Photo Credit: Evan Brooks
Just now, I know what death feels like, as I stand over my own grave pondering how I ended up in such a place. I have always known how fragile life was, but when you are standing face to face with your own tombstone, you have to question your own understanding of true fragility. As I look back on my life, on the circumstances that led me to where I am today, I am faced with a question: Did I live the way that was necessary, or the way I wanted?
Necessary living for me would have entailed keeping a good relationship with sleep — getting up on time after going to bed at a reasonable hour. Speaking of relationships, a necessary aspect of my life would have been reaching out more, experiencing and creating new friendships and maybe even finding and building a relationship where I could grow and mature with someone else. It is necessary, in my mind, to do what is not always easy, but needed for fulfillment and ease of mind. Ease of mind is something I do not possess, as I warm the air around his granite rock, inscribed with my name.
No, I failed to do what was needed to live a full life, and instead lived the way I wanted: selfishly and filled with unproductivity. Normally, living on your own terms sounds like the dream, but living the way I wanted was a nightmare. My circadian rhythm beat erratically, not because I could not sleep, rather because I deemed it more important to scroll through social media. I lived a life of want, by comparing myself to everyone that was not me, and seeking enjoyment out of other people’s travels and posts. I was somehow, at the same time, so full of myself that I thought I never needed to study, or take notes, or put in the work. I believed I was somehow better than everyone else, even though I lived off their lives they posted about all the time. I compared myself to others, while thinking I was smarter than the world.
Want and necessity are subjective, but objectively, as I case my faint transparent shadow over the dirt mount my coffin lies beneath, I can say some truths to life. Take control of your destiny, do not squander your invaluable time on things that do not positively impact the world around you in some way. Yes, it is important to ensure you have time where you can reward yourself, but overdoing it leads to no longer understanding how valuable those rewards are, or what they are even for. Lastly, love yourself for who you are, but remain grounded in the truth that you do not, nor will you ever, know everything, and that is fine.
These truths I failed to live, and because of that, I lived a life I wanted rather than the one I needed. Necessity and want are up to the individual, but know once your clock has stopped ticking… once the last grain of sand has left the top of your hourglass, the only thing saving you from regret or a life not fulfilled, is the path you look back on from in front of your grave.
Evan Brooks is a fourth-year Business Management major with minors in Economics and Civic & Professional Leadership. EB916132@wcupa.edu