When you really think about it, being “alive” is a funny thing. We strive for self-preservation, but existence itself can be a troubling and heartbreaking experience. We have our highs and lows, but doesn’t it always seem like those rock-bottom moments feel more earth-shattering than the sky’s-the-limit times? For me, it does. I always seem to remember my lowest lows more vividly than I remember moments of triumph.
I do a lot of complaining about my first world problems and my brooding malcontent about the way things are. I tend to take minor events and rip them to pieces in my mind for the sake of humor and ego-boosting. I constantly think of how I can “better” myself and my life; how I can achieve more, learn more, be something more prolific and exciting than what I am. But recent events have served as a reminder to me (and many, perhaps) that rejoicing in the here and now is truly important.
I’m writing this post in wake of recent news regarding the passing of Rodger Swan, upbeat, positive Japan enthusiast and popular YouTube personality. Rodger passed away unexpectedly earlier this week, and it’s left a shocked, confused, and deeply saddened group of friends, family, and fans to ask themselves: why him? Why Rodger? Since I heard the news, I’ve asked myself the same thing.
I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Rodger personally. For me, he was a friendly face on a computer screen capturing little moments of his life on a video camera and sharing them with the rest of the world. His consistently cheery demeanor and genuine zest for his life showed through. There was a total absence of cynicism in his videos, which I think is something rare these days. Many of us take pleasure (myself included) in mockery, overarching judgments, and passive-aggressive comments, but it wasn’t present in the material Rodger presented to us. I looked forward to meeting him one day at a YouTube gathering.
His passing is untimely, unfortunate, and deeply saddening. It serves as a reminder that all we can be really certain we have is the here and now. How do any of us know for sure there’s going to be a tomorrow? It’s easy to lose sight of what’s within our grasp right at this moment. I know I’m guilty of placing too much stock in my future plans, and I tend to forget that living the present is vital to enjoying the future. It’s hard to live in the moment and enjoy things simply for what they are, but I think it’s a quality that Rodger exemplified, and we could all do well to take a page from his book.
Thank you, Rodger, for sharing your life with us. You made an impact on a global community, and I’m sad you’re no longer on this earth to continue inspiring and motivating us to follow our passions. I’m sure by now your ever-present smile is dotting the cosmos.
We miss you already.