Stability and Solidity

You spend your twenties believing that you’re bulletproof. ~Moby~

The cycle of cognitive development can be a predictable one: as children, we are curious about the greater world, wanting to know a little bit about everything. We have little to no experience in life, and haven’t made enough mistakes to understand consequences. As teenagers, we strive for freedom and try to break free from all that constrains our perceived liberty. It is a phase in life when we feel entitled and complacent, a time when we can argue with a rationale warped to fit our desires, and a time when adults let our immaturity slide because they understand we have to experience it.

Then comes the start of independent living: your twenties. This is the phase when one realizes the immaturity of what was thought to be, as a teenager, the most brilliant or scintillating of ideas. When one looks back two years, four years, or even ten years, everything that was once believable as a teenager is suddenly impertinent to one’s physical (not perceived) reality. Everything you believed – every fantasy, every dream, every construction, every version of the future – is merely reflection of a modern fairy-tale.

The modern fairy-tale: that version of a life you spend a decade of your existence romanticizing – everything that you want to do after college – to work or to study, to experience or to define, to attempt or to decide. All these questions run through one’s mind simply because each day inspires new possibilities. It is in this phase of cognitive development where one is perfectly capable of differentiating between rationale and desire, yet may not have that worn-and-torn life experience called “cynicism” to deter an attempt at making a dream come true. This, however, differs subjectively based on the approach in which one uses to render this romanticized fantasy a reality, but ultimately, humans work with what is known: and where knowledge is lacking, experience is needed. Thus, being in one’s mid-twenties in the twenty-first century first world has offered vast opportunities and ways to actually live, and not merely exist.

Being in one’s twenties is supposedly the best time to gain experience, but this definition of “experience” merely pertains to the “experiences” that you choose, not the ones that are thrust upon you from your childhood. By this reasoning, “experience” is not limited to age: children and teenagers can easily go through just as much (if not more) than adults, and after one’s twenties, experience does not cease to be gained simply because one “grows” or (at times) matures. “Experience” does not simply mean “something that happens in life,” it refers to what is gained or lost from the “happening” or “occurrence.” Conversely, as experiences are subjective, one of the biggest mistakes many parents make when raising children is putting the child into a similar situation in hopes of determining the child’s experience. The experience is not a mistake – manipulating the variables in such a way is, because it is a common misconception that one can repeat or reconstruct a certain experience.

Experiences are meant to be had, not explained.

Gaining experience and living an “exciting” life depends on one’s personal definition of the words but also the approach one takes in reaching the optimized goal. To some, “excitement” and experience come from travelling the world, from exploring and understanding cultures and societies; to others, stimulation or excitement come from doing what one loves, and loving what one does. Furthermore, some regard experience as the amount of pain and suffering one has to endure in order to develop resilience. When one reaches their twenties, the two priorities in life suddenly become “stability” and “solidity,” and these can involve any category in life. Stability refers to career, finances and relationships; solidity to self, friendships and family. The common misconception is that living an exciting life doesn’t entail stability – again, this depends on one’s personal definition of “excitement.” There are times, however, when stability has to be sacrificed in order to gain solidity, and vice versa, but this is not an ultimatum. If sacrifices are inevitable, though, they are based on one’s personal definitions of “excitement” and “happiness,” combined with the goal one hopes to achieve.

To those who deem “excitement” as world travel, stability is not necessarily a component, but solidity is – solidity in finding one’s self, in cherishing and building solid friendships, and for many, establishing a firm basis with family now that one is old enough to communicate without being patronized. To those who deem their everyday life as excitement may entail, at times, losing a sense of self to complement the chosen path, only to find one’s way back to solidity. To those who intentionally take the toughest route in hopes of growing back stronger, who absuse “pain” as a method of gaining experience, may work for some but not all. This methodology may work for those who trust that their support network is strong enough when they need to recover from the “battle,” but if the support network was that strong to begin with, then why take the route of masochism in the first place?

Every mistake is an experience, but no experience is a mistake.

