A strange thought appeared. It came on a day much like any other day, in the throws of a constant argument with my ego. The thought was: what if we get to the end of our life and suddenly become aware that everything that has happened was a figment of our own imagination…our life story, what we know about ourselves, our relationships, the world’s history, every innate detail, simply or not so simply, but definitely unknowingly, thought up. Now here’s the real question, would knowing that make us think differently about the very nature of reality? Because as far as I’m concerned, or rather, as far as we’re all concerned, we only exist, as ourselves, because we think we do; because it’s what we know.
I’ve been having a little bit of an identity crisis; it’s been going on for roughly 23 years. It starts every morning, about a second after I wake up, where, like clockwork, like a sweater, I slip into an idea of myself. I become Sarah. She’s who I know how to be. She’s all I know how to be. And now, so much time has been spent being her, as well as trying to perfect different versions of her, that I’ve gotten used to the idea that I am her. This is easily done, when so much of what we accept as the truth about life, validates and even encourages this daily, albeit constant, ownership of self.
After all, it’s not so bad being Sarah. She’s well-liked, she does a lot of things well- after which she gets a lot of confirmation and praise for having done things well, she’s educated, she leads a secure, and stable, and supported life. It would be easy to keep being Sarah. ‘Cause why would anyone in their right mind give up being someone so safely defined, for something so unknown as nobody?
Isn’t that what scares everyone about death? Not existing anymore as themselves. Maybe it wouldn’t be so scary if we realized that while we were living. It would probably take some of the pressure off anyway.
This isn’t some grand proclamation. I’m not running away to become a monk or asking people to refer to me as anything other than Sarah. I am, however, reframing some way of thinking; and in doing so, hoping that I have the energy to remember, as often as possible, and despite a modern world trying to convince me otherwise, how to exist beyond myself- my made up self.