On November 4th, 2018, I saw JackSepticEye’s How Did We Get Here? liveshow at the Edinburgh Playhouse. And it changed my life.
For those of you who don’t know, JackSepticEye, A.K.A. Sean McLoughlin, is an Irish YouTube personality who primarily does let’s plays of video games. I’ve been watching his content for roughly four years, after he did a gaming collab with another YouTuber I’m subscribed to, Markiplier. (I also saw Markiplier and his friends in Glasgow when they did their liveshow over here, check out my post about it!) Jack’s darling accent and cheerful demeanour captured my heart instantly, and here I am writing this blog post four years later, the day after seeing him perform live on stage. How far we have come.
Without going into too much detail about the contents of said liveshow, it aims to answer its own question – how did we get here? – and can be roughly described as one-third stand-up comedy, one-third audience participation, and one-third inspirational messages as Jack takes us through his life, from his childhood in a small town in Ireland, up to his present status as a well-known YouTuber with several million subscribers. This is achieved through comedic anecdotes and metaphors using on-stage gameplay, and is rounded off with one of Jack’s trademark PMA (positive mental attitude!)-inspired sincere speeches at the end that left me feeling warm and fuzzy.
But why did it change my life?
Well, technically, it didn’t. My life is still the same as it was yesterday. I’m still unemployed, battling anxiety and stress on a daily basis, and struggling to get people to notice anything I write. So I suppose it’s more accurate to say it changed how I view my life.
I have some things in common with Jack. We’re both British. We both grew up in small communities. We both have a love of video games. We both had bad experiences with higher education. Like most of his fans, I’ve heard the stories he’s told in his videos about living in a cabin in the woods, or dropping out of college, etc. But to hear them told in much greater detail, with extra information I had no idea about, really made our similarities hit home, particularly when he talked about feeling lost and isolated after leaving college.
I dropped out of university in 2012. I had been struggling with the workload on a course I had no interest in, and had only gone to university in the first place because it was expected of me. I cried almost daily, and was in a very bad place mentally. Since then I have only had a couple of low-skilled jobs, and now in my mid-twenties I still have no ambition, no goals, no career or life aspirations.
So to hear Jack, JackSepticEye, one of my idols, almost word-for-word mirror my experiences in his own stories about how he felt stupid among his peers at college and how he had no clear direction in life until he discovered YouTube, was eye-opening. Here was this amazing person who inspires me every day telling me he’d gone through exactly what I had, and come out the other end fighting and making it his goal to spread a wonderful message about hope and positivity! It completely changed my outlook on life in the space of a couple of hours.
While I’m under no illusions that everything will suddenly be perfect – Jack even says in his show that even with help, things still take hard work and dedication – I left the venue feeling inspired and hopeful for the future, for the first time in…well, ever, I think! And while I know every day won’t be good, and there will be tough times and dark hours where the little pessimism-demon who lives in my head starts to take over my brain again, I will keep trying. Because Jack kept trying. I will not give up. Because Jack didn’t give up. I will not settle. Because Jack never settled.
Thank you, Jack.