Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why Today Is Better

... than the today of 3 years ago.

I haven't wrote anything in a long time because I've been awash in thesis work but a thought popped into my head this morning that I wanted to share. So, just a few thoughts on what exactly has changed about me from 3 years ago. I can sum it up in one sentence: I stopped trying to be normal. Let me reformulate that 3 ways.
  1. I stopped aiming at being average.
  2. I no longer cared about fitting in.
  3. I gave up on other people's opinions.
But since that's not really all that helpful, I wanted to share 3 ways I did that.
  1. I stopped doing things I thought were worthless.
         I have 24 hours a day. I might have 80 - 120 years on this earth. I can't really ask for more. Do I seriously have anytime that I can casually kill? That's an incredibly short time. Why in the world would I waste any of it? That reasoing caused me to stop doing things I wasn't invested in. For example, I stopped eating with people after church.
         Why? A- I hate spending money. B- I hate greaseball food as a regular part of my diet. C- They called it fellowship but we never got closer to anything except obesity. Ergo, it was a big waste of my time. And damn, I hate wasting time.
         The amount that I really connected with people skyrocketed after this point. Instead of going where everyone goes, I decided to take the initiative. If I want to know somebody better, I'll go hang out with that person. Knowing somebody better consists of me and that person talking about either me or that person. It's produced far better results than sitting at a restaurant with 15 people talking about trash I care nothing for thinking to myself "Oh God, why the hell am I here? Is this my martyrdom for you?"
         Darwinian evolution at work. All my activities are species competing for time. If something's less capable of producing then it should just die off. Other things that I threw out of my life a- TV, b- Gchat and in the future c- Facebook.

  2. I started doing things alone.

         No one wanted to take acting or improv classes with me. So I took them alone. No one wanted to do triathlons with me (well except Liz, but our abilities are too far apart) so I did them alone. When I confronted myself with the question "Why do you need people in the first place?" I realized I had no answer. There wasn't a single good reason why.
         It was at that point that I realized no one on this earth today could ever be as invested in my life as myself, so to ask them to come along was a grievous error on my part. So the easiest thing in the world to do was to go alone. It was supposed to be this way after all.
         I did things on my own and I realized that I was far happier on my own. It didn't matter what I was doing. Their interests weren't my interests. Our friendships were built on artificial premises. For the first time in my life, I thought about building friendships on shared loves and joys instead of common locations. Should I laugh at the same jokes if I were to work at the same workplace or attend the same church? Because we went to school together, does that mean I should enjoy the same music? More and more, the crowd of people that I had previously tried so hard to please seemed like barnacles clinging to my hull. Their values weren't my values. Working to satisfy them would do nothing for me.
         This recalls a common answer to church complaints. Why, oh why, are Christians such liars, adulterers, such hypocrites and ridiculous fools? Well, God came to save the sick, didn't he? A person whose ignorant doesn't magically become either educated or rational when he converts. That's the myth of Christian media (of course). When God puts you in a church, he puts you in what amounts to a spiritual cancer ward. People who look at church and think that perfect people are supposed to be inside have no idea what a church is.
         So the effect is less, but still noticable in all areas of life. As an adult I had to stop thinking that I would run into people who had like interests. I had to go and find them myself. So yeah, I started doing things alone, but I never really stayed alone for long.

  3.  I learned what I valued.

         And am still in the process of learning what I value. Tied into the previous point, I didn't really know much of myself a few years ago. I think I wanted to be normal because there was a guide for normal people. You lived this way. Did these things. Had these problems. And fixed it in these ways. Easy. It's just like following a treasure map. The prize at the end? Someone else's life.
         And could I blame anyone but myself that the life pinched when I put it on? It didn't fit me. My dreams were far too big for dreams of living like the King of Queens. I wanted to test my limits. No one in my current networks at that time wanted to do the same. So that meant, I had to make choices. I wanted to see new and amazing sights in the world. Few around me cared. So I went with the few who did.
         More than anything, learning what I valued combined with the realization that life was quickly passing me by resulted in a reversion to child-likeness in my heart. Instead of complaining that what I wanted was so far away, that no one would do it because it was unwise, I simply went ahead and built up a new way. Like a child with no preconceptions, no models for understanding, I invented my own models. When I look back, they're nothing spectacular. Other people have done better, will do much better, but it's fine. Good for them. I'm happy fo r them and I think I only started only being able to have joy in the success of others once I started enjoying my own life.
And looking back on what's changed about me in the last 3 years, I can only look forward with great expectations. More than anything else, I think I finally look forward to the challenges that are ahead.

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