Nonetheless, each individual takes a different approach towards achieving their perceived definition of happiness in starting a journey of a “life of fulfilment.” Whatever the definition, priority or goal, the ultimate enrichment, experience and enlightenment comes from one’s own chosen path – mistakes and failures, accomplishments and achievements – thus, stability comes from routine, practice and habit. It is a lifestyle which can only be achieved with a certain amount of sacrifice along the way – that sacrifice being the risk of occasional boredom, lack of stimulation or simple mundanity which constrains one’s inspiration; conversely, this small sacrifice in the beginning leads to equanimity in the long-run. Boredom and apathy are fleeting states of mind, but stability is the concrete foundation which only paves way for taller and stronger skyscrapers. Solidity, on the other hand, refers to the strength, integrity and self-assurance it takes to exist as an individual entity without the co-dependent need for a crutch. Although the paradox is that humans are reflections of other humans, the actual human experience – existence, living and being – are had by oneself. Hence, solidity comes from the ability to be, and to live comfortably in one’s own shoes.

It takes true strength to admit weakness and wisdom to admit folly.

 

Mistakes

Live Each Day As If It’s Your Last

Even towards every allusion I’ve been in love with
’cause the heart that portrays itself willingly
Is like a nation that trades freedom for stability
Its so seductive to be cold and corrupted and isolated and try to be an independent republic
But liberty to be loved on the surface is worthless
The sacrifice of revolution with no purpose ~Immortal Technique~

If we live everyday as if it’s our last, one day we’ll most certainly be right.

We live in a paradoxical world obsessed with immortality and the “future of our world,” yet we spend the evenings in bars and clubs, getting drunk screaming phrases like “YOLO” or “live for today.” How often do we wake up in the morning, moaning and groaning, dreading the day ahead? How often do we go to sleep at night thinking about how exhausted we are?

Many of us are lucky enough to climb into bed at night, in the comfort of our blankets, believing with almost 100% certainty that we will wake up the next day and continue with our (sometimes mundane) lives, but what if we don’t? What if we don’t wake up the next day, or what if we don’t make it home the next night?

We all have this life which has been handed to us, and far too often people take advantage of it. Just because not all of us have been in life-or-death situations and haven’t had the need to fight for our lives doesn’t mean that we can take it for granted. If we let ourselves become apathetic to the fact that one day, we’re all going to die, then we’re a letdown to everyone who’s ever cared about us, ever loved us, or ever needed us. More importantly, we’re a letdown to ourselves.

Everyday is a fight – whether it’s staring down the barrel of a loaded gun or just trying to get through the streets without being robbed; whether it’s going to work because you love it or simply because you need the money for food and rent. But if we just give up and retractthen our life here on earth would be meaningless because it was simply handed to us, and we never fought for it.

It’s human nature to want to survive, which means fight or flight.

But do we define survival as sheer existence or do we actually want to live? Are we here because we have no choice, and have been taught that it is our human obligation and right to remain alive? Or are we here because we actually want to seize the one and only shot we have at making a difference?

Which breeds the question of how one defines “making a difference.” Some view the “difference” or change as a macro-scale impact, whereby taking down and breaking the entire system as we know it; other see the “difference” in simply sharing thoughts and ideologies. Others, yet, see the “difference” as being there for people in times of need, and hoping that perhaps one day, maybe those people will pay it forward.

When someone sounds optimistic and hopeful, they are deemed idealists; yet, how is optimistic idealism any different to cynical revolutionism when the ultimate outcome is the same: to eradicate corruption of the human world? It is what it is, and though macro-scale change is seemingly impossible, micro-scale change isn’t, and that’s where our choices can make the biggest difference.

Is it all about us, or is it all about them?

– live each day as if it’s your last
– treat everyone around you as if it’s their last day
– wake up in the morning without hesitation
– go to sleep at night without regrets

and most importantly: make sure the people you love know how you feel about them, because the day you stop caring might be your biggest regret.

To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people simply exist. ~Wilde~

Gordan.

Everyone Loves The Lie

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost ~Aloe Blacc~

Everyone loves the lie, but no one likes knowing they’ve been lied to. Perhaps this is all just a phase, just a moment of fun. But everything is fun and games until the fun is no more and the games become reality. Every lie starts with a truth, and every truth results in a projection. You can only project so much – only lay so many burdens on the other, until one day it crushes them like an insect and you realise you’ve killed the person you once loved. Crying over someone you heartlessly slaughtered does not bring them back to life. 

Despite every futile attempt I have made at rectifying myself, no one is perfect, but some people do come close. And for as long as that one perfect person in your life appears to be everything you think you’ve always wanted, when the facade crashes, you realise that the worst advice you can ever give someone is “be yourself.”

