A biker committed suicide recently. She blamed unfulfilled ambitions for it. Her friends blamed her financial position, which was made worse by her ex-employer not paying her what she was owed.
I hold nothing against suicide. If there’s one thing you have some control over during the entire course of your existence, it is when you want it to end. More importantly, it is of no use to hold an opinion against it. Suicide, by its very nature, is final, it is the end of any discussion. Any arguments made against it after it’s done has no impact on the people involved.
I am writing this article because I can relate to the reasons why she did it. I have never come close to doing it myself, primarily because I have had a ridiculous amount of support from my wife and parents, but without them it’s not hard to imagine myself in her situation.
As always, the purpose of this article is to organize my own thoughts. This is nothing more than taking someone else’s problem and making it completely about myself.
It’s easy to have unfulfilled ambitions
Life nowadays can be reduced to a number. The number of social media followers, the number of website views, the number of countries you’ve been to, the number of zeroes in your bank account.
The bigger problem is that we are more or less constantly advertising our numbers to others, exaggerating, shoving it in their faces. You do not have to be a dick to do that, it is in the very nature of the way we live now.
Everything is awesome, everyone is perfect. All our achievements are public, all our failures are private.
It is impossible not to compare yourself to others, even if you have no context to do that comparison in. It’s a strange sort of masochism, we compare ourselves to people completely out of our leagues, feel bad about being an underachiever, but somehow enjoy this pain and do it to ourselves over and over again.
At the bottom of it all, I think there’s this incorrect assumption that there’s justice in this world, that if you do the right thing you will be rewarded, and those who do wrong will be punished. When that turns out to be false, it’s easy to fall into depression.
This is one of the main reasons why I left all social media. Social media is a tool that can be used to do good stuff, but I was too weak to do that. My time there was spent on these 3 activities:
- Find people who were clearly doing the wrong thing
- Get angry/jealous, make fun of them, block them
- Find new people who are clearly doing the wrong thing
I tried to not look at my feed at all, but people kept tagging me, mainly because they were angry at someone else and wanted me to get angry too. It feels good to be able to share your frustrations, even if the other guy doesn’t want to get frustrated anymore.
I had nothing to show for all the frustration either. It’s not like my articles solved any problems. In the end, all I was doing was getting angry, venting on my blog, and repeating once every week or so. I thought my venting might help fix some issues, it did not, so it made sense to just stop getting angry.
It is a difficult idea to express, Doug Stanhope’s explanation is the closest to something that makes sense.
It’s easy to find yourself without financial security
I thought I could make a living with motorcycles. It did not work out. After many years of trying, I was left with 2 very simple options:
- Beg for money from sponsors, beg for money from Patreon, with a best-case scenario of getting to ride a Ducati for a few hours, writing about the experience, and hoping that all the begging was enough to pay next month’s rent
- Get a job, make money, buy a Ducati
The only reason I was able to keep doing stupid stuff for such a long time was because my wife paid the rent, and my parents bought me riding boots. If you do not have those safety nets, it’s easy to find yourself with a negative bank balance on the 1st of a month.
If you try to warn people that being an “influencer” with no future skills is not a viable career path, you usually get the reply “That girl is making more money from Instagram than you do with your IT job, so why don’t you shut up”. There are 3 problems with this reply:
- You are assuming that the girl is actually making the money someone told you she’s making
- You are assuming that she’ll continue to make the money in the future
- You are assuming that as long as money is being made, it doesn’t matter how
In the end, it’s important not to take yourself too seriously, or life in general. Making a career out of your passion is hard, it’s easy to get lost, but it’s an experience.
If you are someone who’s disappointed with the way life’s turned out, I don’t have anything to say that’ll make you feel better. If at some point you want to end it all, there’s nothing I can say that’ll change your mind. Reading books by Hunter S. Thompson and Ernest Hemingway sometimes gives me some purpose, but then I remember both of them shot themselves.
I hope I had known you, maybe you wouldn’t have felt that alone.