On the Fragility of Life

A boy, Anthony, I was close with my senior year of high school passed away yesterday. He was a New Jersey state trooper–it was car accident while on patrol late at night. Sadly not the first time I lost someone I was close with senior year of high school, but that one’s a whole other can of worms.

The last thing I want to do is be insensitive, or make it about me, but I think when these things happen and you are straddled just enough between it having nothing to do with you1 and it hitting close to home2, you can’t help but reflect on your own life.

It was quite a gut-check for me. Always good to have those, but obviously never in this way. Even in a potentially dangerous field like law enforcement, you don’t expect this sort of thing to happen. Losing Lucas years ago has given me a biased viewpoint on the common mentality youths have. I know we aren’t immortal, I am, constantly, very much aware of this. We aren’t immune to the cruel randomness of the world. This patrol that Anthony was on, it was probably very routine. He was probably bored and eager to get home and sleep right before it happened. And then he never got home. And that’s so, so unsettling.

I feel like an ass for writing about this. But I can’t help but analyze this, juxtapose it to my life, perhaps as a coping mechanism. A sort of guarded “how can I learn from this so it doesn’t happen to me?” But you can’t prepare yourself for so much in this world. And you can’t constantly think and worry about it either. You just have to live. Really, truly live.

This is why I feel one can’t take life too seriously. I imagine that sounds counter-intuitive to what I’ve been trying to say. Obviously, I take my job seriously in that I want to do well and build a career, but I am also very quick to defuse a situation with a reality check. At the end of the day, I’m making animated films. At the end of the day, I’m sitting in a room with five people with PhD-level knowledge of computer graphics and we are arguing about llama fur or grass simulations. Not exactly curing cancer over here. But I don’t regret my decision by any means.3 I try not to hold grudges, I try to keep an open-mind, I try to help decrease world suck.4 5 It’s hard to build a future when you don’t look past today, but it’s so important that you don’t take today for granted. There’s so much more to life then whatever is currently stressing you out.

This has nothing to do with animation…but I think it’s relevant in the whole ‘being human’ 6 department. I just think that most people could use the reminder to take a step back from the day-to-day grind and remember why they do it in the first place.

Footnotes:
1. Although we were on good terms throughout high school, we never maintained contact following that
2. When you go to a small Catholic high school, you end up knowing everyone
3. I’d also like to think that animation does bring joy to people, and adds much needed positivity and art into the world
4. Or at least, not add more suckiness to the world
5. DFTBA
6. Unintentional pun…

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