Existential

We’ve rehashed it so many times in our heads. What on Earth are we here for?

Having existential thoughts can be really silly and annoying. We’d rather think of the mundane and go on with our undramatic lives. 

I was alone and I looked out of the window as it bathed in the morning radiance. It felt palpably light for no reason. Cheesy but cellular deep down.

Because it’s easy to forget why we’re even here, I thought it was good, if not critical, to pause, converse with our thoughts, and dig some meaning. 

What’s notable in today’s age is how easy it is to get lost scrolling, waste time and be swallowed whole in discontent. Somehow, unknowingly, we wound up lost in the bandwagon. And suddenly it’s the norm to catch up.

There’s also a lot brewing in the background – in our glowing phones reside fake news, conspiracies, chauvinists, climate change and just the fad for excess faces.

It can be a mindless battle.

And maybe, when we leave the scene of madness, when we take a moment to see what’s really happening in our bodies, our thoughts, our actions, then maybe it’s going to make a little sense.

At the end of the day, I know well how I’m going to spend it: walk, cook, eat, watch, read and rest. It’s the same everyday with specks of difference. As an introvert, I like it. 

What probably makes a particular day count is when I care to be mindful. It’s when I take seconds to pause and sit with my emotions and have a conversation with it.

It’s during those moments when I smiled, noticed something interesting, did something differently, opened up, initiated, calmed down, helped someone, and got out of my way. These were moments when I was most in touch with myself. Aware and attempting to connect.

The practice could get arduous so maybe I’m better off with my pacifiers. If I slip back, however, I knew it was going to be easy, comfortable, but painful.

I realized that, unless I leave the autopilot, I’d never really know what it feels to be truly alive. 

 

Perpetual Search

Our lives seem to revolve around searching for happiness. It’s as if the most evasive treasure in front of us – something we can’t posses until we satisfy some heavy terms.

It doesn’t have to be, though, because we can be happy right at this second. 

We can relish on someone else’s smile.

We can be delighted by someone’s candid expression.

We can be uplifted by a friend’s hug.

We can take refuge in a song.

We can feel that surge of energy when someone recognizes our efforts.

We can be blown away by the beauty in front of us and wonder why it has taken so long to see it.

So it’s relatively simple to be happy. It’s a state of mind where we don’t need a logical reason to appreciate simple, tender moments.

What I think fits the most elusive character is meaning. It’s not new that it could take decades or even a lifetime to find it. But that’s sad because our lives are short.

What we do and why  we do it is often perplexing. We think our choices will eventually reveal their purpose and sometimes we’ve waited long enough to dig some meaning and for some reason it still doesn’t pan out.

However the case, meaning is what we make it out to be. We don’t find ourselves – our passion – as we are often told. Instead, we create ourselves through direction.

That direction is attuned to our values. They can be as simple as being there for our friends, our families, taking small steps towards a hobby or inclination, or making small leaps in our career.

To get from point A to B, it helps to write down goals. But, often, to validate out goals is to first examine our values, the core of our direction. If contributing to other people matters to us, then help. If we seek to make art, then create. If we yearn for our voice to be heard, then speak.

Make specks of meaning whatever makes sense to you. Let the nudge in your heart be your direction. Create yourself through the lens of your values.

That One Short Shtick

bakuman
Takagi and Mashiro-kun fusion in Bakuman

Is our one life really that short?

Why is Seneca smart-talking us on how much we squander our life on earth? What’s the fuss about Steven Pressfield urging us to bring forth our creation, otherwise we’re doing a huge disservice to humanity? Why does Tim Ferriss show us we can be good enough in 6 months, not in a decade? 

There’s this weird thing about a random quiet downtime where you see birds flying and suddenly you’re struck with thoughts of what on earth you’re here for. Welcoming the sudden preoccupation, I mull over why I’m at a certain place doing a certain thing with certain people. I think of what I’ve done and what more I haven’t. The latter bugs me.

It’s not surprising they were results of the decisions we make. In my mind, I could have been someplace else. In my fantasy-greased mind, my alter ego is instead bequeathed with a quill and cloak, traversing the world with excited eyes.

But I’m in the real world with real circumstances. The days stretch for a long time when we’re bored or only when we desperately want it to end, but most days, I realized, are short. Sometimes I feel a gut punch for squandering a big part of it, and I’ll continue to be unless I hold dear that one short shtick I have.

Maybe wielding that shtick is often difficult; perhaps that’s why we feel the most resistance to it. Because it’s important, our guts tell us it has to be done. It could be the very thing that will make us most alive yet we can instantly extinguish it with irrational fears and excuses.

However, when we change our minds and realize it’s not deadly at all but actually crucial to our existence, we can start going to that sacred place, light that short shtick and make it count for more.