Fifty Reasons to Live | Teen Ink

Fifty Reasons to Live MAG

May 10, 2009
By Anonymous

A few years ago, when I was 14, I didn't want to live anymore. It all seemed so hopeless. Everything. I remember.

The guidance counselor had thrown me out of her office. That doesn't happen to normal people. Normal people go to the counselor and get the help they need. I was too messed up to be helped, too messed up to put up with it anymore.

No one could have suspected something was wrong with me. I had always been the clown in my social circle. Clowns don't cry.

But I did.
Even at the community theater, the only place that gave me moments of happiness. Something about the darkness did it. Sometimes I would sit on the floor between the curtains and just let the tears flow. It was easy when I was a stagehand. No one could even see me, garbed in black, hiding within the black curtains with the lights off.

I was invisible. And no one ever knew.

Then things started to get really bad. My grades fell. I spent more and more time by myself after school. I was living in Germany on a stupid army base. There was nothing more isolating than spotting someone I knew every time I left the house. I always had to be on my best behavior. I had to keep looking over my shoulder. I couldn't let up, because they couldn't know the truth. There was no sanctuary. Fear was my cage. The bars were cold, black, unbreakable. I was inside.

And I was alone.

One night I took out a piece of paper and a pen to write the first draft of a suicide note. Of course I would do it in drafts; personality quirks don't just disappear, even in times of extreme hopelessness.

I touched my pen to the paper but couldn't write. Words wouldn't come; my pen wouldn't form them. Instead I took a deep breath and wrote something entirely different.

50 Reasons to Live

1. My family would miss me.

2. My friends would miss me.

3. I want to grow up to be something.

4. I want a chance to change the world.

5. I want to go on a date.

6. Old people get discounts.

7. All that dirt on top of my coffin would be ­really heavy.

8. I would never find out who won “American Idol.”

9. When Bush leaves the presidency, I want to throw a party.

10. The afterlife seems scary.

11. I really need to pass gym class.

12. I wouldn't get to pick the clothes they'd bury
­me in.

13. Katie doesn't have the guts to be the big sister.

14. Mom and Dad would have to start paying babysitters without me.

15. Funerals are expensive.

16. I would miss fudge brownies.

17. I need a haircut.

18. I want to learn to drive.

19. I want to be old enough to legally drink.

20. I have heard it's a real shame to die a virgin.

21. I don't want to die before my virtual pet.

22. No one would be around to clean out my closet.

23. The world needs my help.

24. At this point, things can only get better.

25. Just as I don't want to lose the people close to me, they don't want to lose me.

26. I want to at least earn a high school diploma.

27. I'd like a college diploma too.

28. There might not be chocolate in heaven (assuming there is one and I go there).

29. You can't eat ice cream in hell (assuming there is one and I go there).

30. Life shouldn't just be thrown away.

31. I want to know who gets killed next on “Lost.”

32. A teacher I had once said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

33. People don't reach their life quotas until at least age 87.

34. With my luck, I'll probably have a winning lottery ticket in my pocket when I go.

35. Even if my life is not important to me, it's probably important to someone.

36. The seventh Harry Potter book hasn't come ­out yet.

37. If God is real, I picture him to be a lot like that kid sitting on an anthill burning ants with a magnifying glass, and I'm not real excited about meeting him.

38. A lot of people deserve to die more than I do.

39. Claustrophobics and coffins don't mix.

40. I don't want to choose the day of my death.

41. I hear senior year of high school is pretty fun.

42. It would really suck to attempt to harm myself and end up surviving anyway.

43. Maybe there's someone out there who understands.

44. They need me at the theater to do those tricky scene changes.

45. No one else has half the sense to edit that stupid school newspaper but me.

46. I would really miss science class.

47. I refuse to become a statistic.

48. I want a chance to do something stupid at ­graduation.

49. Life can change, but death is pretty absolute.

50. There is always a reason to live.

I couldn't write a suicide note. And I couldn't commit suicide without writing one. So I didn't die. We moved away from that army base, but I wasn't fixed.

I started my sophomore year of high school no less messed up than I had been the previous year. I was just stuck in a writer's block.


They saved me. They changed me.

I told my English teacher first. Fighting against all my mental conditioning, I let the words out. And she didn't hate me. She didn't kick me out of her room. She gave me a hug. I cried and cried that night, but I wasn't crying out of hopelessness this time.

My history teacher was next, much later in the year. I had begun to think that maybe the English teacher was a weird exception to the rule, that no one else would react like she did. But the history teacher didn't hate me. She didn't throw me out of her room.

She put a hand on my shoulder and smiled gently, reassuringly. Maybe
the guidance counselor had been the ­exception.

My cage opened. They reached in and helped me step out, guiding me with kindness and advice. Together we walked out of the darkness, out of the gloom, away from the depression and into the light. They urged me to look up at the sky, the azure, expansive wonder rolling out over my head. Look up and beyond, they said, look at your future, see where you can go. They took my hands, ruffled my hair, smiled and nudged me forward. Never stop moving, they said, never allow cages to hold you, never stop dreaming, never stop making your dreams come true.

