Recently the New York Times “Happy Days” blog ran a piece by Tim Kreider, who was stabbed in the throat fourteen years ago. He writes:
After my unsuccessful murder I wasn’t unhappy for an entire year. . . . I’m not claiming I was continuously euphoric the whole time; it’s just that, during that grace period, nothing much could bother me or get me down. . . . It’s one of the maddening perversities of human psychology that we only notice we’re alive when we’re reminded we’re going to die.
It didn’t last, of course. You can’t feel grateful to be alive your whole life any more than you can stay passionately in love forever–or grieve forever, for that matter. . . Before a year had gone by the same dumb everyday anxieties and frustrations began creeping back. . . Once a year on my stabbiversary I remind myself that this is still my bonus life, a free round. But now that I’m back down in the messy, tedious slog of everyday emotional life, I have to struggle to keep things in what I still insist is their true perspective. I know intellectually that all the urgent, pressing items on our mental lists–taxes, car repairs, our careers, the headlines–are so much idiot noise, and that what matters is spending time with people you love. It’s just hard to bear in mind when the hard drive crashes.