Previously: The seventh
I don’t like happy endings. I don’t like sad endings. I don’t like endings!
I feel terrible when I am at the last few pages of a book or in the last few episodes of a series, especially those whose characters I can relate to or whose stories I wish I could have lived. Close to the end I have to face the fact it’s all fiction, the product of someone else’s mind, that the characters and their stories will forever end with a period or with the credits and everything will vanish — OK, there might be sequels, but at that moment it is an end nevertheless — And when I finally finish the story, if feels like death.
That’s probably one of the main reasons I don’t kill myself. It’s true that many times I want my story to finish, many times I want to get to the end already, but the problem is that the very idea of an end is something that I despise! I don’t want stories to end, I want to know what happens next, and next, and next — I want them to go on forever!
On the other hand, I can perfectly see that life is meaningless. If you are a good or bad person, rich or poor, smart or stupid, happy or unhappy; if you live for 10, 20, 40, 80 years, whatever, it all disappears, it all ends, just like the story of a book — it may have some importance for those who are still alive, but their memories of you is not really you, and well, they will disappear too anyway…
But I realized something: it’s exactly by being meaningless that life allows itself to be worth living. If it doesn’t matter what you do, and if it doesn’t matter if you live or not, any decision you take, to live or to die, is equally reasonable. For instance, you may decide to die exactly because you know life is meaningless and there is no point in doing anything — fine, that’s totally reasonable and understandable, and I just won’t say “rest in peace” because it is not a rest, it is the end of your existence — or you may decide to live simply because you want to see the story: you have been given body, mind, conscience, senses, and you’ve been equipped with these crazy little things called emotions that make living such a crazy experience — meaningless like fiction, but yet quite interesting for our species.
We are free to create purposes for life. The lack of meaning in it doesn’t imply that we all should simply rush to death, the same way we don’t need to ignore fiction just because it is not real. The chance we are given to live is meaningless indeed, but we are allowed to experience all kinds of things with our body and mind, especially emotions. Meaningless pleasure, meaningless pain, meaningless joy, meaningless sadness — meaningless, but real; meaningless, but we feel.
Hanging around to live this story doesn’t give life a meaning, but it is a good enough reason for not rushing to the inevitable last page of our lives.
One important thing that follows from all this is that life will only be worth for you if you are living it the way you want, not the way others expect you to live. If you live it according to someone else’s will, you’re not living your story, you’re just being a supporting character or an extra on somebody else’s story. You shouldn’t let it happen. What’s the point of living a meaningless life if you can’t at least live it according to your own will? You could even argue that it makes no difference, as life lacks real meaning and purpose, but what about your feelings? Your emotions? They are real, and as long as you live, they will mean everything to you.
Life is meaningless, living is not.
— Ultimately, that’s why I didn’t jump from the bridge three years ago. That’s also why I didn’t kill myself after my two last failed attempts to succeed in life. And that’s how I finally got the courage for a last attempt at life, a radical attempt to give my story a chance of an ending that at least is a happy one…