A Human Example

We are 14 days into the new year and I feel like I've been surrounded by death. Most recently: Lemmy, Bowie, Rickman. I know people are dying all the time not just celebrities, just like I know people born all the time, but it really feels immediate and heavy right now. 

Having also lost my mother to cancer maybe it all hits a little harder as the never ending news cycle rotates through the loss of artists I've looked up to. 

Not to mention this plague of public violence that seems to be getting worse every year, and the amount of strange and terrifyingly xenophobic rhetoric that is coming out of this election cycle. 

So it all makes me want to vent some thoughts on it, and this is my blog so...

Because Love is an Attachment and Attachment is Suffering. And so a million songs are sung. And a million poems are penned. 

I live in night. Always have. That's when I feel the world the most. Like the noise is turned down. The city moves quietly and I can finally think. I can let my mind can wander way beyond the limits of day.

When I was younger. In my early teens. I would stay up late. Lying in bed. Thinking about ideas of Forever. Trying to imagine the feeling of Nothingness. Blackness. Emptiness. Missing Time. Years passing by the thousands. Millions. Eons. The rise and fall of countless people and civilizations passing away. Worlds. Galaxies. The Universe born and expanding out forever then quietly burning out. I imagined life before I was born. The loves, the losses. How much happened. 

How much I missed.

I felt tuned into the endlessness of black space. It's wild stories of imagination. The air filled with folk songs of the past. Like a visionary radio station. Playing endless now gone music. From now gone voices.

It was on a night like that. When a voice came like the strum of a chord. And I sat up in bed. 

'What will they know about you?'

'I don't know what you're talking about,' I lied.

'What will they know about you?'

I sat still. Giving no answer.

'You... this body... when the flesh has worn off, and the maggots have tunneled through your eyes and out your ears, and the dirt has been packed and settled, and these things around here... This lamp. These books. These scribbled half-writings, and unfinished thoughts... everything you think is yours, when all of it has been sorted out into "things to be thrown away" and "things to be given away." What will be left of you? What will they know?' 

'I'm not sure,' the thoughts hurt more than I imagined. It was hollowing. 'I'm only 14.'

'14 now but that will pass quick. And age isn't an immunity from anything you know. Especially Death.'

'I know.'

'There are so many that have never lived to see a day much less 14 years.'

'I know.'

'And what have you done with it?'


'What have you done with your time? And how much more do you need? How many more years will it take to get you somewhere useful?'

And with an anger that comes with not having any answer. I tried to push out the thoughts. I snuck into the kitchen and drank a bottle of water. I paced the halls a bit. I stretched my body. Took deep breaths. I pulled out my CD player and put on Best of Beach Boys Vol.1. And for a moment I had forgotten those ideas. 

And the heaviness of sleep again fell on my brain. And I lay back in bed. And there was peace. 


'Go away.'

'How will they know you?'

'Go away.'

'You will only be the things you've done.'

'I am so much more than that. I am capable of,'
'Ha. That might actually earn you one tear. No one will know what you are capable of unless they see it. No one could ever know the secrets you keep for yourself.'

'Some know. They should know...'

'Maybe... but people won't remember that. Not long anyways... They mourn lost potential only for a moment. But what you say and do, that is your legacy. What you make... That is your memory. That is what people will carry. That is who you are. The things you make. That is all you are. If the action is great than your memory will be so much more. Potential is forgotten. Intentions are always lost. Dreams die with you. You will only be the things you've done.'

'And if I can't be great? If I can't make a legacy? If I'm only worth a single tear? What then?'

'What makes you think you can't be great?'

'You brought it up!' I fought back, 'You tell me what is great. Why don't you tell me!'



'Intentions are lost. Dreams die. You'll only be the things you've done.'

'You've said that already.'

Intentions, lost dreams, only.'

And that is how it left me. The voice in the darkness. I don't have to say I couldn't sleep well after that. 

That hollowness of confronting the feeling of Death has stayed with me. I think it haunts us all. And to this day, on a quiet night it might come back. 

These last few days maybe worse than I've had for a long time. I think that's what hits us harder about a celebrity dying. It makes the idea of something bigger seem small and human. It makes forever seem intimate. 

As I have gotten older I'm no longer worried about success on a grand scale. But I very much believe in the idea that we are our actions. And we can and should do great things with our brief moment of existence. Memorable things. For the world and especially for those around us, and that is more than enough to make a great legacy. 

To be a great human example.

American's may have an unhealthy obsession with celebrity, but it is a human one. Celebrities are avatars of our dreams and aspirations. Especially ones like Lemmy and Bowie. They are guys like us. They are the outsiders. The freaks. The strangers. And they succeeded in a fantasy way that we want. They say you could be this too. Or at the very least, you can be yourself and succeed. 

And they keep giving us more. Maybe this. This hollowness. This fear. Maybe it can be the motivator to make that one idea you've always had in the back of your mind. To say that one thing you've always wanted to say. To do whatever it is you want to do. To be yourself. 

You only have your actions. Live kindly. Make kindly. Share kindly. 

And what better way is there to be remembered?


ps. as always like, share, subscribe and if you want to talk you can reach me on this blog, facebook and twitter and R.I.P. to all the great ones famous or not.