“How do I live the death of a bachelor?” Brendon Urie asks in Panic at the Disco!’s same-titled song. It’s a tune about moving on, about growing, but also about mourning the loss of a character we no longer get to play.
I can only imagine Urie’s rockstar lifestyle in the early days of PATD’s global success, and while I’m not sure how much he really regretted giving up the bachelor life when he got married in 2013, a decade later, he is retiring many roles at once to take up the mantle of being a father, including some that defined his life for the last 20 years.
I’m not married yet, but I don’t have any jitters about hanging up my “bachelor’s cape,” mainly because it’s a part I was never good at playing to begin with. “Bachelor Nik” is one of my weaker characters — and weak characters die easily. In the real world, unlike in action movies, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
If a role you desperately want to play refuses to fit your soul like a second skin, perhaps you need to work at it. You can’t be a writer if you barely write, and being a good friend requires actually picking up the phone when people call you.
Before you rush to the dressing room and dive headlong into a new identity, however, ask yourself why you so badly wish to step on the stage in the first place. Is this the role you want chiseled onto your tombstone? Do you just long to be cool? Is it a character you want to be for its own sake, or is there some ulterior motive? Depending on where the probing leads you, you might find it’s easier to just bury a false god instead of worshipping it.
If you’re not good at keeping up a certain image, perhaps that’s not a facade for you to maintain. Quitting isn’t always the right thing to do, but it sure helps to remember you have the option — especially when society pushes you to wear a pair of shoes that really won’t fit.
“The death of a bachelor seems so fitting for happy ever after,” Urie sings. Whether it’s our weakest performance or our strongest role, sometimes, who we were needs to make way for who we’ll become. Losing even a minor role can feel painful, but what’s a little sadness in exchange for the unknown but plentiful rewards of new beginnings — like “a lifetime of laughter at the expense of the death of a bachelor?”