Live now, save never: Good or bad advice?

I think a blogger told me this in a comment recently, but I don’t know which post it was on. Live now, save never.

I love the last few days before payday. It wasn’t an easy transition from hate to love, but it was necessary. Hospitality pay means that I don’t have the biggest income fortnightly but enough to get by, so I have to be a bit more careful for the last few days before payday.

I still don’t know whether I’m being sarcastic or not in the first two sentences.

Regardless, this means I have to focus on other things that money can’t buy, productivity for example. Not that I am a big spender, but having hardly anything in my wallet means I can devote my time solely to working hard or working out, and temptation to meet friends for a coffee or a beer can be resisted as I have little option but to decline. This is time I can spend working on myself. I used to get paid monthly and hated it, it was far too long of a stretch and I have a much harder time trying to budget for the month. I would still end up pretty broke a few days before payday, but as this is now fortnightly with smaller paychecks twice a month I have these broke days more often. It is kind of a blessing.

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I don’t understand how people build savings on my pay, I know I am terrible at saving, but I am not a big spender. I don’t have a PS4 as much as I would like one, nor do I own a car that I fill with petrol every week. But then again I am still paying off holidays that I had back in 2014 to Brazil and travelling down Australia’s east coast wasn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination. I am constantly torn between wanting to save and wanting to enjoy today in case its the last.

Did you hear about the Indian bloggers recently that fell to their deaths from Yosemite? They plunged 800ft from cliff taking a photo for their blog. I tried to read some of their blog entries as I hadn’t heard of them however it is now sadly unavailable. They were a young married couple, only 29 and 30. It’s these stories that influence me to live now and save never. 

But I know this is not a good way to think. But it is how I think a lot of the time. When I think about sitting in and saving I think of those that didn’t get the chance to save and it does me no favours. But saving could potentially lead to a brighter future that I may not have with this current mentality. It’s an inner dilemma I face daily.

What’s your opinion, are you a good saver, and what are you saving for? Maybe you’re like me. I also think that if I don’t sit in and save I am out and about taking photos and making memories for my blog, and I won’t be in Australia forever. 11 more months in fact. I want to look back on my blog with great memories, not a slightly better bank balance. It gives my readers more to look at too and helps give me inspiration and ideas moving forward. In the past I had a reason to save, and that was to enjoy this current moment in a far away land. A working holiday visa isn’t the time to save.

Live now, save never. I still don’t know if I am for or against this and if my mentality will shift one day. There are certainly benefits to both.


 

Featured image taken in Manly, Sydney and taken from the post This is not a post about Harry and Meghan


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

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Happy blogging,

Sam

Convert negative feelings into a laser beam of awesomeness

I often find days when I am in a low mood and totally demotivated. The days in which I think ‘what’s the point?’ and everything just feels a little shitty. I wanted to post this as a reminder that this feeling can be hijacked and used to our advantage. I want to type this to reflect on, as well as possibly help others stuck in this rut.

The good thing about these problems is that they are all in our head. The problem with these feelings is, well… they are all in our head. For me the mind can be a pretty claustrophobic place, no matter where I walk or run the bad thoughts are right there around me. Physically escaping them is virtually impossible. This is why it is much better to instead of try to escape the thoughts, mold them into something of worth.

This is the very reason why I blog and started to back in 2014 after my father died. I use it as a machine to transform all of my negative emotions into something of worth. I am tired of wasting time because of negative emotions and doing nothing until my mood lifts. We simply do not live long enough to spend hours of the day procrastinating and being slaves to our mental health. If we can use this feeling-down time as rocket fuel alongside our feeling-good time, think of how much progress we could make every single day.

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Whether this is to blog, or to work out or whatever the passion. Negativity only pushes us further from the finishing line. I mean no matter how we feel, we want to get to that finishing line, right? Whether it is a career or marriage or whatever we want in life, feeling sorry for ourselves for not being there won’t get us there. What will get us there is taking steps. One by one.

