I think we can all agree, that so far 2020 has been off to a rickety start. Rickety meaning, depressing, hopeless and very, very grim.
I try to read the news every day, but I’ve been finding that increasingly difficult, loading the page with my eyes poking out between my fingers, expecting a bombshell to be dropped upon my morning coffee in bed.
The narcissistic lunatic that is POTUS, Donald Trump, was acquitted and survived the impeachment most of us had been crossing our fingers for.
Brexit actually happened, the UK is officially out of the EU, but we’re still quite puzzled and standing around wondering what that actually means.
The Coronavirus has surpassed its predecessor, SARS, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. There will be a global shortage of masks, cases are cropping up in Europe and xenophobia and racism towards Asian populations are on the rise.
Australia is burning, although, in the panic of the coronavirus, it seems this one has slipped from news headlines and hopefully, recent downpours have offered some aid.
Bumblebees are truely facing extinction this time.
Things are looking bad, and the melancholy reaction to the world is contagious and unavoidable.
But somehow, we’re all still going on as we mean to. It reminds me of what I imagine wartime to be like, a terrifying possibility becomes a reality and we all just have to sort of get on with it.
Growing up as the worry-wart I was and am, I don’t think I could have imagined how severe climate change would get. I couldn’t have even fathomed the idea of misinformation on the internet and fake news, of actual buffoon’s running countries and the lines that hold democracy becoming blurred.
Nevermind man-made fires in the Amazon, fragile economies and a (so far) uncurable pandemic.
I almost laugh, when I think of a fifteen-year-old version of me processing the realities I try to grapple with now on the daily.
Obviously, it would be impossible, which is why generally youths are minorly cloaked to the harsh truths of our world.
But then, when does the point really come, when we are equipped with the tools to process it as adults? That line is becoming blurry-er as the generations roll in.
I would say, with all these overwhelming external factors, I’ve had a rather death-anxiety fuelled week, as is not unheard of in my books.
I watched the final episode of NBC’s The Good Place, a comedy series about the afterlife, and who deserves to get into The Good Place (heaven), or who is doomed to The Bad Place (hell).
The entire four seasons have been filled with nuanced views on mortal life and death, whip-smart references to pop culture and a general frankness about the imperfections of humans.
It’s always given me some comfort, watching all these technically dead people, zipping around the afterlife, defeating demons, fighting for their moral compass and generally saving human existence.
I think naively, my brain thought; great. Religion aside, there’s something waiting. Something as poetically simple as Good, and Bad.
So imagine my surprise, (*SPOILERS AHEAD*) when following the successful saving of humanity and the one-way ticket to the Good Place, three of the protagonists all choose the option of leaving, when they felt ready.
By choosing to leave, I mean that was it. No more after-life, no more existing. Simply, “a wave returning to the ocean” as Chidi the philosopher, heart-breakingly framed it.
This is not what I signed up for when I got hooked on a short, clever, comedy series that was supposed to ease my worries about dying, not force me to confront them.
Though a happy ending, I was left with a sour taste, shocked that after fighting so long to get in and experiencing the utter bliss that is the Good Place, they finally got tired and felt a “calmness” that signaled their time was up.
One of the eternal beings who had never truly been human (Micheal) decided to head to earth to see what it feels like, and experienced the joyful mystery of being human and the uncertainty about life after death (assuming the Good Place system had imploded by then).
The only character I felt a certain kinship with was Tahani, who decided to up her skills and then become an architect, further designing tests for recently deceased humans to decide their fate.
I know, in reality, that the point they were trying to convey is that life is unpredictable and complicated, and we must live happily and morally fulfilled, and in our final hour, we can be satisfied with the life we lived.
Clearly, I’m not at that moment of acceptance just yet, but, like my fifteen year old self unable to process the world I live in now, I have to hope that the future me will be able to process whats in store, when it arrives.