I Survived

Have you ever been asked how you think you’d die or even at what age you think you’ll die? It’s a normal office conversation and I would probably put money on the question being asked in high schools across the globe. When I was asked such a question, I always gave the same answer – 25.

For as long as I can remember, I always thought I’d pass away at the age of 25. A lot of people die young and are remembered forever; maybe this was my thought process, but how can someone think they’d die young when everyone’s deepest desire is to live for as long as possible? Tupac died at 25, exactly one week after my 4th birthday; this knowledge I only learned a few days ago as I always thought he died at 27. My inspiration was definitely not Tupac. Granted he’s a great rapper and one of the GOATs, but he’s no Eminem. Personal preference.

When I turned 25, I was convinced this was the last year of my life. It was time to do things that I would do as if a doctor told me I only have one year left to live. I changed jobs to spend more time writing, I started a blog to share my thoughts and so people knew of my travels, attempted to see a natural phenomenon, and went to visit my best friend.

The doubts begun a few months after I turned 25. In Iceland, the closest country where I could see the Northern Lights, they didn’t show, and I was stood in sub-zero temperatures staring at a galaxy of stars. I’ve told many people I’ll be getting a tattoo on my left bicep with the words, “My name will live amongst the stars of the universe.” When the Lights didn’t show, a spark in my mind told me that maybe now wasn’t the time for me to see them, but to instead witness something only very few people are lucky enough to see, shooting stars. Not one or two, but several, every few minutes. A shower of shooting stars.

However, a strong part of me was still convinced that there were 9 months left and it was time to plan what I’d do next. For me, it was time to go see my best friend as I hadn’t seen her since January 2017. It was time to go to China.

Having spent two weeks with my best friend, I said goodbye. Reminiscing from time to time, more doubts entered my head. I was a Westerner in China being treated as if I was less of a foreigner than the other foreigners. The authorities weren’t interested in looking at my passport when going through checkpoints in Beijing as much as they were interested in checking other foreigners, and they were happy to stop and search obvious Chinese people right next to me, as if I was invisible.

I picked up a few words, made a few friends, travelled on a Bullet Train, had minimal contact with the Western world, and I had no issues. If anyone tells you travelling alone to unknown land is not safe, then I would ask them if the problem is where they’re going or with them, especially if they’re from England. Imagine going to a country where the primary language is not English and trying to converse in English with locals. Fools.

Having returned to the UK, I was less and less convinced that these were the last months of my life, but you can never be certain, and death can come at any time. With 5 months to go, it was time to re-evaluate life and reduce social interactions; however, I didn’t want to become completely isolated, so I put in the minimal required effort to keep friends in case this wasn’t the last year of my life – luckily, my friends are as antisocial as I am and this wasn’t very hard – and spent most of my time eating new food on Fat Day.

Today, I turned 26. Today, I survived the thought I’d die at 25. Today, I proved it is possible for people to have outrageous thoughts and not be consumed by them to the point they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Alternatively, I survived, death missed, and I am now immortal.

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