Monday the 10th of August was my 10000th day on Earth. Here's the transcript of a chat about the day I had with my partner Sarah, along with some photos I went out and took.
Sarah Walker: Hello.
Mike Greaney: Hi. I’m weirdly nervous about this.
S: It’s okay.
S: Okay. What day is it?
G: It’s Monday. It’s the 14th of August. And it’s my 10,00th day on earth.
S: So what did you do today?
G: I have a bit of a cold, so I spent the majority of the morning in bed, cuddling Sarah. You. My girlfriend. And then I went to breakfast by myself and sort of hung out at my favourite cafe. Then I went down a ravine and took photos with my pants off. And then I came home and edited said photos. And had dinner. And here we are.
S: And why did you ask me to interview you?
G: I just thought it would be kind of a nice thing. I find that when I’m writing journal entries, trying to be succinct, it just feels sort of rambling and not necessarily super real, I suppose. Or super authentic. So I thought that potentially, being interviewed would be a better way to really have a good - I’m rambling - a good handle on the day, and my last 27-odd years.
S: Do you mark milestones like this very often?
G: No, usually I don’t even like to celebrate my birthday. Milestones are not generally a thing I am particularly phased by. 10,000 days sounds like a nice round number, and it feels - not so much like an accomplishment, but almost like a triviality worth raising your eyebrows at.
S: Do you feel like an adult?
G: Yeah, I do. To be fair, though, I’ve felt like an adult since I was fourteen, which probably gives me a pretty good indication that I’m not an adult.
S: So do you feel emotionally like an adult?
G: In as much as anyone can, I suppose. Yeah, I guess I’ve spent a lot of my life not really thinking in particularly emotional terms, so I guess my sense of adulthood kind of carries over from that, where I don’t put a lot of emotional stock in the concept of adulthood, because I’ve seen adults that are fucking useless, and I’ve seen young people that, when shit hits the fan, they’re on top of everything. So I think that emotion doesn’t necessarily weigh into it, as far as adulthood goes.
S: So I feel like your framework for a goal is less, ‘You’re an adult’, and more, ‘You’re mature’, maybe? Do you feel mature?
G: Yeah, definitely. I think I would definitely consider myself mature. And yet again, I’ve considered myself mature since I was fourteen, which probably means I’m not that mature. But I certainly feel like I’ve got my shit relatively well together.
S: When do you feel the least adult?
G: Mostly when I’m dealing with anxiety, or a depressive bout. I mean, I feel not particularly in control of my life and in control of, in particular, my emotions, and that doesn’t feel very adult. It feels somewhat juvenile, I suppose. Which is actually probably part of the problem, because I feel like the idea of emotional control is a thing that is very adult, maybe? And I feel like being overwhelmed feels somehow lacking in maturity.
S: When was the last time you felt really scared?
G: Climbing down the ravine today, I was like, oh man, if there’s somebody with a knife down here, I am - [whistles] - not coming back from this.
G: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t feel fear very often. Often the type of fear I feel is more anxiety than anything else. It’s fear of things that will likely never happen, but it’s not necessarily the sensation of being scared as much as it’s the sensation of feeling anxious. I mean, I live a fairly comfortable life, so I don’t have a lot of things to actually be afraid of.
S: What are you most anxious about?
G: My anxiety tends to manifest in the idea that I can’t be perfect. It’s sort of like imposter syndrome, but not really. My anxiety manifests in a way that I feel like I am letting the team down, and everyone on the team knows that I’m letting the team down, but is too polite to tell me about it. And I feel that way about relationships, and work, and every aspect of my life - family. I feel like I’m letting the team down, and everyone is carrying me, but they’re also too nice, and like me too much to be honestly like, ‘Mate, fucking pull your socks up.’
S: Do you feel like there’s anyone who you actually trust to say that?
G: Yeah, I mean, I think intellectually I do. I think emotionally, it’s very different. Like, I know that you, for instance would, and I know that Seamus would. A lot of people that I have in my life would tell me if I was legitimately fucking up. But emotionally, it’s one of those paradoxes where the anxiety has created a safe way to get out of that, and that’s that, ‘Oh no, everyone loves you too much to tell you how much of a fuck-up you are.’ Yeah.
S: How long do you think you’re going to live?
G: Hmm. I mean, I don’t really think that I can make a proper guess about that. Because, you know, random acts of destruction happen every single day. I think that, statistically, I’ll probably live until I’m early 70s. I guess that’s the best answer I can give, really.
S: Do you have a hunch about how you’ll die?
G: Not really. Probably cancer. I feel like my stomach is generally pretty fucked up, so I’ll probably get stomach cancer and then just think that it’s the same fructose intolerance problems that I’ve always had, and then just die of stomach cancer.
S: Oh! That’s a terrible way to die! That’s awful!
G: Yeah, I mean, it’s not great. It’s not ideal.
