It was 2009.
And I was going to be turning twenty-one years old in May, and there was something about the transition from teenager to ‘real’ adulthood-that shocked me into a genuine existential panic, usually reserved for people turning fifty.
I remember thinking that life was passing me by so fast. And everyone else was aging in hyperspeed, too.
Everybody was going to be dead soon.
My parents would die.
My friends would die.
My older sister had just graduated from university; I could remember her going off to secondary school only moments ago, it seemed, in her big blazer, and she had just graduated? Where did the time go? Obviously it wouldn’t be long before she was dead.
Ok, maybe a tad dramatic but these were genuinely my thoughts.
What was the point of all this?
The strangest thing about this crisis was that nothing in particular had spurred it. No friend or relative had died, giving me my first taste of mortality, nor had I read or seen anything particular about death.
This panic I was feeling at age twenty-one was nothing less than a spontaneous and full-out realisation of mortality’s inevitable march.
I wanted to call a time out, to demand that everybody just STOP until I could understand everything.
Of course, my efforts and worry were futile, as life was going to inevitably happen.
But I still wanted to try.
The trouble is thought, life, if we keep chasing it so hard, will drive us to death.
Time – when pursued like a bandit – will behave like one; always remaining one country or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair colour to elude you, slipping out the back door like a one night stand.
So we must sit still and allow contentment to come to us.