“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” -George Bernard Shaw
Spending the last two weeks asking friends to expound on both authenticity and what doors to walk through in life has been an incredible learning experience. It’s solidified yet another foundation for me to build my sobriety upon as I began to hear the same things over and over. Curiosity has grown into familiarity with every new conversation, and the common theme interlaced in each meeting has finally composed a message greater than the sum of its parts.
People move forward. The strongest people take the paths less trodden, though sometimes they find themselves among the most stupid. They understand that things change, bad things will happen, and that nearly everything is fixable. They have the wisdom to recognize that mistakes are good, fucking up is noble, and knowing what you’re talking about is invaluable. The happiest people know what they like because they weren’t afraid to figure it out by finding out what they don’t like. They faced fear in a way that made life more of an adventure than a minefield.
Kindness is an open slate. The kindest people erase everything they know when approaching a new person or problem, allowing them to engage entirely. The veils of judgement and cynicism filter so much that the outside world transforms through whatever lens is inside, making everything about us when that’s often the opposite case. Compassionate people are able to listen and analyze without those lenses negatively skewing the intentions, often benign, of whoever or whatever they are interacting with. It’s such a fundamental step into seeing the beauty and frailty in a world that’s constantly reminding us how scary and ugly things are, or telling us how strong we’re supposed to be.
Lives are messy. It’s easy to stand on a soapbox and preach about the toxicity of social media and how it’s an insincere or a fake portrait of reality. But taking the time to ask what’s really going on behind the Instagram or Facebook post provides something so valuable I’m still having trouble being able to appreciate it in its entirety. Every single person I’ve been lucky enough to talk to has a rough story, a cluttered mind or a scarred soul. I’m happy to finally throw away the idea that everyone else is killing it and I just suck at life in exchange for the concept that we really are in this together, that we’re not alone, and that we all could use a little help.
Human existence is … uncoordinated. It’s being in a state of imbalance at all times, one moment away from getting pushed over. It isn’t happy, and calm, or full of love. It’s stressful, and lonely, and confusing, and terrifying, and so frustrating so much of the time. And it’s not that there isn’t joy or peace, it’s just that those are the highlight reels and what drives us to be better. It’s a balancing act on a high wire, but with milestones along the way. And we’re blessed with hindsight so we can always look back and remember how far we had to walk that tight rope to get where we are.
The resilience and strength in the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet with gives me the motivation and confidence to finally follow my intuition. I’m going to ignore this idea that the term “adult” has a specific definition or pre-requisite list. All that matters right now is that I progress. I’m still an idiot surrounded by people way smarter than me, have enough emotional baggage to fill a room, and am afraid of life more often than not. I still write terrible cliche thoughts like this down when I have an epiphany about something everyone else has known for years. And I get the funny feeling I will always be catching up to everyone else.
But I think that’s all okay. And I think things are going to be okay. I think I’m ready to stop fucking about and get things moving.