Recycled 11:59s

In exactly one minute I will die.
It's as easy as one wouldn't think.


1. My seventeenth 11:59


My gravestone is in the park.

It is a small, misshapen thing protruding from some dug up grass at the very back of the park, so as to evade attention. I created it myself; so that I wouldn’t put it off. I always put things off.

But I couldn’t this time.

Do you want to know why?

You’re going to know regardless.

Because it is 11:59 and that is so incredibly important. In one minute or sixty seconds I would die alongside today. Today will become yesterday and tomorrow will become today, and I will be nothing of the conversations, places or memories I had had in my life of today. It’s a tongue twister today.

I can’t form words powerful enough because they will become lost in the black hole that were yesterdays. Yesterday, yesterday and tomorrow, tomorrow two opposite edges of a precipice with a difference of a single minute.

My death is my breakthrough, however tragic it may seem there is more to it than that. 

I have been in this exact moment, not in a park but you get my point, exactly sixteen times so far. I have recycled my 11:59s sixteen times which means that I have died exactly sixteen times. I do not stop dying. But this time it has to be the final attempt, I feel it in the locked boxes in the basement of my mind that this is the last.

But I have said that countless times also.

I have felt so sure that it was the last only to die once more.

It’s a never-ending tumble dryer. 

My gravestone is empty of my name or condolences for my death. This is for me only. An empty hole of a reminder, a must do and a to do, all at once. It wasn’t finished. Not by a long shot. I have so much to do – but for now, that’ll have to wait until later. Later is what I wanted to avoid.

I wanted to avoid the procrastination palace full of unfinished novels, short circuited dreams, and only used once gym memberships.

I wanted to avoid the hotels full of foreign language full to the brim of language books, planned journeys, podcasts and hearty promises.

I wanted to avoid the running gear that were used a handful of times on short journeys than left orphans in the back of wardrobes.

I wanted to avoid all that came when 11:59 was reborn.

I didn’t have a choice, I won’t ever have that choice. I’m not powerful enough to stop the universe from commanding its strict order.

I sit there facing the grave that will never inhabit my body, not in the physical sense anyway, and I try to recollect all of these recycled 11:59s that I have experienced. The first few were those that I couldn’t even remember, a darkness that I have to investigate. I am a clockmaker trying to put together all of my cogs and gears of my years, and yet I come back empty. I was there. I was alive. Yet I can’t remember. My heart beat still which proves that memories alone are not the only thing we need rely on. But I can remember. I remember through the words of my mother. Through the dance of her tongue as she revealed that I was only a baby, a few years old, and that I was something to be remembered. That was ironic. She told me the lullabies she sang to me on nights where sleep was rare. She told me the first words I ever spoke, my habits and my mannerisms. My mother told me that although she didn’t know how many millions of cells I was made up of, or what exactly I thought of when I smiled, or what I would become when years had went for a yonder, she knew of this. I had asked her what this was, when I was older of course, and she placed her hand on my heart. She told me that my heart was true and pure, and that everything that I was made up of – my cells, my blood, my genetics – were part of something so beautiful and unimaginably perfect.

Perfect is an unreachable goal to anyone, and so although I smiled in belief in my mother, I put it up to over generosity.

My next few deaths were things that I can remember.

One of my deaths was at a party, a rather tasteful event actually. In honesty I can be a bit grumpy about going to parties! Like the next person, I suppose. I’m fussy about what to wear and what to say to people who are just faces and nothing more, and I’m awkward when in loud places all together. Well, I should have had more faith.  The party was great.  It was held in a beautifully converted barn in a rural location on the edges of Sheffield in England.  The venue had a wooden polished floor, and was very simply decorated with some tastefully positioned fairy lights and candles.  The candles were in fact artificial for safety reasons, but they looked very realistic.  There was low-level music playing and lots of places to sit and chat or mingle with other guests.  If I remember correctly, there were white table cloths over the tables and some simple but lovely floral decorations. You might be wondering why I noticed so much about my surroundings. I was a curious child back then, just somewhat happy to dance in my lovely white dress. Not so happy when someone spilt their wine on me. Anyhow, I died among the celebrations and nobody, not even I, noticed. I was too enthralled by the chants and the cheers.

