Dying in your Twenties – A look back at my short story collection

It’s tough to find the words to describe exactly what I wrote. I feel so empty after writing and editing and editing the edits. The words have left me. My mind is wasted, wondering about. And my physical body has seen better day … let’s just say that.

My spirit is somehow full, though. It’s full because I wrote everything from a conscious place so deep inside me that I am looking at the writing and wondering why and how I found these stories. 

Everyone tells me the stories are depressing. Are they? From one stand point, yes they are. From another point of view these stories are true to the human condition. Every person finds love, and every person loses love. Every person ends up regretting something; and if they are honest with themselves, they probably regretted more things than they could think of.

Every person’s been late on something. Every person feels lost at some point. Every person has been stuck on the side of the road. At a job. In a relationship. Or both at the time.

Every person.

Every person loses people. Sometimes people lose themselves and get caught up in a moment. Sometimes people become so far removed from the good in the world that they struggle to understand it.

Sometimes people focus on the moment so hard that they lose track of everything else, and once they re-adjust to their surroundings they get swallowed hole by everything around them.

People also find love. They also find happiness in their final moments … peace, if you will.

People also enjoy good food and good jokes and smoking and drinking with their friends on the patio outside a bar. Sometimes people find motivation to live again. To try again. To be themselves in moments when they feel lost and tired and the only thing they have is hope after the bottle is finished and the night grows cold.

These stories are dark. But they also find humor and concepts like hope to hold onto.

These stories are also not perfect. From the writers perspective, nothing will ever be perfect, and some stories suffer on plot or explicit characterization, and more. Some of these stories focus on the metaphors and themes above everything else. Some of these stories end too soon, because the humbled author decided to write to the best of his abilities, knowing he’d fail, however, still, he wrote it.

Dying in your 20s is the realization that nothing might change. The fear of droning about, your dreams not fully realized … it’s all coming fast. You think about how life is long. It’s also short, so you think about that too. It’s all over the place. Even the old people we listened to all our lives don’t know, yet they sold us the lie that it is 

It’s not until you’re this age that they finally come clean. Life is not something you’ll ever figure out. You can get close. You can try a new religion. You can workout as hard as you can. Find a new diet. Get a new job. Make a couple of kids and expect them to understand it. There are no limits.

You can ride the edge. You can stay in the middle. But at the end of the day … no one will have it figured out. No one. And I mean that. Fucking fully. As full as I can get. There is no end.

But then you step outside, the sun blinding your eyes, and the understanding that nothing may change, or everything will change all fast and all at once. The understanding that you will never understand. Somehow, someway, it feels better. Life is just what it is.

It’s a radical acceptance that one day you’ll die. It’s the only things that’s true. The decisions you make right now, and your death. Everything else is good for nothing shit.

And in Dying in your 20s, you learn about the good for nothing shit. And you accept it. You accept it because you have to accept it. Not doing that will lead to the end of your existence. 

It is an act of bravery to live past this point in your life. The part of your life where there are no guarantees (at least when you’re old, you know you’ll die — either in a chair or bed, hopefully). It’s like being told there’s an apple in front of you, but you can’t see the apple, yet you are asked to grab for the apple; and there’s a less than one percent chance that you’ll grab it, but you may grab an orange instead or a half an apple if you are lucky.

And then finally one day, the apple kills you. 

No matter what. Stay positive that the apple exists. Understand disappointment. Study it. Look at your older relatives. And become better. Or become worse. No matter what: it’s all there to take. 

Now, it’s time for Dying in your 20s. 

I’m afraid that the words coming out don’t make sense, but if you made it to the end of this article, I know you’ll appreciate the collection of stories.

Link to the collection.

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