This week, I’ve been too caught up on encouraging messages of “YOU CAN!”. It’s almost the start of semester, and with all the lively new students and orientation events going on, I thought everything is possible.
Being excited about life is never a bad thing…
“I did it all
I owned every second that this world can give
I saw so many places and things that I did
With every broken bone
I swear I lived” -One Republic, “I lived”
…but tonight as I surfed the internet, I came across the public suicide note of Martin Manley.
Martin Manley is a 60 yr old sports statistician who CHOSE death logically. He created a website and prepaid yahoo to put it up for 5 years (the site was nevertheless put down 2 days after his death because apparently it contained elements that could convince others to do the same).
After reading through it for some time, I was reminded of a similar inner conflict I kept revisiting through the years.
Humans all want to live life to the fullest because that is what we are meant to do.
We all wish we have found and done OUR PURPOSE of living while we are on this fleeting mortal world.
But what is waiting for us at the end of the line?
When we realize we are already successful (whatever success means to you), when there is nothing left to do, what do we do?
Should we wait for everyone else to catch up? Spend our days looking back and reminiscing those times when we truly lived?
The sad truth is, early on we all want to live life… at some point we do get to do that… but there comes a time when we must leave it all behind. It is not death I’m talking about, it’s the decline and the stagnancy of life after “life”.
Martin Manley touched onto this a few times in his suicide note:
“Michael Jordan has talked about the “joy” of his first championship, but by the third championship, it had become more “relief”. Happiness had become the absence of misery – the misery of losing. And, so for me…
“Happiness is the absence of misery.”” – Martin Manley
When you receive your first trophies, you are filled with overwhelming happiness, vigor, and life. But when you repeat it again and again, eventually the trophies lose their luster. It’s a negative relationship. The more happiness you have, the less you actually appreciate it. The less happy you are initially, the more appreciative you will be.
Also, they say that when you reach the bottom, there’s no way to go but up. I will argue that the same can happen for the opposite. When you are at the top, there is no way to go but down (or stay there). Either way, there’s no more improvement.
This man, Martin Manley, reminded me of one of the things I fear the most: success.
Sure, I want it.. but I’m afraid to see what’s after it. Because if I’m supposed to be at my happiest point, only a decline can follow after it, right?