June 20th, 2012

South Park Self, Disappointed

Identity Crisis (Part 1): Morbidity & Death

To anyone I've talked to within the last month or so, and not explicitly mentioned it, probably doesn't realize I'm going through something of a identity crisis. It's sort of like a midlife crisis, where you examine what you've done, where you are, and where you want to go, and see how you measure up, but I'm technically not at the midlife point of my life and this probably won't result in anything negative or too drastic. Maybe.

My question of identity revolves around multiple aspects of my life. Sexual, financial, professional, life goals, death, and possibly others. Each one could end up being several paragraphs long so I'm not going to try to shove them all into one entry. This is just the topic starter, and in a way the most depressing of them all.

There has also been a lot of morbid trends in my life recently that have further affected my mood. Two of my normal sources of humor, web comics, have turned extremely violent, morbid, and with very dark humor (if any). My niece, who has had major health problems most of her life, is "not doing well" (I'm the last to find out these things, and often with little or no detail). There have been a number of celebrity/etc deaths that get posted to Facebook, LiveJournal, etc. To top it off a huge percentage of things posted into my news feed on Facebook are also morbid, largely to do with one person's struggle with MS (I understand it's hard for you, and that it consumes a huge portion of your life, but you post so much, and almost all of it is about MS or politics, or both; it's depressing. Just because it's painful and depressing for you doesn't mean it should be depressing for everyone else as well, otherwise everyone is going to be too consumed with depression to get anything done).

Today I called my brother to inquire about our niece's condition. He actually didn't know much more than I did, and in fact had even more morbid news (though, thankfully, not about him). Maybe 5-10 minutes after I got off the phone with him my oldest sister called, the mother of the niece with the health problems. I was on the phone with her for over an hour, and maybe 20 minutes into the call I broke down. I got choked up, cried a bit, and explained some of my thoughts on life, death, and the various things going on that I'm questioning now. It was during this I made one realization: That as long as I can use my skills to improve someones quality of life then I want to live. If that means programming on education systems, or disaster recovery systems, or whatever can contribute to making the world a better place then I want to live.

I still have to come to terms with death, though. I have been at peace with it for a long time, but something has brought it back up and left me disturbed. When I think about death, how I'll feel about it, and realize that that's the big kicker: once I'm dead I won't feel about it, and that frightens me. It frightens me to realize that I'll stop thinking. How do I know I'm not already dead and everything is just in my head, so to speak. I still wish for voluntary immortality, but I need to accept it's probably not happening within my lifetime given the way our political environment and science and medical advancements are going. Instead I need to kindle an enthusiasm for life as much as possible. There's nothing wrong with being realistic, or facing facts, but whenever possible I want to put energy into the things I do, and not do them just because. I want to enjoy them, to revel in the novelty of whatever I'm doing. I don't want a 9-to-5 desk job where I mentally checkout and do things on automation. I want to think as much as possible about everything I can while I can, and not regret anything. Anything could happen tomorrow.