Flying down a barren California interstate highway. I’ve given up, but the notebook I carry says otherwise. A plan was devised, a last grasp of hope. The plan, playing through my head on repeat. Fill my pockets with rocks and jump. But, what’s life without choices? I was going to leave it in the hands of strangers. The notebook was meant to be filled with stories and words of encouragement from strangers.
I never did get a single pen mark in the damn notebook.
I was willing to give fate a chance to stop the decision I’ve worked towards for so long. I drove to another state, so as to not be stopped. This decision was between me and the ocean. Nothing else. I had envisioned maybe having this beautiful moment, of approaching strangers genuinely asking for help, and to share our stories. Once I arrived though, I quickly realized that I suck at approaching people to spark up a conversation.
I stopped off at a mall. People watching. Parents, kids, couples… Life. Just, living. Who was I to bother someone else’s day with my suicide? So I walked, aimless in intent. The worst thing I’ve ever done. I found myself inside a Zumiez or something, some young associate guy came up and asked me if I needed help with anything.
I instantly just blurted out, “Hey uhh… I’m here to kill myself. Just kind of taking everything in, and maybe talk to some people before I do”. Understandably this dude was stunned and just said a simple “oh.” I responded with “yeah… Just killing time, I suppose” (even in sorrow, my dark, shitty wordplay humor can’t be stopped). He said “yeah.” And with that I said goodbye and walked back out.
If you’re out there, somewhere, Zumiez Kid, I am so, so sorry to have done that to you. I’m fine now though, everything worked out. I hope you had a better rest of your day.
Today, I live each day as if it is borrowed time. Death is a shadow that watches my every move. To be so close to dying, or at least the decision of dying. What an important lesson to learn. Nowadays, everything I get to experience is an absolute privilege. I am thankful to sit in traffic, to do the dishes, to wake up in the morning and go to work. Because there is alternate reality where I simply do not.
I get the opportunity to look at birds doing their own thing. There is nearly an infinite number of dogs I get to meet (I’ll even get to pet some of them!!). There is still so many jokes to be laughed at. I get to do things like the Stay Awhile Project and hang out with all of you guys.
If I left this Earth, I would have never met my three nephews, with a fourth on the way. I would have never been Spider-Man for my oldest nephew’s 5th birthday, being chased around the yard by a group of 30 sugar-rushed children. I never would have been able to see the absolute magic in their eyes at the gates of Disneyland. I don’t know what the future holds for those children, but I know I want to be here to experience their growth. To celebrate and honor their lives. To lay down my own experiences, so that they may exist atop my shoulders.
I am forever thankful that I can be an uncle to those boys, and not just a story ending with “I really wish you boys had the chance to meet him”
If you ever need to talk, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Shoot me an email or a message on our social media. Seriously. I’m always up for conversation.