I was at a week-long event in California the first time I saw that video, months before it hit the internet. It was being presented at Yeah Field Trip by the visionary behind the movement, Stefan Hunt. He wrote a book, aptly named We’re All Going to Die that was then turned into that beautiful video. Very few creative works have changed how I view the world so much as this piece.
Growing up in the Midwest, I was a bit sheltered. Don’t get me wrong… my parents were very outgoing and encouraged me to be myself and try new things, but the sheer lack of people prevented me from being exposed to ideas and concepts that otherwise might have been a part of my life. So I started reading more. I was constantly reading books, news articles, and eventually magazines. This is when I found an amazing indie publication called Offscreen ~ it’s basically a magazine about the lives of the creators behind digital products we use everyday. Kai Brach, Offscreen’s creator, does an amazing job interviewing all these personalities and the format is just stellar.
But one month when I got my magazine (I think it was issue 5) there was a short, two-page spread towards the back that talked about a designer’s struggle with the concept of death and what it meant to him. At the time, being so young, I never really gave it much thought, but seeing this designer (whom I respected a lot) talk about his fear of death must have really set me off because then and there commenced my multi-year grapple with religion, death, and the meaning of life.
I defaulted to the “life has no meaning” train for quite some time, until my friend Wyn came along and said I should come to this gathering of creatives in the wilderness called Field Trip in California. I told him I’d find the money, and sure enough February of 2018 I showed up in El Capitan Canyon, CA with my friends ready to learn. Then, the event kicked off with that video and a talk by Stefan and it totally changed my life. It empowered me to make my own purpose for my life and to do all the amazing things I want to do. It showed me I could and should shamelessly be myself without fear of judgement.
Fast forward to today and what that means in practice for me is that hey, I know I’m going to die so I’m going to make the best of the time I am given here. I’ve put a greater emphasis on travel and experiencing the world, as well as working to make my mark on it (whatever that may be, I am not yet sure). I’ve been actively trying to make more meaningful connections and not waste time worrying about other’s perceptions of me. Why? Let me ask you a question.
Would you rather live a life of risk, or risk a life unlived? The choice is up to you.