Another one of my deaths was something similar to now. I was in my garden at home, slowing things down. It’s okay to slow things down, to live in the moment because that moment is worth living. I breathed deeply under the stars as I got drunk on their twinkle. I remembered that previous year. I remembered the seasons as they whisked past that year. Spring: each day was longer than the one before, the weather was capricious yet delivered ample warmth and rain, life waked from its slumber. Summer: the days were at their longest, the weather at its warmest, plants grew vigorously. Autumn: each day was shorter than the one before, the weather grew increasingly stormy, and life was in transition. Winter: the days were short, darkness abounded, the weather was cold and harsh, and there was plenty of rain or even snow, life lay dormant; death stalked the land. Why am I saying this in past tense? That happens every year. I noticed it when I died. But I was going so slow that it didn’t matter. I twirled with my arms held wide because I was young and invincible. I did it because it was okay to feel that way. It is okay to simply be human, like we all are after all.

And as I recollected those times before me, time sped up, like time will do, and before I noticed it was seconds before my life would end.

So sitting, in a dark park I am thankful for the trees which had remained my silent soldiers of companions in this instance, the wind that was a croon in my ear – telling me that everything was pleasant – I am thankful for the air that I breathed. I am thankful for those I have met and those I haven’t yet or never will. I am thankful for everything in this moment.

Tracing the smooth texture of my grave in the park, I noticed how every single one of my deaths held one sharp similarity.

Those were the words; Happy New Year!

I have mere seconds left until I die once more. It doesn’t bother me like you’d think it would. But just in case I need you to promise me something. Can you do that? Of course you can!

Promise me that you will never spend the majority of your life treading water in fear of drowning, forgetting how you love to swim because of the struggle you have to keep your head above those waves. Promise me that you’ll listen. Now, that’s a strange request isn’t it? But listen. There’s one hell of a universe out there waiting to be explored, go on and explore it. Life is unpredictable. Don’t feel the need to keep up with it just keep running.

I feel it in my bones that the end in nigh. It’s okay. Don’t worry for me if you are.

Dying will mean that this is my fresh start.

My mistakes are forgotten.

My scars are replaced my new healthy skin, although my battle wounds are bravery points.

My fears are forgotten.

All my breaths forgotten as my seventeenth 11:59 tips over the edge and disappears. All of my memories and yesterday’s gone. My death is sudden, like the night dying into day and vice versa. It is a change of a clock. 12:00 am; today. A new year. A new today. A new tomorrow that is no longer a tomorrow. A new child with a lifespan of a year trapped in my body. I am that child. I am reborn.

With my new self I will turn silences and nights into words. I will turn the unutterable into things that could be felt, heard and seen. Can you imagine that? Sure you can, you have been reborn just like I have just now. You don’t even feel it do you? You have died and not seen a door, not seen a light or something to call you home. Hear me out: I remember death as what it was. A perception, an imagining. You do not remember anything but oblivion returns to find a voice. That voice is your resolutions and your passions, your must do’s, have to’s and I will do’s.

I will collect more question marks than there are stars in the sky, just to satisfy my endless curiosity. I will walk stories of stories and fill my new blank pages with renewed breaths of my recycled promises. I will sleep with the wolves because they know that they have something fierce among their ranks.

You have died and in doing so you have moon dust in your lungs, stars in your eyes and whole skies in your heart. You are a ruler, a child of the cosmos and dying has granted you that. A slight switch of the clock and the calendar and you are a ruler.

In our deaths we have lived within borrowed time, walked in previously owned shoes and faded, faded, faded into life’s blur. We have ended our life with love and laughter and broken hearts so many times before.

Let’s change that. Let’s do it better this time. Let’s not rely on the dice but on our own hand. We deal our own cards and never let the universe do it for us.

I will never go back to that procrastination palace because I am worth more than that. I will never waste my tongue on my own laziness of home language, because I am smarter than that. I will never break my resolutions because I am better than that. As we are living in this moment, we are dying in this year. Approximately 365 days some of us will die again, like a minute before, like in yesterday. Some of us will remain because we won’t have to die once more to right ourselves. We would have made it to our final destination. But failure is not a wrongdoing, it is a lesson, a do over, a death you will survive. You have time to figure all of this out yet.

Who are you really?

You are a thousand things that people rarely see, the tiny thoughts and unspoken dreams. You are where you are going and that is a road many of us, like I, will like to follow. You are your own.

The moral of this story is that not everything has a happy ending. The world doesn’t work that simply. It has lessons, teachings and promises. But if my story tells you anything, it whispers to you that life doesn’t have an end; even if you die.

Death is a tarnished truth, a veil of self-learning that we ourselves can beat every year.

We are immortal.

You only have to believe.

Believe what New Year’s Eve can bring to you. 

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