This was what I had almost missed out on, what I had almost left behind with reckless abandon – love, in all of its blinding singularity, going on forever right in the place I had never thought to look.

I wiped my eyes and looked up. Love was there, just as tangible as the two people who had led me
to it.


I keep my failed suicide note inside my sophomore yearbook, which I asked both teachers to sign. The paper is wrinkled and torn. The folds are deep. My handwriting is illegible in some parts, but I know what it says because I committed every word to memory as I wrote it.

It is a token from a place I will never return to. It is proof that I survived. It is something born from the darkness that helped lead me to the light. It is a piece of writing that I unfold and reread on cloudy days to remind me that the sun will always return with the morning light.

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This article has 104 comments.

OzzieNoBlade said...
on Nov. 12 2020 at 5:55 pm
OzzieNoBlade, Just A Kid, Other
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't a fantasy, but your mind is.

best memoir i read

OzzieNoBlade said...
on Nov. 12 2020 at 5:35 pm
OzzieNoBlade, Just A Kid, Other
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't a fantasy, but your mind is.

and also i know how you feel because I had a depressing life till a family member of mine pulled me out of there and gave me a second chance to redeem myself and see what the world has for me and thank you for being alive :) >:3

OzzieNoBlade said...
on Nov. 12 2020 at 5:32 pm
OzzieNoBlade, Just A Kid, Other
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't a fantasy, but your mind is.

This makes me cry. but not sad tears at the end, happy tears. I'm glad that you got out of depression and have a happy life just know someone is going to be there always.

on Jan. 9 2020 at 11:09 am
AntonioBrunell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Thank you so much I been struggling with depression and anxiety for about a year now and this has given a tiny bit more hope to keep going on in life, thank you

nancyafiske said...
on Jan. 9 2020 at 9:09 am
nancyafiske, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
thank you. i needed this

elevoir04 said...
on Nov. 15 2019 at 9:28 am
elevoir04, Brownstown, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
most of these reasons are bad

on Oct. 27 2018 at 10:04 pm
bleedonpaper03, Syracuse, New York
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Thank you SO MUCH for this lovely piece of writing and thank you even more for staying alive because you are a lovely artwork and I'm so so so so glad you exist.

on Oct. 18 2018 at 1:55 pm
Thelonelygirl SILVER, Worthington, Ohio
5 articles 0 photos 4 comments
God bless you, you are an amazing soul! I found out about this piece from a writing class I am taking and this truly made me laugh and cry. I know how you feel, there have been times when I sat down to write my suicide note but what comes out is different, that's how I get my poems. I struggle everyday with depression and anxiety, but I know there is a light at the end of my tunnel and a rainbow after my storm. I hope you are doing well and I wish nothing more for to be happy and well!

on Sep. 24 2018 at 10:10 am
OpheliaBaudelaire BRONZE, Athens, Other
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
All the world's a stage and the play is badly cast

This is incredibly beautiful! I live with depression and anxiety and I might not be living well, but there are books to read, hot chocolate to drink, and GoT s8 hasn't come out yet. Excellent work! I love your style cause there's humour but it's also very ironic. :) Stay alive, everyone. Although life is the hunger games.

NoahAZVA said...
on Sep. 3 2018 at 12:39 am
NoahAZVA, Safford, Arizona
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I struggel with depression and anxity, due to physical and (more impactful) mentel from my ex step dad. I never really got over it but this will help me explain that depression is not somthing that one can just "get over", I thank you for writing this beutiful emotionally impactful work.

Bri2004 said...
on Aug. 19 2018 at 10:19 pm
Bri2004, Socorro, New Mexico
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Suicide is a permanent answer for a temporally problem

Thank you. I read this for a class assignment. I have a bad relationship with my father, hes very abusive mentally. i have 4 suicide notes written up and about 10 self harm scars. I read this and i agreed with most of them. you really changed my POV on life. So i thank you.

on May. 11 2018 at 2:25 pm
DifferentFromTheRest, Manchester, Iowa
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
So lost, had to google myself.

I think you used true detail and humor in this. You could help many people with their feelings as well as your own. You deserve to be heard.

Sahdu said...
on Feb. 28 2018 at 3:26 pm
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
What is love baby dont hurt me

Pionex said...
on Dec. 1 2017 at 2:53 pm
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
Then please try and find your own reasons maybe even better reasons. Just stay alive.

Pionex said...
on Dec. 1 2017 at 2:50 pm
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
It won't taste good.

Pionex said...
on Dec. 1 2017 at 2:50 pm
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
You can make it. Don't worry your not alone none of us are alone. If you want more inspiration listen to the musical "Dear Evan Hansen".

Pionex said...
on Dec. 1 2017 at 2:48 pm
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
Thank you so much for thins story it is so inspirational. You have impacted so many lives.

on Sep. 12 2017 at 11:52 pm
This just made me want to kill myself even more

on May. 29 2017 at 5:50 pm
I needed this.

Fashion said...
on May. 20 2017 at 12:11 pm
Thanks a lot, u saved me for today