Death and the End of All Things

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.

11 thoughts on “Death and the End of All Things”

  1. Ohh. Some Real Talk! I’m here for it. Nice meditative reflection. It’s common to reflect like this when faced with sudden change or uncertainty (which is basically the theme of this year!).

    I don’t even think it’s silly to mourn a beloved YouTube channel, lol. (What an amazing concept for a channel though!) I sometimes feel this way when I finish a book, or TV show, or a game I’m emotionally invested in. Seeing a narrative come to its natural conclusion reminds you of the finality of everything.

    In fact, I can never just jump from one fictional universe to another. I have to go through a sort of processing phase to reflect on what I’ve just experienced and kind of recalibrate my emotions (now THAT’s an embarrassing admission!). It’s why I like to sandwich something light and fun (a silly comedy or playful platformer) before getting back on the horse with a new serious drama or whatever. It almost feels like I need to mentally ‘digest’ what I’ve just experienced before I can move on to something new. It also feels somehow disrespectful to flit frivolously between fictional universes, like I must first go through some sort of mourning phase to attain closure. (JFC, I’m so weird and neurotic, lol. It’s not that serious.)

    Anyway, I realise you weren’t just talking about your relationship with media! It’s good that the whole notion of mortality doesn’t weigh you down. You seem to have a pretty healthy attitude towards it all. I guess there’s little point agonising about something that can’t be controlled. May we all enjoy long, prosperous lives 🙂

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    1. Might I also recommend the album ‘Carrie & Lowell’ by the seminal American artist Sufjan Stevens. It’s a meditative album about life and death (spurred by the death of his mother), so very much in line with your post.

      This is the opening track ‘Death with Dignity’.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dude! I adore Sufjan Stevens! He is one of my favorite things to listen to in the morning. I gave his new album a listen about a week or two ago. (I’m not as fond of it as some of his older work, but it’s still neat to have in the background.)

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s funny, but media and stuff is how I best relate to mortality. I’m totally with you there. Having beloved stories and games end almost feels like preparation for death. (This is getting totally morbid, but I’m hoping in a good way.)

      Your practice of playing an easygoing game after finishing up a narrative-heavy one is so relatable! I do the exact same thing!

      This year has definitely been one for thinking about the uncertainty of life, and I’m hoping that next year turns out to be some kind of wonder year in an attempt for the universe to karma-balance how terrible 2020 was.

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  2. You know what? Props to Markiplier and Unus Annus for following up with the year commitment. I’m impressed and surprised. I didn’t expect the story to end that way. I expected to hear they’d decided to carry on and capitalize on their popularity.

    I’m growing cynical.

    Though I’m sorry you miss them. It’s okay. It’s not a “small thing”. It’s weird isn’t it, the tendency we have to belittle or apologize over the things that are important to us? Probably why I’m keeping my new affection for Funko Pop a secret.

    I enjoy your view of possible afterlives. Mine are much more mundane in their potential. The bunny-cricket evolution is one I complete missed. I enjoyed it. I think I will get more creative with my afterlife-imaginings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Being creative with afterlife imaginings is a frightfully delightful pastime.

      However, now I simply must know more about your Funko Pop collection. I have a few myself, and I’m figuratively dying to know more about what you have so far.

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      1. The first was Wonder Woman. Then Black Widow. Then another WW. Then Mary Poppins. I’m going with “kickass women” as the theme. I’m hunting Buffy. What did you pick?

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      2. I’ve gotten two Batmans and a Joker as a gift, I’ve also got Daenerys Targaryen, a Big Daddy from BioShock, and Master Chief. And I personally went out of my way to get an exclusive Ghus (an adorable character from a comic book that looks like a baby seal) and a Xenomorph from Alien.

        Liked by 1 person

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