This is from my Lj, and since I feel like it's really important and perfectly captures my place in life, I'm definitely importing it to this blog:
I've got a few subjects that I've been meaning to write about, and I have a few half-started blogs sitting somewhere on my computer right now. See? I really did intend to start blogging again!
I think the most important blog I need to make right now is this one. It jumps around a lot, and is kind of incredibly massive, but it has a point. I really have come so far in the past year that it's kinda scary. My progression, sadly, isn't well documented here. It is somewhat in youtube and my paper journal, but it's mostly done with my relationships with others and especially myself. My self-confidence is insanely high these days and I'm back to believing that I can accomplish anything. After reading "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle last year, my inner cynic was released in a way I've never experienced before, and since calming it and seeing where it was coming from, I'm semi-considering picking up the book again for a few reasons. For a while, though, I was insanely bored, anxious, and almost depressed. I saw literally everything I did, everything I experienced, and everything in my life as completely and utterly pointless due to my "micro / macro" point of view.
I think I've explained this view a few times, but I'll try to give it a go again now: we are humans hanging out on planet Earth. Our lives seem incredibly important to us, as they should, and we are often plagued by the idea that we are the center of the universe so to speak. In the cold, logical reality that dominated my thinking for a while, nothing could be further from the truth. Time, space, and matter are funny things, and they have a great way of putting everything into perspective.
Let's take time apart first. In my ripe-old-age of 25, I've experienced a lot of things. So many things, actually, that most of those things rarely are thought about again after they happen, thus most of these things don't have much consequence down the line. It's true, though, that everything has its point, and I do believe that. However, it could take years for that point to manifest itself. "Time heals everything," right? That's a cliche for a reason. I encounter many people who are stressing out about the small and simple and my attitude (I hope) rubs off on them in a positive way. I'm constantly reminding people that their reactions, while understandable, are pointless. I always tell people, "what will it matter 5 years from now?" By that time, any sort of rift or mishap or negative situation related to the current problem will most certainly have cleared up, only to be replaced by new "problems." So, then, why bother stressing out about things if the you in 5 years will not care about what happened way back then (meaning now)? Do you care what happened to you 5 years ago? I'm sure there are little situations that dwell inside everyone's memory that bother them or embarrass them, but are they really that big of a deal? 5 years ago, I was in my spring semester of my junior year at UB, and I can't even think of the problems I was experiencing, but I'm sure they were there. If I can't really remember the little things from then NOW, why should I bother stressing about them at the time if they'll just be forgotten down the line anyway? 10 years ago, I was a sophomore in high school and the problems associated with that time seem so silly and remote that I can laugh at them now. I'm sure that 10 years from now when I'm 35 (holy shit), I will say the same of my problems today. Why, then, do I waste all this time, energy, and thought worrying? Why do you? Time, then, is a silly concept that provides us with nice clean slates if we allow it to and, if understood properly, frees us from some of our demons of yesterday and tomorrow today.
Space and matter are inter-related, and my "ah ha" moment in relation to them came from reading "Conversations with God" a few years ago, which I still regard very highly as it had a huge part in formulating my current and very healthy spiritual base. Once again, we are human beings hanging out on planet Earth. Our lives seem extremely important to us, and we often regard ourselves as the center of our respective universe. Small little details appear to nearly destroy that Universe, and we constantly stress about that, when they are just as pointless as we are. As humans, we are made up of many pieces. We are one whole human being first, who is comprised of a series of "systems," which are created by organs, which are made functional through cells, which are made of molecules, which consist of atoms, and so on and so forth. One can continue going down the line, and as matter continues to get smaller, one finds that it's mostly empty space with a few little dots that interact with each other through physics. Now, in the exact opposite direction, we are humans who live in towns and cities, which are a part of countries, which make continents, which make the Earth, which is a planet in the Solar System, which is one of many in the galaxy, which there are an insane amount of in the Universe. One can go up the line, and as matter gets larger and larger, one can find that all it is is mostly empty space with a few gigantic dots interacting with each other through physics. We are just a rung on a ladder, really, and who can really tell how high and how far down it goes? As humans hanging out on planet Earth in this incredibly intricate dance of existence, each one of us is unnervingly insignificant.
