0027 – I need you to be alive

Me on a pier in Oslo, June 2020

We exist in the eyes of others. On a fundamental level, I think that a large part of our happiness and will to survive comes from whether we matter to other people. Will anyone notice when we are gone?

There was a reddit thread a while ago that asked “how long would it take for you to be found if you had suddenly died?”. The answers ranged from hours to months. There are stories in Sweden, Norway and Northern europe in general that tell of people dying and not being found until the smell of their body leaks into the flats above and below. That makes me cry.

My friend can’t even take a shower without getting three missed calls. It’s no surprise he’s not on social media, he doesn’t need it. We can think of societal structures that create conditions for isolation and lonliness. We are meant to live alone in studios and when we meet someone, we’re meant to join houses and then you’re ‘set’. But just because you find refuge in coupledom it doesn’t necessarily make your life better because you could just be staying in it to escape having to go out into the wilderness again.

I think people date to not be lonely rather than to find connections. I think people date to escape from something bad rather than to aim for something better. It’s maybe a small but for me, it’s an important difference. It’s like scratching around for a meal like in the lyric I spoke about yesterday.

This is why when many people, especially men, lose their work they can spiral into depression. No one is expecting you to wake up, no one is expecting you to do anything. When there are no structures, no external expectations there is no drive. It’s like a plant in the darkness. Ideally we want to set up our lives to where we are expected to do better, to be better, we are expected to move closer to ourselves.

That’s I guess part of my beef with casual stuff. There are no expectations, per se. Well, I want to have expectations, I think that’s the most fun part. I want to be expected to show up, I want to be expected to be on my best behaviour and be considerate and empathetic. I want to be expected to be closer to my best self and I want to expect that of other people.

Responsibility is a privllege because not everyone is given it. Responsibility means that you’re actions have consequence and therefore your life has meaning. It’s a heavy burden to bear at times but that’s strength, isn’t it? To bear burdens.

A quick (or not so quick) and easy way to create expectations and responsibility is to have kids. They need you to be alive. If you don’t wake up and clean them they’re going to be rolling around in their own poop. If you don’t feed them they will literally die. Pets are a step down but fulfill the same role. They need you. They need you to be alive and therefore you need to be alive.

I used to be quite against people getting animals as an existential crutch but I’m less hardline about it now. Whatever, just go for it. Whatever keeps you alive and full of meaning, just do it. I don’t know about kids though because eventually kids wise up to their instrumental use and will never forgive you for it, or maybe not. You can decide.

I’m grateful for my family, the people close to me and my job. I feel needed. I am called to action every morning. I am also grateful to this writing practice. Every morning I wake up and write and write and write. I know that people are reading, people that care about me. I know that I will be reading these words in time and that when it’s all said and done I’ll have a million words to show what I thought during my short stint on this planet.

My body is sore now. Everything aches. I went to the gym last night and I’m making good progress. I’m up to 65 kgs on the bench press which is actually only 5kgs away from my ultimate goal of benching my own bodyweight. I think I can do that now actually, maybe with a one rep max. I think after that I’ll work on doing things with gymnastic rings.

The day beckons and the snow is still around. It is a beautiful Friday with a a sharp blue sky peaking through the branches and the buildings. My feelings about Germany is that it’s a somewhat functioning place and something that chugs along with not much fanfare or flair. Maybe it just does it’s thing. I have been thinking of Hong Kong or larger metropoles lately. I think of how and why people move to cities. It’s to find people, to find work, to find meaning. That’s the future, I think. Everyone will just coalesce into the cities and fight for their place in it. Ultimately we want proximity because we’re still people and people need people.

I wonder how it would be like to live completely virtual. Probably not too healthy. I can wake up in the morning and write but not to see someone at the end of the day, I’m not sure what that does to a person. And where do I belong? Not London, not Oslo, maybe Berlin? Maybe you just make your bed and you stay there. I think of those people who can bounce around the world and live out of hotels. I think of how it must be to keep switching and reforming habits and patterns, maybe that makes life more rich. I don’t know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *