Much of living a good life these days gets collapsed somewhere within the pillars of happiness, morality and love. As powerful as those are on their own volition, all three can vanish quicker than we can even realize we’re losing our grip. It’s not about just making sure you end up with a good life — it’s how effective we are in managing what causes a good life that makes all the difference. Anyone can luck into love or happiness — to create it, is a whole different story.
As I stood there with my head bowed and eyes closed, I saw where I was not even a year ago. I saw the young man who so vehemently resisted taking the look in the mirror. The beautiful, heartbreaking moments that led to the sense of calm I feel today. The pain and hurt that others so graciously took on all those years because I didn’t have the capacity to see beyond my own view. I saw it all.
What my ordinary game kept us from was reaching the apex of why you play the game in the first place. The magic, the beauty, and the honor of charging side-by-side toward a goal much greater than a single person, that you have no guarantee of reaching and an even better chance of getting heartbroken in the process.
Art is not science. Trying to fit the fluidity of human emotion into the rigid expectations we have for our lives takes away all appreciation for it. The paradox being human very much has to do with deeming the nonsense in our head as valid, while being resistant to label the ordinary as remarkable.
In any case, searching to like hell to figure out a person or organization’s motive puts you at the effect of it all — rendered powerless. And when you can’t or won’t take the time to discover, you’ll often end up choosing something apathetic by default simply because it lets you off on an easier hook.
It’s your life, ultimately. We only get one. It’s invaluable. Yet, we tend to show it in funny ways. It seems our fear gets out in front a lot faster than our appreciation and thus, the self-love factor is leveraged in response to said fear — i.e. “I’m scared shitless about the amount of time I have left, and I need to ensure it’s lived with enjoyment, care and — most notably — undisturbed comfort.”
The dreams themselves may never be realized, but the dreaming (and subsequent chasing) often produces results imperceptible to the imagination. “It’s better than I could’ve ever dreamed of,” is the ultimate goal. And you conjuring up the scary shit your ordinary self says you cannot have and gunning for it anyway is the source of someone else being able to say those words.
Life can easily become about doing just enough to look good for everyone else, blind to the fact that something’s inherently missing inside you. You know this intellectually, but catching this inclination in the moment is a taller order. The truth is always fleeting, and it’s up to us to grab hold before it surpasses our reach.
When social issues are brought up, it’s a communication that humanity is suffering. I can either get on the field and contribute something — anything — or I can remain watching from the sidelines, continuing to blow off what a vast collective are upset over. Eye-rolling, looking the other way, or pretending I didn't hear isn’t making a difference for anyone — and that’s not what I want my life to stand for.
Envy and fear are unremarkable on their own volition — most everyone deals with each — but nasty in combination. You want what you don’t have, but are too scared to go after it. You don’t value what you do have, but are so afraid of being perceived as unappreciative, you simply fake it instead of actually dealing with what’s in the way of you feeling thankful. You wish you were someone different, but paralyze when it comes time to risk who you are to everyone else.
Just know that if you grow frustrated while the spotlight remains on you, there is a way out. The second you step out from focusing on your own comfort and benefit — taking your honorable place looking in the same direction of another — the closer you are to feeling more unrestricted than you have in your entire life.
Developing yourself as a person is total paradox, man — and by the way, you don’t have to. If you do, circumstances may be a little easier to bear, but who am I to judge? Either way, I don’t have any answers for you. I’m not a guru. I’m not an expert. I’m not a “master practitioner” like the online certification I completed says I am. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. I’ve only been chipping away at my psyche from a lateral perspective for (almost) a year now — hardly long enough to develop a solid, fortified foundation to extract bona fide wisdom from.
The backbiting comments and scathing criticisms slowly debilitated my confidence, enthusiasm, and eventually, willpower. These attributes were especially easy to part with when I succumbed to the belief that no matter what I tried, I couldn’t turn the volume down on this dreadful oration — the dialogue would continue no matter what.
Which is why people that tie a rope to a stake and fuse the other end onto their soul are so inspiring. Regardless of the fact she’s my parent, I did notmake it easy on my mother. She could’ve supplanted emotional distance on top of the physical distance I created and kept herself free from disappointment, pain and helplessness. Despite what your life rules may say about how a parent is supposed to treat their child, I was well into adulthood at the apex of my selfishness and she never once took her foot off the gas. Her love never surrendered to fear. This, my friends, is real resilience.
Lucky for me, my conscious awareness was nowhere near capable of assimilating the sources of what drove my behavior. Instead, it locked its targets on warding off awkward moments in public and quieting the expressive scorn that circumvented my psyche. It became a sociological game of capture the flag where the strategy was fly low enough beneath the radar to hide the fact that despite the hard exterior and macho posturing, I brought nothing compelling to the table. I hadn't a clue who the fuck I was.
If you've been following my journey to this point, you already know I grew up a fairly troubled kid. Not so much in the sense I was disruptive to others, but more so a disruption to myself (who knows, I probably disrupted plenty of people — just way too in my head to notice). Life was merely something to bear; not to actualize or truly experience to its fringe.
Your life is worth far more than simply a distinction of how much money you make, what type of work you do, or whether or not you have a significant other. These are simply the boxes that all of us use to make basic sense of something we couldn’t possibly understand the depth of: another person’s essence.