When Everything Falls Apart

There’s hardly anything like the emotion of a girl who just heard her father is dead.

Vance White's eyes. Somewhat related. (One of the few photos I have access to since my computer is out of service.)

What should we hold dear? Some things? Everything? Nothing? Most people won’t live to see the age of 100. Material possessions come and go for a myriad of reasons. And the Earth? Check back in 5 billion years.

Moments like the one this girl experienced, and I witnessed, re-shock us into remembering that everything is temporary. One lesser tragedy that hit closer to home was the crashing of my laptop’s hard drive. That shook me into realizing that pretty much my whole life, almost every hobby and job I take on, is dependent on that computer. Life is now less convenient, more difficult, and overall slower while it’s awaiting repair.

I called my 84 year old grandma to say hi after that girl lost her dad. I also started thinking about what other dependencies people have in life, and how they can positively and negatively affect our day-to-day experiences. Family is the first one that came to mind. They are traditionally the foundation for people’s entire lives, providing an upbringing, culture, and community for children as they grow. Another would be friends, which provide support structures and experiences. Then there’s acquaintances, co-workers, etc. People live for social relationships, so, for the most part, having relationships to people is a positive.

The despair that we feel when we lose someone close is there because we’re virtually losing a part of ourselves when they go away.

My computer is something that has become a part of me because of what I do. (Though, I’d never agree to have a machine *physically* become a part of me.) That girl’s father was a part of her, probably a major one at that. Is there any way to protect against losing the people, things, and other nouns that make up the bulk of your livelihood? (After all, people can’t be backed up to disk.)

The answer is probably: Be yourself. I accept that my friends have had a hand in making me who I am over the years and that my parents have had a tremendous impact on things like my work ethic and general persistence. But the main part of who I am hasn’t been defined by outside influences. It’s been crafted and honed by me. Original content, if you will. Without investing time in developing a unique persona, you will fall back on depending too much on other people for who you are as an individual.

So, take time to develop who you are before fate catches up to you. Everyone, and everything, will eventually disappear from your life. Sometimes they’ll be replaced, for better or worse; sometimes they won’t. The best way to prevent losing a a part of your life is dedicating less of your life to people and things outside of the being you make yourself.

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About The Author

Kyle Anderson
I'm a media and IT professional and JavaScript developer who worked most recently as an Associate Broadcast IT Engineer (Tier II) for CNN in Atlanta. One of my life-long goals is to help bridge data divides - missing connections between software systems and data stores - promoting inter-system communication and automation. Many of the projects described here reflect this goal in some way or another.