Now for me personally, I want to build my blog so it is successful enough to do it at least part time. I also want to be successful enough to publish a book with a big enough audience that want to read it. I can’t get that overnight, so I blog every day. Some days I ask myself why I spend so much time here without pay. Why I think I am even capable of doing this. But this is a natural state of negative self reflection and the reaction to these questions determines if those thoughts are right or wrong.

I could respond by saying ‘you know what, I am doing this for free. What is the point?’ and never pick up my laptop again. I could let those few down days a year demotivate me and convince me that I am not capable of going further. Even if I am not convinced I am going anywhere 36 days of the year, that is just 10% of my time. To allow 10% of my time to dictate the other 90% would be utterly crazy and I would be doomed to fail. When I am in that 10, I think of the other 90. Nine times out of ten I am moving forward, no matter how fast or slow towards the goal. The finishing line never moves, it is always in that same spot for us to reach. It is down to us to keep making that distance smaller.

If I am angry, I think of how I can convert it into blog form. Writing it down and using it to come up with a post others can relate to and feed off. Why am I angry? Is it because I am not where I want to be? Well, anger doesn’t help. At all. What does help is knowing that if I keep at it, I will be where I want to be. Again, where some people stop or even leave the race, these moments in which we decide to keep going despite everything determines how quickly we get there. We can put it off for another day or get there a day earlier than we would have. In time, these days accumulate into months and years. Today deciding not to do something, and that day next week, and the five or six days next month will determine whether we achieve our dream in 2020 or 2025. Or never. Just because we can’t see the finishing line over the peak doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And how fast we climb that hill determines how soon we will be able to enjoy the descent down the other side.

The same goes for feelings of frustration, jealousy and sadness. We can use them as an excuse to put a hold on things, but all that means is we either fail in our aims, or just delay reaching them as fast.

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To help with this, I picture myself being in first class on a long haul flight. It is always something I have wanted to try and I have never afforded it. I have always peered into that section of a flight since being a child, between the countless grey seats directly in front of my face and wondered what it would be like to be there one day. Just once. I will be there one day. But will it be next year or in 30 years time? Whenever I feel like slacking I picture being there in 30 years time. ‘Are you happy with that decision, Sam?’, I think to myself as my productivity meter plummets to zero. And then I picture myself in the seat thinking to myself ‘I could have been here 30 years earlier if I tried’.

Regret is a horrible feeling, but what is beautiful is being able to know that in the future I don’t want to look back on laziness and regret it. Aim to predict where regret would lie in your future and change the future by closing that gap to success today.

The reality is we won’t be where we want to be today. But the day will come, how soon that day will come is determined by how much we put into today. Every day wasted is a day further away, and every productive day means we get there a day sooner. Negative emotions such as the ones I have experienced recently should be a motivator to not experience them again. And what better way to escape these feelings than to pin them to the ground and use them as a stepping stone to that goal. The main reasons as to why I am sad is because I am not currently where I want to be, and knowing one day I will be where I want to be makes every bad day a catalyst for progress.

 

Man on road photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

Airplane photo by Gus Ruballo on Unsplash


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

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Happy blogging!

Finding an escape

I’ve had a rather emotional morning. I decided to take a walk earlier this morning before I start work and found an exhibition. The exhibition is called GLOW- ‘A collection of artwork by artists with a lived experience of mental illness’.

I have passed it before but didn’t check to see what it is about. Once I found out, I thought I would take a look inside. What I found was artwork of all styles, abilities and ages. What I liked was that there was a short description next to the authors name as to what is the reasons for the painting. Here are a few examples I thought I would share. I asked the staff of it was okay to take photos for my blog and they were okay with it. I’m never sure today what is acceptable and what isn’t, copyright and all. But I will add the artists names to each.


This was the first one I walked up to, and possibly the most humerous.

‘Funky Ladies’

‘Art helps me to cope with my everyday life and I feel good about it.’

Artist- David Carroll


‘The glow of the flowers’

‘Flowers make me very happy and always cheers me up when I am sad or alone.  I love to pick bright- glowing flowers just about from anywhere and everywhere but I know I shouldn’t. To me, flowers glow with colour!’

