To Die and to Live when Things Fall Apart

by Devina Gunawan

Before I start getting to the main point, let me promote a wonderful book my best friend Daniella loves so much: “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe.

Several friends have come to me and said one thing that I just thought shouldn’t be repeated:

“I want to die.”

Problems come and go, and more often than not, we let problems stick around longer than they should. We grill them into our brains and emotions, and we make sure that they leave a mark on us.

We tend to wonder if this is all we have, if this is all we get, and when is the good part of life going to come?

If I were God watching, I wonder if I’d be happy when the homeless and the sick could pray to say, “Thank you for this life,” and the sheltered and the well provided stopped praying and started saying, “This life sucks.”

If I were God, which group would I give more blessings to?

Now, that curiosity applies to those who believe that there is God. But for those who don’t?

If you don’t believe God exists and that you are taken care of, then you probably think that you write your own story and your own destiny.

And if that is the case, whose fault is it that you are living a life you can’t stand?

If your story is written by you, then whose fault is it that you are miserable?

Gratitude is something that is precious, and if we can show it, we are richer than we think. I would tell my friends, “You think your life is a nightmare and that you’d be better off dead. You aren’t dying of terminal illness, you aren’t homeless, you aren’t in jail, and I can go on with my list. But if you spend a day and visit those who don’t have what you have, maybe you will feel differently.”

And yet, none would listen. I would get a lot of, “Just because I’m not on the bottom doesn’t mean my situation isn’t bad.”

Okay. So I would let them grieve.

Mourn all you want.

But your life isn’t a pity game. Life isn’t going to feel bad watching you cry for days. Life isn’t what is wrong. It is how you view it.

What sounds better: hating your life and spending few days feeling depressed? or hating your life and spending the next few days changing your perspectives and your ways?

Which is more productive?

Now, some of you might have the worst of the worst cases. But there is one thing that we should not forget that is inevitable: we are all going to die.

Be it tomorrow, few months from now, few years from now, death is inevitable. It is also not depending on us. It isn’t in our control. We didn’t decide when and how we were born, and we certainly shouldn’t decide on when and how we will die.

Another thing that we should remember, is that life is full of surprises. It is a wheel of fortune, sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. But whatever stage you are in right now won’t last forever.

And this stage of you feeling like death is the best option will not last forever either.

But you have to get up in the morning and be thankful for the life you’ve been given. You aren’t fully aware of the wonderful things you are capable of doing in a day. You have not embraced the super power that you have been given, that you can make changes in your life just by changing the way you look at it.

Those who are the happiest are those who know how to be thankful. Those are people who laugh their problems away and think, “This is the life I have, and I’m going to love it no matter what.”

They don’t let life dictate how to feel, they show life their inner strength by smiling at obstacles and saying, “Let’s fight.”

So, which way of dealing with life do you want to go for?

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