I was death-obsessed as a teenager. I thought there was something cool and poetic about leaving a beautiful corpse. I was sure I had to leave the earth at 27 like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.
When Amy Winehouse joined their numbers I started to think differently. She was someone I had witnessed through both her genius and her struggles and there was nothing cool or beautiful or poetic about it. It was just really sad. It was a tragedy.
This week I turned 27. Suddenly the idea of checking out has lost it’s appeal. I have far too much to do. I could never put myself on that path.
I have realised that I am not a rock star and never really had the attitude for it. It’s a pipe dream. I’m just not that mean. I appreciate now that not everyone is as one-dimensional as I assumed them to be. While Morrison might be seen as Mr Mojo Risin, the Lizard King poet and symbol of all that is true and holy to some, he could be a conceited and drunken arsehole. I put him on a pedestal. I thought of him solely as the former and ignored the latter.
The sad thing about those people is that their abilities were cut short. While there’s something poignant about appreciating a finite amount of work being available it is much better to see an entire journey through. It’s not better to burn out, Neil Young has disproved his own lyrics in that way.
My countdown has stopped. Now I count up.
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