Maybe I’m still young, and maybe the only words I have to live by is the advice I’ve ever given anyone. Perhaps we’re all just bottling up pain, and moving on from a past we all regret having lived. Perhaps one day, this reality now is a past we will one day regret; perhaps it’s a past we will rationalise as “making us who we are today.”

Whatever it is, doing the right thing works for many aspects, but never all. You can never live a balanced life whereby each and every aspect is completely fulfilled. There is no 100% – there is 99% and there is 120%, but there is no 100%.

We are over achievers; we are almost achievers. No one is merely an “achiever.”

Cryptically as I may speak right now, words evade my thoughts, and do no justice to the confusion running through my head. Happiness clouds my vision, satisfaction is not sustenance. We are not all miserable, but we all have varied definitions of happiness.

But the honest truth is that there is no happiness without the cost of someone else’s. We are all sadists at heart, and whether or not we pride ourselves in the misery of others, we take joy in knowing that their misery is not our own, even if we are the sole cause. Happiness is not overrated, but misery loves company.

And happy people do not love the company of miserable people, but they always earn the company of many others. How we deflect, what we do, what we say, the persona we all present, is all irrelevant at the end of the day. Why? Because miserable as someone may be, they do not venture into happiness. Some people are perpetually miserable, and if I could choose right now, I would not sacrifice my happiness for anyone or anything, because ultimately, until you learn to be your own source of happiness, you will never be happy. 

So wake me up when this is all over, because maybe I’m young and maybe I’m naive, but I’m also young enough to let myself be naive.

And sometimes, doing the wrong thing isn’t so bad if you can find the right balance.

Hold still right before we crash ’cause we both know how this ends
A clock ticks ’til it breaks your glass and you drown in me again.
~Zedd~

To Secede From The Status Quo

I’m at the borderline of my faith,
I’m at the hinterland of my devotion,
In the frontline of this battle of mine,
But I’m still alive.
~Sade~

The capacity to relax and enjoy life is none but a distant memory. Futile attempts at reaching out and grasping every small opportunity just slips away from one’s fingertips at each effort made. As thoughts of the conscious mind consume one’s inner being, every truth and abstract detail is left to the subconscious to tangle whilst the conscious devours one’s soul as a hungry tiger unfed for years.

Despite a genre change in music to the ears, the flagrant fact that one is trying to suppress this stress only weans a new species of pressure. As music in one’s ears are soft and sweet, as the tranquil melodies transcend one’s subconscious to a higher state of escaping reality, the sight of the city careening forward with no looking back only brings one straight back down to earth.

Verging on mental detonation, a dire need to withdraw from reality, even for a few small and short hours is ever more imperative. There is no rest, no break, no ease from this covetous reality in which one must exist in should one choose the future one dreams of.

Suppose one’s dreams and goals were to change: suppose one would much rather reside in a forest with wildlife as his only company, leaving in the past every dime, every investment ever made. What then would become of this world? If every rich man were to leave behind his money and take nothing but food and drink to live alone, would the world then become more just? Or would it be left in the hands of the incompetent?

If every skilled rich man gave up his ambition, placing this development of a World in the hands of the inept, thus the cycle would sooner or later balance out and the world would not move forward, only remain frozen in time . The world would have no hopes of progression, nor would it have need to advance. Perhaps the world is only as sophisticated as a result of the selfishness and ego of the greedy rich man. For if the rich man were not rich, and pleonexy were but a Greek myth, thus the world would not have developed into what it is, but there would be no need to change anything.

As Rosseau once philosophized, the creation of technology and discovery of agriculture was the birth of ego and status: the knowledgeable versus the ignorant – those who could farm and those who could not. This created a cycle of dependency, whereby those who could not farm depended on those who could to feed them: those who could recognised their skill and demanded a return.

Thus, knowledge is power, but power is competitive. Competition breeds improvement, and improvement requires change. Change brings forth development, and development creates greed and ego. Greed and ego initiate impulsivity, and  impulsivity propagates dense decisions. Thus one is thrown back into a state of ignorance, only to relearn the steps already taken.

And so the cycle continues, each man for himself, all for the sake of relearning what was forgotten. With no change and no alterations. All the progress over centuries and millenniums of human existence, only to discover that after all these breakthroughs, we have gotten nowhere as a race. We are still what we always were: the instinct, the pride, the ego, the desire.

For if man were satisfied with food, shelter, sex and self preservation, perhaps the world would not be as advanced as this century, conversely there would also be no challenge and competition.

And there would be no need to secede from the status quo.

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
~John Lennon~