The idea that we only have so much time, and that none of us can know exactly how much life we’re going to get…this has been a huge source of anxiety for me, all my life. When I was young, I used to experience very intense discomfort when thinking about the potential of a full and complete apocalyptic end to our planet, and I think it would be fair to say that this is a concern that never left, as I grew older. It just changed shape.

When I was in my late teens, I drifted into a culture/society where fixation on the end was sort of the main idea. It didn’t start out that way, but that was how it ended up, and once I’d gotten deep enough into that world, I essentially found a sort of real-life Charlie Manson version of things. And it sucked me in.

It never felt right. They used ideas and language that presented things one way, but then in real life we were just a bunch of kids, full of passion and hope for the world, all just getting yelled at, and smoke-screened, and gaslighted, and then patted on the back and encouraged before we, one by one, slunk off into the dark night of the soul, each to continue drifting into more and different versions of that fear.

There were true believers who stayed and continued to go along with things, long after many of us had left, broken, jaded, disillusioned…

At long last, when it all ended, though, I am told that some action was taken, to pursue legal accountability in some form, but I’m not quite sure how that shook out.

Alcohol and oblivion became my refuge, in those days, but try though I might to drink myself out of reality, it was always still there when I woke up in the morning. There was rehab, and relapse, and trouble of all sorts. One day, I woke up with a world burning down, and I found that my fears and obsessions had become self-fulfilling prophecy, and that Charlie had won, in a sense. My flailing about had fully and finally broken my family apart, and everything which followed now would be aftermath.

I kept fighting. Many years later, I’m still fighting to deconstruct that fear in a lasting way.

The truth is that the world is ending,

But it ends for each of us,

One at a time.

There’s nothing we can do to stop that.

The truth is also that I don’t have to let it drive me crazy.

I get to decide what I think about,

And how I think about it,

No matter what it may seem like to my undisciplined mind,

In the heat of the moment,

When it all feels like too much.

Just because it feels like it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

I get to decide what ‘too much’ is,

And what ‘not enough’ means,

And what ‘just right’ boils down to,

For me.

And this is true about everything.

The truth is still beautiful,

Even when this life is nothing but pain.

Mercy still triumphs over judgment,

Even if they will burn me alive with their words,

For saying so.

By Ben Wolf

It's a secret!

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