the passenger seat


pity and fear

What is your deepest fear, young man?
– Ken Carter, Coach Carter

I know this quote is from a movie about basketball (it’s really about more than that), but there’s something about the way that Samuel L. Jackson says it that makes it resonate.

What is it that we fear, as 17/18 year olds in our last year at the best high school in the state? We are so lucky to be living here, where we are safe and well-off. Now, in Coach Carter‘s world of the USA it is a place wrought with crime, poverty, gangs and a much higher prison rate than Australia. Where we live, we’re lucky to not have to worry about any of these things that we take for granted.

But what about our futures? Sure, most of us are going to get extremely high UAIs, well above the standard of any other high school in the state, but does this mean that we are set for life? Will we all be successful and get where we want to? We all have our perceptions of what our life will be like after high school and university. We expect to be in a stable job, earning good money. We expect to be safe and have our own place to live. Most of us expect to start a family, and live happily with them for the rest of our lives.

But what happens if our lives are not as perfect as we expect them to be?

We, as well-off young adults, are very naïve in the way we view our futures. But statistically, there are a number of things that could go wrong during our lives. And I don’t just mean messing up an exam or even getting bad grades or losing a job. I mean those events that could drastically change your life. Permanently.

Deva proposed this thought to me today in Chemistry. He mentioned two of his deepest fears: What if I have a baby and it comes out deformed or disabled? What if my wife dies in childbirth or before we can be happy?

Now these two things are things that I haven’t really thought about before, so it struck me when Deva mentioned it today. Now, I know that for most of us, if we had a child that was not perfect like we expected, we would still accept it and love it all the same. But is this the way we viewed how our lives would be when we were in high school? Definitely not. It’s a scary thought- a parent’s deepest fear- and something none of us would ever want to experience.

Onto the second question- what if your wife/husband/partner dies before you can be happy together, whether this is through sickness, childbirth or an accident? What then? Will we move on? Will we find someone else and live out the perfect life that we once imagined? I don’t know how I would handle it or move on until it actually happens to me, and I would like to keep it this way.

I’m not really sure what my point was to this blog, it was more just to get out some of my thoughts on the subject. But I think the underlying point is, as morbid as it sounds, that our lives may not turn out how we expect them to. My question is, what do you expect out of the future in terms of a job, family, friends? And how would you bounce back if something bad did happen?

Right now, I’m not really sure of what my future holds. I have a rough outline of what I would like to be doing, but most of it would be made up as I go along. I would want to be in a media or design related job that I’ll have fun doing and will give me enough money to support myself and a family, and I’m sure many of you will agree with me, for your desired fields. I would want to one day buy a really nice house and create a perfect living space for the family. Kids? Maybe two or three. Another of my dreams is to play for a band as a hobby and to travel the world, and of course to stay fit and healthy all the way through my life.

But I digress. My deepest fear? Like Deva, my deepest fear would be losing a loved one. I’m not too worried about things that happen to myself, but I don’t know how I would cope if I lost someone close to me. Grief and regret. Two terrible, terrible things.

I think that’s all I really wanted to say in this extremely morbid blog, so that’s that I guess. There’s probably a lot more I wanted to say but can’t remember, but I’ll leave that to another day.

To break up the mood a bit, I’ll leave you with a video of an original song by TheBathroomGirl, a very talented musician and singer on YouTube. The song is called Leaves In The Wind/Floating Free”.

“Pity And Fear” – from the album Narrow Stairs.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good on you for touching such a morbid topic!
For me, I’m not expecting anything but only aiming for living in Japan one day.
And if anything happens, the only thing you can do is deal with it and move on. It’s life.
Sometimes I don’t understand how my Japanese Tutor lives everyday having to take care of her disabled son. I’ve seen him twice and it’s just disturbing.

Comment by bk201

That’s got to be one of the scariest things ever. I think i’ve talked about something similar with people before but we were asking a hypothetical question; what would you do if you found out before your baby was born that it would be abnormal/deformed etc? Would you keep the child or choose to abort it?

I really don’t know what I would do in this situation. At first i thought I’d abort it because the quality of life for the child is questionable, not to mention the strain on both you and your spouse. But then I wondered if I was just being selfish and choosing the easiest option. So now i just don’t know.

Comment by Leeanne

All the genetic diseases and syndromes we’ve been studying in bio has scared me D:
Like everyone else I want an enjoyable job that pays well enough for me to lead a comfortable life, but I still don’t have much of an idea what that could be. Hopefully, I’ll still be in touch with most of the grade.

Comment by SL

I know you don’t watch anime and probably never will but Clannad after story is an anime about exactly what you were discussing. One of the most brilliantly executed animations I’ve watched and the emotions are so powerful.

In Clannad, it follows the life of a normal high school student as he interacts with his friends. In Clannad After Story, he graduates from high school and ends up marrying the girl of his dreams. However his wife has always had health problems and dies during childbirth. He is in so much grief that he abandons his daughter to her grandparents. A few years later, he babysits his daughter this one time and forms an emotional bond with her. He becomes her Dad again but just when things are at it’s peak, he discovers his daughter has the same medical condition as his wife and dies soon after. Its freaky how it is an exact reflection of this hypothetical.

Comment by materix01

You’re spot on with how our life may not turn out to be what we expect and those two questions hit a nerve.

The deformed baby question really scares me, seeing as I had looked up the baby thing from Belle’s blog and if you haven’t already seen bits of Eraserhead, it freaks me out. I really don’t know what I would do but that decision would possibly impact further down the track (say if you decide to keep it or regret not keeping it).

Losing a loved one would hurt the most but I can’t claim to know or even imagine how it would feel.

Comment by Eddy

This is a nice and thoughtful post. All these possible outcomes in life ought to make us all feel more grateful for what we have, instead of us feeling it is not enough, and trying to reach futher. (Though being ambitious is not wrong, we should enjoy the present, and absorb all the goodness we experience in everyday life)

Comment by mishmashmosh




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