I Forgot to Die

I had a pleasure of reading I Forgot to Die by Khalil Rafati. I read the book in a single day, and here are my thoughts. The book is an easy read. It has a very flow of consciousness kind of vibe so it’s easy to pick up, and reading it was enjoyable. At the same time, it’s not some hugely intellectual book - it’s rather simple in prose and sentence structure.

  1. Some people get lucky, and have stars line up for them despite all their troubles, given that they are motivated and willing to change. I feel that Rafati, even with so much time lost as a junkie, was able to pull himself up because he was willing to change. However, what really questions me is that why did he choose to change on the 9th time he overdosed? Why couldn’t it have been earlier, and why couldn’t it have been later? What was special about this time that made him start digging himself out? I mean, the past 8 times he overdosed, he might have thought that this was as low as he could get. But he kept sinking lower and lower. Similarly, why do people choose to exercise and get in shape, or get their shit together, when for the past God knows how many years they’ve been neglecting? I’m always curious of what is the last straw on the camel’s back that prompts people for these drastic changes.
  2. Usually addiction start with little things, and they are very hard to escape once you’re pushed to the deep end. Addiction is super-vicious cycle. Maybe it’s perhaps the way we’ve been built? If something is good, we go do it over and over. My thought on this is that human psychology is deeply rooted in present-focused gains. For many animals, the next day isn’t guaranteed. So instinctively, we are not used to planning ahead for years, or even months. So long in our history there was no guarantee that we’d even be alive the next day, so all our decisions gravitate towards optimizing for the next X span of minutes. So in terms of addiction, I think you start reinforcing that part of the brain for immediate need and viciously strengthen the neurons that are part of that primitive wiring.
  3. NO ONE starts out as a full blown addict. It creeps on you gradually. This principle is the same for life. No one becomes fat the next day wake up, or people amass significant amount of wealth when they wake up the next day. It’s a gradual process. No genius is born one day and the next day comes up with the Theory of Relativity. It’s a matter of gradual, slow progress until you look back and say, dang, I’ve come a long way…

    For me, I’d like to ask myself: have I moved the ball forward, farther than it was yesterday? That’s all that matters. To become better and propel yourself forward.

  4. The last page of his book had an impact on me. He says that, after exploring many different religions and ideologies, he ultimately cites Jesus: Love your God and neighbors, and states that is the only thing you need to know. This is somewhat true. Loving God can mean different things, if you don’t believe in the existence of God. One can interpret it as respecting the divine and existence of human life. But I digress. I think this statement is universal in nature, and religion independent. I think that would be the primary criteria that one would be judged when one meets their maker.
  5. At any point in life, people can turn their life around and just go for it. It’s simple. Work hard and have a laser focus. But it isn’t easy. Nothing in life that is ever worth it is easy, it seems.
  6. Don’t invest in things that you don’t understand or outside your realm of expertise. I think one part of the book he invested in some financial instruments and lost all his money because he didn’t pull out.

One day, when I visit California, I would like to go to his establishments =D.