You guys, I moved to this plane of existence 43 years ago. 43 years! That’s a long time! When I came here in the ‘70s, this world was a totally different place. No internet, for one thing. We had itchier clothes in unpleasant fabrics. But we put up with it, because we were tougher and we didn’t know any better. And of course, I was different too — when I first showed up here, I was a literal baby, all stubby limbs and fontanelle. But I stuck it out, through the ’80s (bullies, neon), the ’90s (flannel, moping), and beyond (9-11, childbirth).
Yet here I am, in the cursed year 2020, looking around and wondering, what the hell am I doing here? So many of the things that made this mode of existence cool are gone, or nearly so. Remember presidents who, while not perfect, were at the very least human adults? Remember polar ice caps and seas full of living things? Remember sitting in a cozy room full of friends, smiling at one another with uncovered faces? Remember democracy?
People make a lot of arguments for sticking around despite all the things we’ve lost, and, look, I get it. I love food. I love music. I enjoy the love of my family — I really do. Maybe all the things that have disappeared will come back. But it doesn’t look good, folks. In fact, it looks pretty bleak, and sometimes you have to take a long, honest look at the pros and cons and come to some hard conclusions.
And honestly, I know a lot of this stuff in this world wasn’t all it was hyped up to be anyway. It feels like society is collapsing, sure, but was it really that good to begin with? I’m embarrassed I didn’t see how disappointing this place was for so many people before. It’s like suddenly being aware that, say, your sidewalk smells like piss — and always has. There’s not enough real rain in the world, folks.
I know, I know, it seems like everyone who leaves this mortal coil is contractually obligated to write an essay about how lame it’s all gotten. And truth be told, a lot of those essays point to something I’m willing to cop to about myself — that there’s something wrong with me, that I’m missing some key ingredient that makes me able to hack it here. It’s not you, Earth, baby, it’s me. But whether the fault lies with the world or with my rotten self, it’s probably better for all of us if I just shuffle off.
With that said, I don’t want to end on a sour note. I don’t have to experience this as anything more than running away — it’s okay to be excited about what I’m running towards. Are the schools good on the other side? Is the air fresher? Will I finally have a washer-dryer in my own house? I have no idea, but I do know one thing: when I get there, I absolutely will not care.