Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A Fear of Endings

Have you ever been reading a good book (or a series of books) or watching a particularly good television series and then suddenly found yourself at the end? Have you found yourself so immersed in the media that you've crept progressively closer and closer to the grand finale without even realizing it?

As you come upon that ending do you suddenly find yourself filled with dread at the thought that it was done? The sudden feeling that there is no more in this world to be had and your experience with that media is now complete. In short, have you ever finished something and felt your life was meaningless?

All credit to and Sarah Anderson
If you have felt this sudden existential dread you may suffer from what I like to think of as a "fear of endings". This of course will be a sensation quite familiar to Firefly fans.

However, in all seriousness I have found myself suffering under the grip of this phobia-I-just-now-invented on numerous occasions. The most recent was with the Netflix series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. The dark wit and absurd premise makes it irresistible to me. Calling like some morbid siren, bringing me to my doom in the thrall of its witty spell. The humor and emotion conveyed by the actors is simply amazing. Even knowing there are more seasons coming up, I have thus far found myself unable to watch the last two episodes. Partially because I fear for the characters (despite knowing what will happen) and partially because I simply don't want my experience with the show to be over,

I suppose sometimes it is hard to move on.

With written words, this sometimes happens too. Finishing the final installment in the Harry Potter series was almost painful. It was, quite literally, a part of my formative years from when I was learning to read to when I was reading voraciously all the time. The final installment (even though the movies would continue to disappoint for years) felt like a very real chapter in my life had ended.

It is of course, an illogical feeling. This is something I easily realize. Yet from time to time I am simply unable to shake the dreadful feeling of the finality of putting down a good book, or finishing a quality television series. Not really from any sense of unanswered questions, but from the awful sensation that there is nothing more to enjoy.

My mind just sometimes has difficulty coming to grips with the idea I won't be seeing any more adventures with Harry Potter. I can't really believe that I won't be going to anymore planets with the Stargate Teams. The Third Age of Middle Earth can't really be ending, and the hobbits won't be going to Isengard any more. 

That though, really ought to tell you the creator of a particular media has sucked you in. They have created a world where you want to explore and one you can get lost in. That is how we use fiction and media as escapism, where we get to forget out worldly problems and enjoy ourselves in a world of fantastic beasts and space exploration sometimes. Or even a light romance where we can fawn over the dreamy couple and root for them to succeed.

Sometimes the issue isn't escaping from the real world, but escaping the fictional ones!

I do wonder whether anyone else is sometimes unable to bring themselves to read the final chapter of a book for days. They just can't press play on that last episode. Or won't want to find out what has happened to their favorite characters because that will be it.

I know I hesitate sometimes, but eventually, my curiosity just kills me. In a fictional way of course! Here's to all you other end-phobic people out there! May we conquer our fears and discover how it ends.

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