Artist- Jimmy Petroff


‘Untitled

‘Art reaches out beyond psychopathology and into freedom’

Artist- Alison Ferrier


‘Next door neighbour’

‘The galaxy is our next door neighbour and I want to remind people that there is life out there full of hope and colours.’

Artist- Steven Noel


‘Delft blue glow’

‘Doing this kind of artform puts me in a state of calm and the voices quieten to the point I can’t hear them anymore.’

Artist- Natalie Neilon


‘Into the light’

‘Painting allows me to express my ideas. It’s my hobby. I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that has severely affected my mobility. MIFQ art exhibition allows me a safe venue to show my artwork.’

Artist- Janette


‘Jane glowing flying her kite’

‘Story is of my sister as I would like to remember her, running free having fun with her kite and how she would glow with joy given the opportunity to. Age 10 1956 to 1966.’

Artist- JCT

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That last one really hit me. It is of a young, innocent girl having fun before her life is tragically cut short, however this occurred. Someone that wasn’t given the time to experience everything that life has to offer. A sister to an artist that to this day uses art as a therapy to overcome the loss and sadness this caused.

Tragically, this kind of loss is one of millions. It’s strange that one picture can make me tear up, however I can somehow go about my life knowing that this is an everyday occurance for so many families around the world. I guess one loss is easier to understand. A world of losses is almost unfathomable and much harder to process.

It is a reminder for me that we all have problems that we face daily, many problems people face I am oblivious to. It also reminds me that the problems I face daily are relatively small and that I shouldn’t let them affect me. I take inspiration from each of these artists, all with problems that they escape using their passion for art. An escape from a mind and body that we still know very little about, a mystery that we can only live with for now whilst we learn and use art as a way to express our feeling towards our existence.

I will use this these to remind myself that I need to live whilst I am in existence, for the people that haven’t had the same opportunity.


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The artwork is on display during Queensland Mental Health Week, King George Square, Brisbane between 5-12th October and is free entry.


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging!

The art of being kind

I hardly ever watch TV, and since arriving in Australia I haven’t watched any TV other than the period before work when I am at work and trying to chill out. Today I was watching the news and the terrible story of a teenager that killed herself as a result of bullying last week.

Her name was Amy Everett and she was only 14. I don’t know how she took her own life but that doesn’t really matter. The point is that she did, and it was because people pushed her into doing it. Cowardly people going out of their way to make sure someone else suffers for no reason other than some kind of deranged self-fulfilment. I instantly fill with rage when I read this kind of thing, because I too suffered at the hands of bullying as a child. I can only try to imagine how bad the bullying has to be to end it all in this way. I never reached a point that I ever considered suicide and thankfully I was able to escape it with the help of family and friends. Some people don’t have that escape. The only escape is to take that giant leap from it all, not too different from those jumping from the towers in NYC back in 2001, except these flames are in the form of hatred burning in the minds of evil individuals. An entirely avoidable death if people could learn that being mean is an option and the option of kindness is much easier and much more respectable.

Could you imagine a world in which people decided against being mean? Instead of using their precious time to cause suffering, decided to write a song or learn an instrument? Take a walk on the beach or write a blog post? It seems like, taking this into account, people really feel the need to bring others down. It takes conscious effort to set the laptop up, switch it on, type in the password, log onto the internet and find someone to insult. It isn’t just a passing comment in the street. Some people clearly possess a great urge to cause distress and whether or not this is made easier by online anonymity is irrelevant. If anything the ease in which people can lead victims to suicide and log out without a trace makes it a much bigger concern.

I can only assume those doing the bullying are going through some kind of trauma themselves. Whether it is a repercussion of mental illness or being a victim of bullying themselves, there will be a reason. There has to be a reason. Unbelievably, as I get older I still see typical characteristics of a bully in adults. Adults! Whether it is my place of work or on the street, bullies are everywhere. Some of them simply don’t grow out of it and keep the same psychopathic behaviours on display. I am sure many of you still suffer these individuals. The hatred I feel building up as I hear such a story dies down as I try to understand the nature of a bully. Some people are no doubt born with this unfortunate urge. Others give it out as a mental release for their own suffering. It could be argued that a bully needs help as much as the victim.

