Mario Villalobos

Mortality

I woke up the other night thinking about my mortality again. I thought briefly of my father and of him lying on his deathbed, of how he’s been gone for almost 13 years, of all the life he has missed since then, of my life he has missed, or my lack of life, in all fairness. I thought about my life and of its ending, of how short it all feels, of how much of it I’ve wasted, of the purpose of it all. I wrote about it in my notebook this morning and had a good dialog with myself about it. I’m trying to get back on the road, but I lost my way a long time ago. It’s going to take some time to find my way again, and that’s okay.

At least, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself. I haven’t felt this aimless and purposeless in a long time. I wanted to move away around this time next year, on the 10th year anniversary of my living in Montana, but I’m afraid because I don’t know what I would do for money or where I would go. I’d be out of debt by then, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’d bury myself in debt again if I do leave. I like my job but I don’t want to do it forever. I’m in my mid-30s now, and the thought of working here for longer than a few years horrifies me.

Is this what I wanted to be doing in my 30s? My 40s? When will it end?

In Why People Photograph, Robert Adams writes:

There is the joy to be found in a landscape experienced with family and friends…To hear one’s name, and the invitation, spoken with the assurance you will together see the same gift—“Look.”

I can’t wait to travel again, to go there, and say look! at everything I see, but I don’t have anyone to share those experiences with, to share those moments of majesty and wonder. I haven’t had anyone in a long time. In my notebook, I wrote all the names of all the people that have come and gone in my life, and I’ve never seen them all written together before. It terrified me. It terrifies me. It makes me dwell on the everlasting forward march of time and how I can’t stop it. One day this will all end, and the question I ask myself is whether it was worth it.

There’s a verse in Breaking Up Slowly, a song on Lana del Rey’s wonderful Chemtrails over the Country Club, that goes: Are these my good years or do I have none? / Are there really good years for everyone? / I don’t wanna live with a life of regret. It’s sung beautifully by Nikki Lane, and these lines have haunted me all day. I don’t wanna live with a life of regret but regret seems to be the only emotion I know how to feel.