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Souza: Don’t wish your life away with existentialism

Souza%3A+Dont+wish+your+life+away+with+existentialism
Collegian | Trin Bonner

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

What is more human than fearing something inevitable?

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That’s the question I’ve been asking myself whenever I panic over getting older. Why am I scared to die if it happens to everyone? I’m nowhere near close to the end of my life — I’m not even halfway — but it’s something that I think about all the time.

To preface this, I know that I’m not very serious in a lot of my columns, which I think is mostly a good thing. I want to make other people laugh — myself even more. But I’m compelled to write this now because sometimes we need a reminder that we’re not alone in our thoughts.

I love my dying dog. At 15 years of age, she limps about my family’s kitchen in perpetual heart failure. We stopped giving her the heart medication because she shat herself for three days straight, so much so that her white fur turned brown. I joke about her with my friends all the time: “Lucy’s still ticking!” or “God’s little miracle!” And it’s all lighthearted, sure, but that’s only to mask how I actually feel.

“Today is only a fleeting moment before it becomes yesterday. Don’t wish your todays into yesterdays.”

Do dogs know when they’re about to die? Because every time my dad comes home, it’s like “God’s little miracle” will exist forever. She skitters around like a puppy again, and I feel like an asshole for thinking her time was up. Does she know how unlucky dog years are? Does she know and just not care?

I have all the time in the world to live compared to Lucy, and I think about my faraway death more than she thinks about her imminent one. What does that say about me?

I also think about Central Park and its benches. There are thousands of them. On almost every bench, there’s a plaque, and on almost every plaque, there’s a dedication. Thousands of eternally memorialized names, stories and relationships — decades of lives — summarized into a handful of letters on a bench. It’s a sad display of grief but a beautiful display of love — these people will always live far beyond their life spans with their names in our minds and on our lips. They are remembered by us even though we didn’t know them at all.

I used to look at future milestones — high school graduation, college — and mourn their completion before I even completed them. I thought that once they happened, I would be one milestone closer to dying, one milestone closer to having none at all. Life was a list of checkboxes, except I only wanted to prolong completion, just so I could exist in a limbo between progression and stagnation.

This way of thinking sucked the joy out of extremely joyful events. Instantly after they finished, after a monumental and irrefutably exciting part of my life, I would feel overwhelming anxiety with that part of my life ending. I couldn’t enjoy growing up because I feared growing old.

Even now, whenever I get too ahead of myself — lost in planning and future events, saying, “I wish it was next week,” or even, “I wish next week never came” — I think about something one of my close friends says all the time: “Do not wish your life away.”

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And she’s right. I was wishing my life away. I was so focused on trying to pause time, speed it up or change it in unchangeable ways to distract myself from an inevitable end. I was spending my time wishing life could move differently, that it could change differently, instead of existing in my time as it passed.

Death still scares me, of course, but it’s different now. I look at Lucy, who’s so old and still wakes up every morning looking at the world like it’s young. I remember the benches in Central Park displaying people who are long gone but spoken into existence every day. Even in stark moments where death’s existence is so evident, love fights to be seen.

I’m still working toward a better acceptance of life’s expiration, but I know that it starts with not wishing my days away. For decades more, there will be a tomorrow. But today is only a fleeting moment before it becomes yesterday. Don’t wish your todays into yesterdays.

Reach Emma Souza at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @_emmasouza.

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About the Contributor
Trin Bonner
Trin Bonner, Illustration Director
Trin Bonner is the illustration director for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration director, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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