As I type these words, I hear people claiming this suicide was an overreaction. ‘It is only online trash talk, don’t take it so seriously’…. ‘Why take your own life because of random people on the internet? Just block them and move on’. I admit, I find online bullying something foreign to me. But then again as a guy in his late twenties, I did not grow up with social media being a huge aspect of my life. Social media is a huge part of life now, this is something we have to accept. A quick Google tells me that teens spend more than one third of their day on social media, up to nine hours. That is a huge chunk of the day, and a huge part of life. If hours upon hours of the day are spent receiving insults and threats, that cannot be good for mental health.

This story got to me. It got to me as the nephew of an uncle and auntie that I lost to suicide and someone that knows mental illness very well. The only comfort I get from the suicides in my family is that they weren’t brought on by people. The illnesses my uncle and auntie endured weren’t consciously going out of their way to cause misery. Instead they are conditions that are still we are still trying to learn about and find cures for.

The art of being kind is one that so many people are unskilled in, I say ‘art’ as it seems like something that many people need to be taught. The nature of bullying is tragic as it involves people trying hard to bring people down when there is the option to be kind. A cure for this cannot come soon enough.

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A new page.

It’s interesting to see how many people view the New Year as a new slate. It isn’t just another day that we wake up to but another chapter of life’s book.

One of the first things I heard after midnight on the 1st was a guy leaving the building I was in declaring that ‘I haven’t had a cigarette since last year!‘. A totally expected and cheesy joke, but it made everyone laugh.

I have always seen new days as new chapters. From 00.00 to 23.59, one block. Once is hits midnight, the whiteboard is wiped clean. This probably comes from our concepts of time and the use of calender’s. Instead of living in a continuously flowing world where each moment is different to the last, the sun setting and rising again is classed as one segment of time. This has provided me stability when it comes to managing my time and weekly schedule, however it has also made my life very difficult indeed. I grew up with pretty bad OCD, and it was only last year that I learned the term for one of these struggles at therapy. Contamination.

I was under the impression that contamination was just a fear of getting sick and the constant need to be clean. It turns out that it is also a mental phenomena. When I was a kid and through my teens and early twenties, I had to get out of bed with a good thought. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get out of bed until I had a good one. If I got out of bed on a bad thought, or the first thought I had after midnight (the start of a new day) was a negative one, I wouldn’t enjoy the day until it was over. On New Years Eve in 2005, this happened and because it was the start of the year, it wasn’t just the day I contaminated but the whole year of 2006. I had a bunch of anxiety at this moment, worried that this negative feeling would last 365 days. Thankfully it didn’t but the feeling of contamination did keep flaring up throughout the year and I still remember it over a decade later. The danger here is that it can keep getting worse if I keep reacting to OCD thoughts. A day ruined can be a year, and then a decade. During the hardest moments of my life with the condition, if I won the lottery on a day that I felt I contaminated with a negative thought (such as a bad thing happening to a family member or me doing something pretty immoral for whatever reason) I wouldn’t enjoy the incredible wealth I just gained. And I know at this time I most definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Mental illness is that strong.

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But I really wanted to write today’s post about how many people see 2017 as a train that has departed as they jumped onto the 2018 one that has just arrived onto the platform.

‘Bye 2017, you won’t be missed!’

‘So long 2017, I am going to make sure 2018 is one to remember’

‘Lets make 2018 even better than 2017 was, bring on the new chapter!’

It seems we all put time periods into separate boxes. This can be a great thing I guess, as it helps us to disassociate with a negative past. A bit like a crabs ability to completely remove a damaged claw, we can mentally detach from a whole year, despite it only being two days ago. It just gets problematic when OCD creeps into it I guess.

Was yours a 2017 you were happy to leave behind, or a train you wanted to stay on? Thankfully we are on the same train all the time, there is just an illusion that we aren’t.

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Last Photo by Charles Forerunner on Unsplash

Relearning everything

Although I am a Brit living in Australia, news has spread that it has been Thanksgiving for some of you guys. This has been met with open arms and made me feel better about giving in to beer and chicken wings at a bar after a hectic day at work.

Turkey would have been more appropriate I guess.

