When I was five and my brother was nine, I thought he was so big. He looked to me so advanced, and like he knew so much of the world. I couldn’t wait for the day I would turn nine and I would be that big and that smart. Fast forward 19 years later (!!) and I still don’t feel big. Tonight I’ve never felt so small and so behind.
I know the counter-arguments and -affirmations, but I still feel like I should be further ahead than I am right now, you know the feeling? College was one long winter when I was frozen and unproductive, and I feel like it set me back a few years. I had so much potential in high school, and I’m doing so much now, but I can’t help but wonder and imagine where I’d be now if I didn’t have that four-year delay.
Confession: I’ve been comparing my life to someone else’s. Hard. Down to the details and the numbers. I’m taking account of where they are and where I am, and it just doesn’t balance. I want to be on par with, if not further ahead than, other people, like I thought I would be in high school. Like I thought I would be when I was five and looking up.
So I’m writing to change the narrative I have in mind. I’m writing some notes on life and personal growth that hopefully change the framework that I’m viewing life with.
1 | Life is Absurd. In college, they taught us the philosophy of Albert Camus, who believed that life is Absurd and the universe is inherently meaningless; while Martin Heidegger philosophized that human beings were “thrown” into the world which is basically a network of existence which we create meaning out of. This sounds morbid. But all this is just to say that all we can really do is create meaning out of what’s true and what’s in front of us–what happened and is happening, not what could or should have happened.
2 | Purpose is not the point. Finding purpose in things is one of my oldest and greatest habits; but on days like this when existentialism hits me, I have to remember that there can be, and there usually is, more to life than the way things end. Purpose is not the point. The point is not the point. Creating meaning in the now is the point.
3 | If I’m happy with the present, I should be happy with the past. I can’t foresee the future because there isn’t one to foresee. It’s still being written. That’s why the end-goal shouldn’t the goal. All I have is the present to make sense of the past, and if I find that I like where I ended up (being happy now and finding meaning in that present happiness: the goal) I should appreciate the past for bringing me here.
4 | I can and will change the future. I’m taking a tarot certification course. One of the things my teacher emphasizes is that you cannot present the future as set in stone. We can alter trajectories at any point, and probably will do so once we mull over our current one and decide we want something better than that for ourselves. This adds to or completely changes the note about purpose not being the point. There is no purpose if there is no destiny for which we were created; the purpose is the direction we set ourselves on.
5 | Momentum can be rebuilt. I was regretting my four-year depressive delay and how it broke my momentum of possibilities from high school. But in a more forward-looking paradigm, I like to say that I’m making up for it. I may not be where I hoped I would be, but I’m also far ahead than what I thought possible for me a year ago. So the past is past, but the future can always be rewritten, starting with the present. I can be far beyond what I think possible a year from now. And I can write a narrative that will take me there.
Photo: Mhmd Sedky, via Creative Commons