Ryan Baron North
I just spent the past 3 hours watching After Life by Ricky Gervais—absolutely beautiful. I spent every episode in tears. I know I shouldn’t have, being a male in America and all—men shouldn’t cry, because being angry is far more masculine. I suppose I should have stormed out of the room instead. I’m rambling.
For those who haven’t seen it, it’s about a man, Tony, who had a wonderful life with his wife before she tragically lost her battle with breast cancer, and over the course of the season we watch Tony, after failing to kill himself, take out his pain on the world around him, and himself.
Sounds like a fun little binge, right?
Well, my bulldog and I watched it in one go, and it was like watching myself. I divorced some time ago, and I grieved for a long time…sometimes I still do.
And no, no one died in my story. Luckily, that person is still out there somewhere, and I wish them the absolute best…with all of my heart. But I still felt loss. I still felt all the doors leading to what could have been close. I watched Tony consider ending it, and I remembered sitting with Ragnar—my bulldog—just wishing the house would catch on fire as I slept, or that I would be in some 90 mph traffic accident on the way into work, and I could just stop feeling so horrible… But then… who’d feed Ragnar?
I watched Tony push everyone away and to turn his heart into stone; I remembered telling everyone to just forget me, and I remember lashing out.
I remember people trying to help, and it was like Ricky’s character described: I was a rat in a trap who they were trying to save, but I just couldn’t trust anyone, or see that they were only trying to help.
Thank you, guys who were here—who stuck around.
Then, I got to watch Tony learn all the things it took me years to learn, things I’m still learning:
We shouldn’t regret. If we went back and changed something we didn’t like, it could rob us of something beautiful that bad thing brought us.
Happiness is inside—it’s something we choose for ourselves.
I may be sad and angry, guilt-ridden and in pain, but I choose to make every day a step forward, and I choose to try and make the world around me a better place. And It’s not a choice you can make just once. You have to make it every day—again and again.