This national holiday had me thinking. Holidays like Thanksgiving are a great opportunities to take a moment out of our hectic lives to think of how fortunate we are, but like New Years Resolutions these moments can be very short lived. I think the secret to my personal growth and a good dose of mental health is to reflect as often as possible. When I was a goalkeeper playing for my local football team every Sunday, what I learned is that I had to keep looking around whenever I had the chance. If I didn’t, my location on the pitch could change quite a bit. If I only kept my eyes on the ball, I would slowly end up drifting away from the goal and before I knew it, the goal could be completely exposed. By glancing over my shoulders every now and then I would realise and had the chance to get back into position before it was too late. I still use this technique in life.

Whenever I feel like life is drifting away from me, I look around. I look at those that may consider my issues small, people that may see my issues as opportunities they never had. An example of this occurred Thursday. I was at work and I met a lovely couple, I am guessing in their 60’s. The lady asked how long I had been in Australia for, I told her since September. She looked at her husband and analysed my answer.

‘S..E..P..T… Oh September, that is a month!’ She looked at her husband for clarification.

He then turned to me and told me that his wife had suffered a stroke and that she has had to learn to do pretty much everything again. Learn to walk, learn to speak, learn to live with sight in only one eye. I cannot imagine how stressful this event must have been for both of them, in particular for her as this wasn’t a one time incident. The effects are still present today. He tried to see the funny side of it, joking that for the first two weeks she was perfect to live with as she lost her speech. It was hard for me to say anything worthwhile after being told this there and then, I just tried to be as compassionate and understanding as possible. I said it fascinates me that the brain like a muscle, takes work for it to improved again but it seems like it is certainly possible. I also said the sun is shining and that they were going to have a great day which I am sure they did.

This is the kind of story I am referring to. One that puts my small headache or boring day at work into perspective. As the days go by and my memory fades of this interaction, no doubt will I begin to slowly forget just how lucky I am and many of us are. I am hoping that by blogging I will keep a permanent reminder to reflect on, so I can see where those goalposts are in relation to where I am and remember that I am currently in a good place even if I doubt it. If a football result is the worst thing about my day, that is just the tip of a very beautiful iceberg.

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Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

When we lose our heroes

I woke up this morning with my thoughts on the sad news from yesterday. I have been thinking a lot about those we consider heroes, whether it be a parent or partner, pet, philosopher or performer. What is hard to deal with is when these seemingly immortal and incredible people leave us much earlier than expected. How!?

It wasn’t too long ago that I typed up a quick post with lyrics to In The End by Linkin Park.

Time is a valuable thing, watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day the clock ticks life away…

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Whenever I think of the word time, or utter it in conversation, my mind heads down the path of this song. In a way it is a healthy reminder that time is not something we can put on hold. We can let it slip by or we can ride that wave as best we can and be as active as possible whilst riding it. One day our feet will lose grip of that surfboard, we all fall into the sea but some travel a big distance before doing so.

When we idolise someone, they seem invincible. Perfect. They can also be taken for granted, as if they have always been around and always will be. When their time runs out and they are no longer around, we see them as human again. Not someone that is perfect but someone with flaws that strived for perfection with incredible effort. To me, a hero dying is like a Spider-Man removing his mask. The human is revealed and instantly relatable. The flaws and imperfections, the illnesses and fears all become visible. I don’t mind my inspirations being human. If anything it motivates me to strive for similar success.

The problem with a high profile death is that we only get a glimpse of their life, the success and the wealth. The suffering isn’t always in silence but out of view. For some, a suicide can be a selfish act. If their Wikipedia page states they are currently touring the world and earn this much from record sales, they must be happy, right? Can we claim to know the lives and the apparent state of mind of a person we have never met? Of course not. To assume would be incredibly arrogant. 

My family has been affected on more than one occasion by depression and suicide. Maybe this is why cries of selfishness are so offensive to me. I know the daily struggle that can last years and the instant opinions from complete strangers that form conclusions with 100% conviction. It is much more respectable to admit we cannot know the mind of another person than to be so wrong whilst believing we are so right.

