I referenced the classic rock band Queen in my last post in this series and have done so again: no matter how downtrodden, defeated, or demoralized you become, the most important thing to do is keep yourself alive.
I mean this literally. Don’t kill yourself. And if you’re seriously thinking about killing yourself, seriously talk to someone about it—family, friends, neighbors, professionals—whatever it takes. Chances are there’s someone reading this who can benefit directly from such advice, given that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for younger Americans and that there are far more people who think about it than who actually carry it out. The reason they don’t carry it out can be as simple as learning that someone cares about them. My message is I care.
I don’t care because I think life is precious or because I’m naive enough to assume things will get better. Everyone dies at some point; therefore, things can get better only for the moment. While this may sound bleak, I think it’s the best reason against suicide. In a rare moment of vulnerability, my late uncle expressed to me that in his hours of despair, he thought of the Egyptian mummies he learned about on the history channel (he watched a lot of television). He explained that these people had been dead for thousands of years, and he had only been alive for a few decades. If death is inevitable, why rush it?
Sometimes cynical arguments are the most convincing, and I have my own in the context of unemployment, which researchers consider a major risk factor for suicide. My argument is to live on just to spite all the college recruiters who laughed at your SAT scores, the hiring managers who ignored your calls, and the bosses who laid you off. The best revenge is showing up all the doubters and naysayers. I’ve been fortunate in the sense that I tend to be overestimated rather than underestimated, but I still have a chip on my shoulder—one that gets me up every morning, brews my coffee, and compels me to write tips for fellow unemployed people so that they/you can help me stick it to the man.
This is what I live for because I, like you, am tired of passively waiting for the next big break or sacrificing authenticity for “professionalism.” To me this will kill the soul as fast as a gunshot to the head kills the body (almost two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides, by the way), so I say: if you’re feeling angry, express it (just don’t hurt anyone); if you’re feeling sad, cry; if you’re feeling confused, ask questions; and if you’re feeling suicidal, get help. Get help because there is certainly no dream job waiting for you in heaven—or hell.
Previous posts in this series:
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