I work in a dull office. In the break room we have a TV mounted on the wall that’s constantly displaying one of those screensaver slideshows of mountains and lakes. Lately I’ve been lingering on my water breaks. I find myself receiving much more nourishment from the images on screen than I get from the water cooler.
To say not knowing what to do with your life is scary, would be a disservice to the word “understatement”.
I often find myself in this weird, almost flirtatious relationship with my passions. I know what I’m attracted to, but I’m not always attracted to do it. The inspiration will come in waves, so strong that it’s all I can think about. It’s exciting and incredibly motivating. But then the light will turn green, the water in the shower will go cold, or my boss will tell me to get back to work. Passion has a nasty habit of striking at the most inconvenient times.
This cycle of capturing inspiration, then losing its direction is so frustrating. After enough of these “cycles”, you begin to question if it’s even worth pursuing.
Why is it that we seem to see things most clearly when we’re at our lowest? Is it a survival instinct, like some sort of emotional adrenaline when we need to get ourselves out of a rut? Or is it only when we’re at our worst, that we have the perspective necessary to see what needs to be changed at the most basic (and therefore clearest) level?
In regards to personal fulfillment, I believe these moments of clarity act as “bumpers” to life’s bowling alley. When we are feeling unfulfilled, unhappy or depressed, there is usually (hopefully) a very strong want. To feel better, to perform better, to reach someone, to be happy.
What does it mean to feel happy-sad? And why is this always such a difficult feeling to put into words? Not happy-turned-sad or the other way around, but together in one, partly sunny emotion. I recently watched La La Land again, and was pleasantly reminded that this complex emotion exists.
Think about how you are able to look back on a memory fondly, one that brought you joy, laughter, excitement, love; but one that has passed. The moment, though a wonderful one, is gone. The closest label I can think of is a kind of cathartic nostalgia. Sometimes it feels good to ache and embrace life’s growing pains.
There’s something to be said for wanting to be better. Not just thinking positively, anyone can do that. It’s painless to tell yourself nice things. It’s a different story to actually want to improve. Bettering yourself through personal growth is a beast and one that can be interpreted in almost any way:
No matter how hopeless your situation may seem, if the want is there, you have something. Don’t depend on others to help you. It’s great to have a support system, but no one can help you if you at first aren’t willing to help yourself. Before you ask yourself any of these questions, your only prerequisite is the want.
We don’t choose when we are born or where we are born. We don’t choose the neighborhood we grow up in or the middle school we attend. However, once these stipulations are chosen for us, it is largely up to us who we connect with. A mixture of chance encounters and force of will, the people we interact with can either be a passing event or the beginning of a long friendship. As we grow older, these webs of people we connect with become more and more intricate.
But even on a larger scale, when we are grown and have a bit more say in our circumstances, we’re still only floating around. Billions of people, all with their own complex and sophisticated story, just like you. Their own ambitions, friendships, religious beliefs, anxieties, joys, illnesses, loves, opinions about the latest Fast and Furious movie, the list could literally go on forever. The point is, everyone’s web is equally elaborate and ultimately their own. You are merely an extra in everyone else’s movie as they are in yours. When you connect with someone, whether by chance or choice, you entangle your webs together. For however brief it may be, you become a part of someone else’s life story.