The comforting aspect for me is that no one ever dissapears. They are always here, the cells are no longer assembled in the way they were to create such art, but they flow by us everyday. That I find truly mind blowing.

On top of the world

Blogging is great therapy. My daily routine has changed completely since deciding to write every day and with that, my motivation to do so much outside of blogging. It is like obtaining a master key but not to enter a room, to escape one. A dark room that left little desire to spread a message, one that I wouldn’t want to spread without a healthy frame of mind.

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That master key thankfully works to unlock so much more. I get out of bed earlier. I have breakfast. I will do twenty push-ups if I know I won’t be able to go to the gym today. I spend the day looking around for motivation for my next post instead of looking for a clock telling me when I will be able to go back to bed. I have more reason to get out of bed and more meaning to my days between sleeping.

Healthy eating is another, I don’t need to seek as much happiness from junk food. I have never been a very unhealthy eater but I am still seeing benefits. There is less boredom in my day, less desire to find excitement in areas that don’t benefit my body and mind. If my mind is constantly stimulated I have less time to rest my head on that pillow of procrastination. It is simple but effective. I used to be Indiana running away from work ethic, I prefer to be the ball of motivation chasing my doubts and pessimism away. Once it is rolling, it is much harder to slow down.

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I enjoy being the ball.

I am saving money as I am not spending it trying to pass time. Saving for greater things to blog about. You will see where it takes me in the next few months, providing I don’t lose my passport before then. Ah! There is another positive. I don’t hate waiting for fun things I have planned later in the year as I am having fun today. They say good things come to those who wait. Why wait, and why not have fun everyday? It is possible. There is a huge wasted opportunity when living for something you have planned later in the year. All attention is on that calendar date and crossing the boxes until it arrives. What happens to the days that have been crossed off? Were they just seen as stepping stones? Each one consists of 24 hours, that is a huge chunk of time to let slip by. After a few of these it isn’t days but life that is slipping by. Don’t make that mistake.

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The more I aim to do the worse I feel when I do not keep busy. As long as this busy consists of things that I enjoy, I feel good. It has been said that one of the biggest regrets from people on their death bed is working too hard. I believe that if work is your ambition and consisting of things you enjoy, it won’t be work. Our aim is to find work that we want to do, not that we need to do to keep going.

If I can live a life mostly consisting of what I enjoy, I will feel good. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best day is today. There is no quicker way to get to where you want than to start right now, and hopefully I will not have to ride so many cable cars to feel like I am on top of the world.

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Peace.

‘Hi mam, awful news about Chris Cornell, such a shame x’

I hit backspace on my iPhone and deleted the text. Both of my mothers siblings died due to suicide. As much as I want to talk about another inspiration dying from suicide, I fear it is something that is still too painful to talk about. I genuinely waited for my mother to text me about the breaking news, as I felt if she wanted to talk about it, she would.

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It has been on the news that the lead singer of the band Soundgarden had killed himself by hanging today. With every suicide by a well known artist, more awareness, more understanding. At least I hope this is the case. Too many people condemn suicide. I hate the fact that people have to resort to such measures for a cease in the pain, I could not imagine being a person that condemns the individual. Whether that person had a mental illness so horrific we cannot imagine or their feet were practically melting against steel in September 2001, who are we, in a completely different frame of mind, to judge how and why individuals go to the lengths they do to escape the pain.

It angers me, truly. I don’t mind admitting that things anger me, this is healthy and if I can open up about certain feelings, I will. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-29 globally. We need to stop pretending we know how much pain people go through and that death is never the answer. Sometimes it is the answer for that person. We tell sufferers to ‘man up’. We weep at their funeral, crying to the church ceiling asking why they didn’t speak up about such problems. We create this vicious circle and we need to find alternative ways around addressing such problems without labeling suffers as weak or that they undervalue life.

Life isn’t a gift that we need to force upon people that want nothing but and end to their own consciousness. We need to make life that gift, by understanding how horrific mental illness can be and preventing such illnesses from manifesting. This won’t work by telling them how good life is because yours is more tolerable. Sadly, death provides the wings to leave this world for too many people, lets stop pretending that this world isn’t worth leaving.