This point of view during "A New Earth," and for a few months afterwards, wasn't nearly as healthy sounding and was very toxic to me. The book is meant to inform the reader how important it is to understand the current moment and to not dwell on the past and future, as the are pointless. This made me very cynical, and I'm not even sure how I overcame it, but I am able to use these insanely grand ideas in my every day life now to teach me patience and temper. Nothing gets me upset anymore because I realize that my little life is entirely insignificant and that no matter what I do, things will be okay because in the grand scheme of things (hundreds of thousands of years, infinite amount of space), my little foibles and mistakes won't add up to much at all. It's freeing, actually.
For the past few months, though, I've definitely neglected my spiritual side to focus on my goal of getting into grad school, which I'm not sure is a good thing or a bad thing. Well, I'll go with a good thing because in the end, everything ends up being good one way or another. It's exceptionally easy for me to focus on the negatives of what I'm currently doing and completely ignore the positives, and I won't do that this time. I chose to make grad school insanely important to me, so much so that I've pretty much forgone every other goal in the past couple of years; moving to Italy was placed on the back-burner, finding a new job was ignored, and moving out of my freakin' parents' basement was even placed below it. Luckily, I've accomplished this goal of mine. I also realized that grad school was *MY* first goal that I've accomplished that wasn't expected of me. Getting my bachelor's was pretty much a shoe-in from elementary school, and since it wasn't that important to me because it was expected, I didn't take it that seriously. The entire grad school experience has been completely different. I've known a lot of people who have gone and finished with no problem, but for me, it's been one of the hardest struggles of my life. I think I've been working at it for two and a half years now and the fact that I've gotten accepted to such an amazing program really has yet to hit me.
Last week, I wrote an essay for a scholarship that allowed me to reflect on the past few years of my life, which Ed from even a year ago would've called a massive disappointment and a waste of time. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, though, and even though the past few years of my life have not gone exactly as I planned, I am at the point where I can see how every step, stumble, mistake, and victory have led me to exactly this point. Being accepted into this program is the momentary culmination of all of my hard work and determination, and I am exceptionally excited for what lies ahead. After seeing how life likes to throw massive and unexpected curve balls, I no longer require incredibly specific goals for myself and am more comfortable with thoughts like, "I want to be happy," "I want to travel," and "I want to positively influence the world."
In the past couple of years, I've literally had to re-teach myself confidence and basic social skills. My confidence and anxiety got so bad that I had to completely disassemble my personality and re-construct it from the ground up with nary a person taking notice. I watched people interact and paid intense attention to little pieces of conversation and communication that one usually only notices when one is young. As usual, I was being really hard on myself and would get really angry at myself if I did something awkward or laughable without realizing that it happens to everyone. I'm much more relaxed about things like that again, thankfully. Little things don't really get to me much anymore, and I have my "micro / macro" outlook to thank for that. My confidence is at a great level, and I'm incredibly happy for that. I have my moments of weakness, of course, but then I realize that getting down about stuff does me no good, and that in time (hopefully sooner than later), I'll be back to my old ridiculously bouncy self that everyone loves. Also, I never really realized how much I have to offer and the level of joy and excitement I bring to the lives of others. People are damned lucky to have my awesomness in their lives, and it's taken me quite a bit of time to truly understand that.
I used to resent the responsibility I have and the fact that a lot of people I meet rely in me in large way. First of all, I wouldn't HAVE these responsibilities and all these people relying on me if I weren't able to handle it. Second, I have these responsibilities and people in my life simply because they love me and they think very highly of me. People allow me such responsibility because they know that I can handle it, and there never has been a point in my life when that wasn't true. Granted, I'm not as "successful" at this point in my life as I would have expected, but I'd say I'm happier and an so incredibly well-off outlook wise compared to most other people my age that I think I chose the right path. I've got the rest of my life to accomplish what Westerners would consider "success," but I would never be able to appreciate it if my outlook were to be terrible.
The thing about all of this that bothers me about all this, though, is that this talk of my awesomeness, grad school, and eventual success feeds my ego in a way that hasn't happened in quite some time, and I don't want that. I don't want my confidence to come from external things that put me in competition with others. I'm not sure if that's what's happening now, because I know I'm very happy about what I've accomplished and I'm very happy about the idea of grad school, but at the same time, I know how great of a person I am for the first time in a while. I no longer feel like I'm missing out on things because I'm blazing my own path that people seem to be pretty envious of, and while I'm not happy over their envy, I am proud about the fact that I'm beginning to see what everyone else has for quite some time.