I would normally be very passionate about in order to avoid the headache of caring. I’m not going to say this video changed all that, but it’s beautiful portrayal of the way one person lived to truly and purely touch the lives of the people around him. It helped remind me of where my real goals are at as opposed to what the world is telling me I should be doing.
I think as a social species, it’s easier to turn to the ideas and the advice of others rather than trying to work out issues ourselves. It’s not horrible to talk to friends about whats going on, but there comes a certain point where I feel the conversation is dictated by finding some sort of answer to the issue rather than the bonding of mutual understanding and exchange of thoughts. Friends will never be me or in the exact situation I find myself in, and outside commentary can become distracting if not taken in the right mind set. It makes me feel like there is a mold I need to fit into in order to become successful in the various areas of my life, and this constriction is what causes the anxiety felt toward most situations.
This anxiety is the world talking at me. It’s the cold calculated general consensus of what life should be and needs to have in it in order to make me happy, and like a lot of things what the world says is a lie. There’s no formula or mold to happiness or success. When it’s all boiled down and I take a step back the words Zach says about affecting others ring true. If the people in my life are happy, it’s really all that matters to me. It also frees me from the constrictions of trying to figure out where I should be at and which people I should be spending time with. No matter what someone’s past is unto themselves or coinciding with my own, there are reasons why they are still in my life. History is history and although educational, does not dictate the future in and of itself. It’s time to stop worrying about why people are who they are or what they are to me and if they should be in my life, and just enjoy things as they happen and let people know that I love them.
When it comes down to it, all worry and anxiety can be traced back to fear of mortality. Not being able to get what we want in life, not being fulfilled before we pass, not making a mark on the world; these are really the heart of what causes us to be up at night. I thought Zach summed up these fears in such a beautifully simplistic way. He says, “Death is just another thing on the agenda kind of. Yeah it’s scary, but the only reason why it’s scary is because you don’t know what’s next, or if there is a next. It’s kind of like sitting in the dark. So you can either choose to be freaking out in the dark and thinking ‘what’s out there?’ Or you can just relax and fall asleep.”
Things will happen. People and situations will hurt us, it’s natural to feel sadness and pain. On the other side of the coin we can’t live life in the shadow of these moments waiting for the next one to happen. We can’t over analyze our issues to the point of being black and white and safe because emotion is what makes life wonderful. We are all so blessed to have stories like Zach’s to reflect on and let ourselves be vulnerable to. I highly recommend taking the 22 minutes and 20 seconds to share in his beautiful life and message. (I also highly recommend doing it at a moment when tissues are accessible. I was a teary snotty mess walking home from my run today.)
Do what makes you fulfilled, love the people who deserve it, and remember that life is a magnificent process that carries on even when we’re not there to see it.