Yeah, I know, that’s a rather heavy title I’ve chosen.
Believe it or not, the inspiration for this post comes from the end of a YouTube channel I’ve been watching.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very fond of Let’s Plays and video game walkthroughs. One of my favorite Let’s Players is this dude named Markiplier. (If you haven’t heard of him, that’s totally fine. All you need to know is that he’s a bombastic personality that usually makes an utter goof of himself as he plays games.) This past year, Markiplier and one of his fellow YouTubers created a channel called “Unus Annus.”
Though the name made me guffaw once or twice, it is actually supposed to denote the Latin for the phrase “One Year.”
The concept behind the channel is that Markiplier and his friend would keep it going, uploading a video a day (which is quite a feat) for one whole year. At the conclusion of that year, they would delete the channel, and all its content would be gone.
The majority of their videos were crazy antics and hilarious hijinks (like making breakfast using nothing but sex toys as utensils, getting pepper sprayed in the face, or bobbing for foods other than apples in a tub of water). But despite the juvenile nature of the videos, they made for the most enjoyable entertainment to watch during the quick twenty minutes I’d take to eat my lunch while working.
I grew to be quite fond of watching their videos, and I’d tune in regularly whenever a new one got uploaded. However, they made good on their promise, and when their one year was up, they held a livestream so fans could count down the final hours of their channel before deleting it permanently.
And then it was just gone.
I watched the livestream good-naturedly, more than willing to observe the end of something that had become part of my daily ritual. And when it was over, I went to bed that night with no qualms or bouts of sadness.
But on waking up, after working a bit in the morning, right when lunch rolled around, it finally hit me. It was just gone. No rewatching it for me. No new content for my lunch break. Nothing.
And it was that, a silly YouTube channel ending, that got me seriously thinking about dying.
Stupid, I know.
Books and games have frequently given me my most poignant thoughts about death. When a character I’ve gone on a journey with for however many hours of gameplay or pages I’ve turned just ceases to be, there’s always a moment of pause.
But whenever I actually stop and think about dying myself, I typically fixate on the little things. I think about movies I’ll never get to see. Sweaters I’ll never get to wear again. Conversations I might never have.
My “big” thoughts on death occur at night, when I’m trying to fall asleep and my mind is all, nah, you can stay up a few more hours. That’s when I get my what-happens-after-I-die thinking time in. There are practically an infinite number of things that could happen after you die. You could just cease to be, with your mind/soul/whatever just not existing anymore. You could become a ghost that haunts people. There could be a heaven. There could be an alternate dimension where you get to live life as a bunny creature until you die in that dimension and have to move to another dimension where you life as a cricket. You could be reincarnated. You could join in with a hivemind collective of other people who have died that just roams the universe.
It’s just this massive unknown.
And as of this writing, it does not terrify me.
I can see why it terrifies some people. Not existing is a pretty freaky idea. But I’m filled with unadulterated curiosity. And seeing death as inevitable just kind of heightens that.
I still feel embarrassed that a simple YouTube channel got me thinking about what it’s going to be like when I die, but you don’t get to pick and choose when you question your own mortality.
That said, that YouTube channel did perfectly illustrate that age-old, over-used saying about living life to its fullest. Those two YouTubers wasted no time and spared no expense to create the craziest content for their one year.
Eventually, life as I know it is going to be changed irrevocably, perhaps just erased off the face of the earth, so I want to spend every day I’m alive being happy. Or at least trying to be happy.
No, I’m not going to take up skydiving or other thrilling hobbies.
But I am going to try enjoying the best moments of my life, no matter how small.