S: Across your 10,000 days so far lived, what are you most proud of?
G: Getting professional psychological help.
S: And what is your biggest regret?
G: Not getting professional psychological help sooner.
S: And why didn’t you?
G: Because of a lack of emotional maturity, really. I feel like I spent a lot of my early 20s not really being in touch with my emotional side, which led me to some pretty dark times. I guess I was just fooling myself, basically since I left uni. And being able to step outside of that and realise that I needed help, and then going and asking for it was something that I feel pretty good about.
S: What’s something that you haven’t done that you really want to do?
G: I want to - god, so many things. But I want to hike into the Grand Canyon and canoe along the bottom of it, and then hike out to somewhere else. I think that would be fucking dope.
S: What else?
G: I want to have an extended period of time travelling. A few months to a year, where I’m just on the road, because I feel my most free when I’m just cruising around. With these sort of goals, I try to think non-professional, because a lot of self-help books, I think, and self-help programs, talk about how you should try to set career goals for yourself. Pick a target and shoot for it. But I feel like, a lot of the time, your career is actually out of your hands. It relies on a lot of other factors to make things work out. So for me, really, genuinely hoping for anything out of your career, as opposed to just having vague dreams, is a little bit of a fool’s errand.
While you can make specific, concrete plans for things that you want to do, like travel and through personal projects and the way you live your emotional life, that can legitimately make yourself happy. But also you that can achieve. I think that I used to spend a lot of time, when I was a kid- or even when I was in my early twenties - worrying that I’d never be able to make my career dreams come true, that it just wasn’t possible, and that I’d waste my entire life. And that I’d die, and on my deathbed I’d just feel incredibly unfulfilled because I hadn’t done all these things. And the longer I’ve been in my career, the more I think about the fact that it’s actually really unrealistic to place that burden on yourself, because becoming successful, especially in the arts, but in any career, is a lot of times like a lottery. So you’re better off just working to make yourself happy, and then it really ultimately doesn’t matter as long as you have fulfilling relationships and push yourself out of your comfort zone and enjoy yourself.
S: What was the last thing that made you laugh?
G: I mean, we watched ‘Rick and Morty’ like half an hour ago, an hour ago, and that made me laugh quite a few times. And you and Eve were making dumb voices in the kitchen, and that made me laugh, made me chuckle. I laugh a lot. Humour and comedy is something that’s really important to me, so I always am seeking things that make me laugh.
S: What’s something that you learned recently that surprised you?
G: That if you threw an elephant off a skyscraper, upon impacting with the ground, it would explode, basically turning to jelly, because of the surface area vs its mass, basically turns it into a splatter bomb when it impacts with the ground. Whereas if you threw a mouse off a skyscraper, it probably wouldn’t be injured.
G: Yeah. As long as it landed on something soft.
S: Huh. There you go.
G: Yeah. I was like, ‘Whoa! Crazy!’
S: I mean, I’m pretty sure when people jump off buildings, they make a pretty big splattery impact.
G: They get pretty soft, yeah.
S: What does a perfect day look like?
G: I mean, today was pretty perfect. But to expect to be able to have a day like today often feels unrealistic, because what makes it special would be taken away from it.
S: I’m not asking what would every day look like in a perfect world. I’m asking, what happens in a perfect day? Talk me through it.
G: I wake up relatively early. Somebody brings me coffee. We hang out, and read. And then fuck. And then… I don’t know. I think just hanging around home is something I quite enjoy doing. If I’m not specifically on the road, driving to a destination and hanging out and reading, I like to be hanging out at home, reading a good sci-fi book. Maybe going out for lunch somewhere quiet. Somewhere with food I can actually eat is nice. And then coffee in the afternoon, and maybe a movie. A movie with people that are really fucking keen to have a chat about the film afterwards, because that’s something that, even if I see a bad film, I just want to fucking chat it out. Yeah. I think that’s a pretty perfect day. I think there’s a lot of things I’d want to cram into a perfect day that would ruin the day because I’d get really overwhelmed by having to do a million things. A perfect day for me, okay, is one when I’m beholden to nobody to do anything, but at the drop of a hat, people are keen to go and get some beers. Or see a movie. Yeah. A perfect day is basically where I don’t feel like I'm trapped into doing things for other people.
S: If you could meet your 20,000 day self, and ask them three questions, what would you ask them?
G: Who shoots Trump? No.
G: Ah, fuck, that’s really weird. I guess I would ask them: ‘What do you regret most?’ ‘Where do we end up?’ No, actually, I wouldn’t ask that, because I don’t want to know. Yeah, I think I’d ask what they regret most as my major question, and then dumb questions about future events.
S: Is there anything else you wanted to say?
G: Ah…Put a microphone in my face and I run out of words.
G: Except for all the billions of fucking nonsense words that I just said to you now. Thank you for doing this. Sorry.