Just a few weeks ago, in April 2015, a man was killed by a GO train at Toronto’s Union Station. On an otherwise tame Tuesday evening, Daniel Panacci “was dragged to death” (Toronto Sun).
I use the GO train everyday, twice a day, to get to and from downtown Toronto. I use the subway, multiple times a week, when I don’t want to walk to work, about 25 minutes from Union Station. I took public transit for summer school in high school, and I took it to my University for all lecture hours and my part time job.
Thousands of people use thousands of public transit routes everyday. Should all these people worry for their lives each day?
I don’t know. I honestly don’t.
When I first heard the news about his death, people said he came under the locomotive. Days following, people said he jumped, people said he fell, people said he tripped. I thought of it only analytically, and nothing else. As time went on, less people talked about the incident, about him, about overcrowded platforms and construction, about death. But I thought about it more.
I started writing this post 2 weeks following the incident, but as I went on writing, I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was that I wanted to say. I couldn’t figure out exactly what my response — emotional or otherwise — would and should be.
A young 30-something-year-old with a family, a job, friends, aspirations, a life… died on his way home from work on a tame Tuesday evening. What does that say to you?
It doesn’t say anything, actually. Rather, it kind of stops you dead in your tracks and begs the proposition that life can be taken away any second, in any one of thousands of ways, happening even perhaps to the most otherwise self-aware people.
It made me think, where am I in life? What do my relationships look like? What are my goals? What do I do, day in and day out? What gets me out of bed in the morning? What am I living for? If everything were to just end tomorrow, where would that leave me and the people who are currently a part of my life?
The expression “YOLO” has caught so much momentum over the past few months (thanks to Drake’s The Motto). But really, you do only get one shot. All I can muster up here is… keep your relationships healthy, your loose ends tied, and your cans of worms closed. Do your best not to let anything end on a negative note. When it will all end, you have no clue. But you do know about and have control over your “here and now,” so take it and run with it; own it, and do as much good as you can with it. While you can, as best as you can.
Keep on keeping on.