One day you wake up in someone else’s life. Except you don’t, which is what sucks about it, because it feels like someone else’s life and looks like someone else’s life but you can still recognize all the signs of it being yours. The signs are all off-kilter and wrong, but they’re there. Everything has been shuffled and shifted just a fracture of an inch and it’s enough to blow your mind if you had the clarity to recognize it.
Today I let a complete stranger into my home because they confronted me on the street and asked for some help. I don’t know this person, or the person they were talking about, or whether this person really is diabetic or stuck, or needs the money, or is targeting me, or is anything else. They came up to me on the street and told me a story of hardship and tried to make me feel badly for them. So I let them into my home.
I didn’t let them into my home because I felt badly. I let them into my home because I just didn’t care.
I listened to their story and tried to care, but the truth is I just didn’t.
I don’t care that I have never woken up more unhappy in my life; that I had to scrape off my car again; that I don’t have a place to live in a few months; that I don’t have anyone to talk to about the things I’m experiencing; that my hand was bleeding; that I have to go to work later; that I’m going to drink too much and probably endanger my life this week; that this person is cold or hungry or needing cash; that I had cash, or food, or shelter at the moment; that my life might be in danger from this person; that it’s whatever day of the week it is; that I have a job; that I cried for the first time in years on my kitchen floor because for once coffee didn’t seem important to finish; that I finished coffee eventually; that my cat just wanted to snuggle with me.
Nothing really mattered at all. I didn’t care about this person or what they were going through, but they asked if I could help, and I had some cash in my pocket that was as meaningless to me as this person; I had heat I could let this person into for a minute; there were things in my home I could give this person to eat for sake of their blood sugar. Why not? Why not anything, for that matter? Why not let a stranger into your home and make them a sandwich and give them the money in your pocket? What the fuck are you going to do with it anyway? Have plans for that sandwich later? Have plans for that cash tomorrow? Have plans? Have plans for what? Plans. Plans are just as meaningless and empty as a car in the snow without gas. They might seem nice, in your head, but the reality doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.
It’s easy to pretend you’re a swell person. Why not? You’re probably a swell person. That’s good enough. Plan on being a good person and you’ll probably be okay. But what happens when you just don’t care? What happens when you realize that being a “swell person” just means pretending to be decent? Why the need to demonstrate it or tell someone about it? That doesn’t make it any more true; if anything, the more you need someone to know, the less likely it is to be true. It’s all bullshit, all ego. So wake up, be a swell person, live life being a swell person because life is treating you well, and that’s swell.
What you do on the worst day of your life is different, when every single moment you just want to shatter the very bones that are holding you up to endure the day you’re so angry at, when every voice you hear just makes you feel like screaming. On the worst day of your life, you don’t care. For the first time, you’re set free, you step aside and see just how goddamn insubstantial all the boundaries that define your perspective and way of life are; how they’re just as arbitrary as the socks you were wearing twelve days ago (tell me, what socks were you wearing?).
What you do on the worst day of your life is stop caring for the first time probably ever; about maintaining the illusion of control and composure; about perpetuating the idea you have made about who you are; about safety or danger or plans or money or yourself or this person you’re talking to at any given moment; about getting enough sleep or being on time or closing the front door; about eating well or meditating or reading or being good at your job or finishing that book you were writing or drawing you were doing or hobby you were learning or accomplishing those dreams you had.
The conventions of life are just falling snow; when enough of it gathers, you feel like you can’t get out, get away, dig yourself free, shake off the feeling, or even imagine your life at all without being surrounded by it and covered in it. All you care about is the snow, because it’s so overwhelming that you can’t focus on anything else, not really, not properly. You love it, in fact. It’s easier, because you’re so buried in it you don’t have to look at yourself.
What you do on the worst day of your life is stop caring about the snow. Anyone can lose; try not to let that overwhelm you. It’s just snow. Fuck off.