For the past 24 (almost 25 (good God what is happening?!)) years I’ve been trying to understand myself.
I came to the glorious conclusion a long while ago that the probability of that ever happening is slim. To none.
So, never probably.
It’s not going to happen.
(these are incredibly bleak words for those who believe they will one day understand me as well. At the very least I promise to always offer you variety)
The thing you hear a lot in your early twenties (am I still in my early twenties if I’m going to be 25 soon?) are people on some internal, Meccan (that’s not a word) journey to “find” themselves.
It’s a whimsically fantastic idea to imagine walking through a riverbed in Asia, turning over a moss-covered rock, and feigning amazement as all of the reasons for the periodic sadness and discontent in your life materializes…and rights itself. Blam: complete self-satisfaction and worldly understanding (like an expensive and less tasty fortune cookie). Contentment.
I tried this once. In Europe. I searched for answers to my life at the bottom of gelato cones while I chased chicken-sized pigeons around town squares (seriously). I prayed in giant Catholic churches and lit candles and climbed the stairs of gold and marble laden cathedrals. I sat in windowsills in the middle of the night with my notebook and drank so much coffee in corner cafes that I thought my heart might explode. I posed with marble statues and street-artists, drank liters of wine, and rode around in tiny boats while inhaling all sorts of smoggy air.
Mainly, though, through my eleven day period of attempted internal excavation, I was trying (madly, desperately, unsuccessfully) to fill myself up. With experience, with understanding, with happiness. Fulfillment. Whatever. I was looking for myself. Or whatever it was that was going to make me feel like the whole version of myself.
If we are completely honest with ourselves, these types of grand endeavors are just grand distractions.
We implement these kinds of things into our daily lives on a smaller scale quite regularly.
As it turns out, regardless of what distractions you feed yourself, they will eventually wash comfortably into your everyday. New cars, new clothes, new locations…all of these things eventually tire of their newness. Cars get dings and cracks and coffee spilled over the seats, your favorite jeans wear out, your new house or location is eventually just something you wake up inside of every day. And then, as the novelty of the newness wares, there you are…confronted with yourself.
That’s the thing about life. Your self ends up wherever you take it.
So, after a few of these journeys, a new car, and more than a few pair of jeans, this is what I have to offer you:
Get to know yourself. Not in the empty, “I’m going to foreign lands so that I can tell everyone on Facebook that I went to a foreign land” kind of way. Stop doing things so you can tell other people you’re doing things. Do the things that you are naturally drawn to (hint: these things don’t typically cost much).
Forgive yourself. For not being the ideal version of yourself. For the things that you’ve done that you’re not proud of. For not caring about the things that you think you should be caring about.
For not caring about yourself the way that you should be caring about yourself.
Invest in the most basic things given to you.
Your relationships are a magnificently diverse and significant facet of life.
Currently, with the distractions life offers and the novel concept of newness that can be purchased or worn or travelled to, our relationships are often qued up and confused and shuffled into this same category.
And, in a lot of cases, the newness of material or situational will win out over interpersonal. These days, it’s easier to discard than to nurture.
However, you will learn quickly that the situational and the material become much less significant or exciting when you can’t look to your right or left and have a conversation about it.
Relationships are the only thing in this world that have the ability to be as dynamic as we are as individuals. They are the only thing that will outlast material novelty, they are the only thing that will outlast the periodic excitement of situational change.
They are the only thing that will make you feel like the whole version of yourself (that and God, of course (and sometimes chocolate)).
They are worth investing in.
You can sit there all self-righteous and proclaim in indignation your lack of desire or need for other people.
But…I think that just makes you sad.
That’s my diatribe for the day.
Go out and love people. And yourself.
Or something a little cheesier
(if you can manage).