Another chapter from the book.

‘If you knew how quickly people forget the dead

You would stop living to impress people

Christopher Walken

I know he’s an actor but actors can be wise too can’t they? Not Adam Sandler or the bloke who plays Mrs Brown in ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ mind, but some can have a bit behind the eyes I reckon.

You might also be put off by the fact that I’ve just told you that you’ll soon be forgotten once you die, and nobody likes to hear that, do they? We all like to think we’re the centre of the universe, and we aren’t far wrong, because we’re the centre of our universe, that’s why we think everybody cares about the tiny details in our lives like we do. Be serious now, do we honestly believe that we’re impressive or important enough to factor heavily into people’s everyday lives? Aside from your immediate family, or whoever you live with, what you do for the most part has no impact on the rest of us, but don’t take that as an insult, take that as a freedom. If you absorb this idea then surely the shackles are off? You can be who you want to be far more often in life & that is one path of many to internal happiness. Sure, we all say we don’t care what others think of us but we really do don’t we? That’s why we wear clothes outside & you don’t say the first thing that comes to your mind in conversations, even if you might want to. There is no shame in that by the way, we all have to fit in to society & play by the general rules of society, so don’t start telling your co-workers to piss off & do one on the premise that it won’t matter when you’re dead, because currently, you are not dead…and you have to face the consequences of that tomorrow morning in the manager’s office. Then you might be dead.

(Don’t get sacked from your job & blame this book, I will not care)

The best thing to do is find the line of ‘this will not be remembered when im dead’ & ‘I might live another 50 years so will this fuck that up?’ and live on that tiny bastard as long as you can. It’s easy to just yell YOLO (‘You Only Live Once’ for anyone born before 1985) and suddenly become super inspired for the moment, but there are things called actions and reactions my friend, and by yelling YOLO as you quit your job you may fuck your life up & bring a whole new set of problems, namely how you’re gunna provide food & shelter in the winter months. YOLO’ing as you sleep under bridges isn’t freedom and don’t let any motivational speaker convince you it’s part of the process either. He just wants to sell you his new book (cough cough).

(Again, Do not quit your job & blame this book, I will not care)

In my day job I sit next to the same person for 12 hours of the day, and I couldn’t tell you what they wore yesterday if my life depended on it, but if that person wore it again today, I bet they would be paranoid & wildly insecure thinking that everyone has noticed & they’re in the canteen putting posters up about it. Get over yourself. Nobody cares that much. You yourself notice every fine detail in your own life because it’s YOU experiencing it, whatever you do in life is magnified because you are bang in the middle of it, but everyone else has their own little universe going on, just like you do, and they’re at the centre of that, so why do you think they are noticing what you do & care about what you do? Do you take in everything everyone else does? I’ll guess at no, but you think everyone does about you? Come on now, have a word. You’re no superstar.

All of us are on social media putting up our latest accomplishments, our fancy things, projecting the best life that we can…but the bizarre thing is we all know that we are all faking it, yet we still do it. We’ve all agreed to keep up the charade. It feels nice to get a load of likes, sure, but that is a quick, empty hit that fades until you need it again, that’s when we can spiral into chasing this appearance that we’ve created, thinking that people we may or may not know, expect from us. We ourselves become stressed, insecure, depressed etc because we think that if we post a picture of what our partner bought us for our birthday, people may look at it on Facebook & think ‘is that all?’…

1. They’ll never say it to you so who cares if they are thinking it? It’s just a passing judgement in their head, it’ll never reach you, stop doing the work for them.

 2. Are you going to sour your own enjoyment by letting the possibility of someone talking about you ruin it? Be honest, we’ve all passed judgement on someone at some point, we look at people on social media & think they’re weirdos, faking it or just plain begs, but so what? Did anything come of it? For you or them? You’ve probably forgotten more judgments you’ve made on people than you can remember, and those judgements never reached that individual…so what now? It may as well have never happened. 

Now reverse that thinking. 

What people think of you is none of your business, stop living for opinions that will never come to you anyway. Nobody will come to your funeral & announce that they didn’t like your outfit this one time in 2021, if you like the outfit, wear the fucking outfit. Do you want to be moulded so much by society that you lose your unique individuality? Bring your uniqueness to the world because look around you, none of us have the answers to anything, just because there’s loads of us doesn’t mean we can tell you how to live, shit, we’re in the same boat as you are! We wanna live too, someone just needs to get the ball rolling to inspire everyone else to break out of the mould & start expressing their true self. Let it be you.

That ended way too wholesome for my liking, let me bring you back down to earth quickly…

The harsh truth is, when you die, you will be mourned for the initial few weeks, then into months, but only by the people closest to you, then as it turns into years, you’re thought about less & less until one day, you’re thought about for the last time by the last remaining person that remembered you…and this is when you die for the second time. That’s it. It’s all over. You now no longer exist ANYWHERE. 

Are you having a crisis yet? If you aren’t, think about it some more until you do.

Look how quick that went, in the blink of an eye, born, died & then forgotten about. Do a quick thought experiment with me, put the book down for 30 seconds, take a deep breath & think about that timeline as someone else in a movie for example;

 ‘Born, lived, died, forgotten about for eternity’.

Now ask yourself, in that timeline, why the fuck did you care about how someone looked you up & down in a restaurant once? See how silly this all is when you zoom right out & look at death that way? Trivial matters that you think are the most important right now, very often are forgotten about soon enough with no outcome. If that fails, try remembering what you were worried about on this very day 10 years ago (without checking Facebook memories you cheater), I bet you haven’t got a clue, but at the time something was probably going on, you were trying to impress a romantic partner, or a friend, worrying about appearances…could be anything. The point being, when you’re ‘in the moment’ you convince yourself everything is super important & your world will crumble if you do the wrong thing, yet here you are, only a decade later, and it turns out everything was just fine. Why do you not think 10 years from now everything will also be fine? Relax a little, you were worried in school weren’t you? How stupid does that feel now? If only we had schoolyard problems as grown ups! Let’s go bigger, look how insignificant your worries about the world were 10 years ago, let’s now try to think how ridiculous they will all sound when you’re about to die. If we’re lucky enough to get a bedside vigil so we can gather our loved ones around a hospital bed to reminisce about our time on this planet, you aren’t going to say how glad you were that you held back & didn’t express yourself. 

Nobody has a eulogy that ends with ‘didn’t they fit into society well’.

If you want to start a business, a hobby or a change of direction in life but you think you’ll look stupid doing it, you have two choices here;

  1. Let that fear stop you, you’ll feel ‘comfortable’ in society but you’ll die inside knowing you surrendered to people’s ideas you don’t even know. How foolish are you to not live up to your potential because some people from school you don’t like might talk about you in their Whatsapp group chat? Really!? Will you be OK with that looking back in 10 years time? 
  1. Accept that people will talk about you and possibly ridicule you, but 9 times out of 10 you’ll never hear it anyway, so as hard as it might be, go do whatever you want to do & take glory in the fact that you’re out here as in individual, leaving your imprint on the world, whether it works out or not is fine, you can say you were in charge of your life & you weren’t bound by smalltime thinking of those who weren’t brave enough to let the world see them.

You probably know someone who has passed away right? Unless they hurt you real bad I am almost certain that you only think fondly of them & the times you knew them, and not tiny negative details you once thought about how they were a bit cringe or whatever, even if you do, in hindsight, those little cringe moments you once judged become a fond memory of how unique they were, this will be the memory of you one day (only for a short while remember), appreciate this and let yourself go freely. 

You either please people & you suffer internally for it or you begin to please yourself and let them suffer it however they need to. Pick one & shut up.

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