It happened, happens to me quite often. Too many options. Especially in our modern culture.
I used to have a girlfriend that always told me: ‘what do you want to do with your life?’ and I felt that she was mad because I didn’t know yet. Angrily, I remember asking her the same question. She answered me, but the response wasn’t grandiose. I mean, if someone already knows what they want to do with their lives, the answer they are going to give you is, at least expected, to be plain awesome, no? Nobody answers, I want to be a corporate lawyer and make a shit ton of money. Or it hasn’t happened to me yet (I’m pretty sure lots of people are there though haha until they get there and realize they don’t have time to spend the money). Meaningful and impacting answers go more in the line of ‘I want to end the systemic lies the education system indoctrinates children with, converting them into cogs in a machine that sole purpose is to juice them until they die’. Now, that sounds better, doesn’t it?
Sure, but when you’re young and you don’t understand the world, what else can you say other than climb Mt. Everest? Which was what I answered.
Life is not simple, I think you already know that. It is extremely complex. It is getting more and more complex each day. There are problems now, that are being thought by machines at a rate that is impossible for a human to process and therefore cannot even understand.
For example data. They say that data is power. You might think that you share this power alongside humanity, for the simple fact that you have your phone and you have access to all the information available out there, right? Incorrect. The people that have true power, are the companies that have the capacity to process the unimaginably enormous quantities of data. Google, Facebook, and so on. So much data and power that they are able to effectively control your behavior. So much power that I don’t think even themselves are able to know what they are getting into. Facebook wasn’t intended to divide a country so abruptly politically speaking, but it did.
Call them evil, but this is not a problem of evil vs good. The world is gray and is complicated. And it is getting grayer day by day.
How about your life? Maybe you had a stable job or business until Corona, and suddenly, in just a couple of months, everything cracked down. No one expected this. What should we do now? What should you do now?
Not knowing what to do sucks. I remember getting really mad every time the question came from anyone. Life is hard, life is complicated. There’s just too much information to be able to know anything for sure.
People may frown at not knowing what to do. But does anyone? Did you imagine where you were going to be now 5 years ago?
What should you do when you just don’t know? What should we do when no one apparently knows?
I’ve got the perfect word for you.
Refraining from seeking a resolution or ending for an emotionally difficult experience.
Which could be put in other words as fuck that question.
‘I don’t know’ is a perfectly reasonable answer. What’s not OK is thinking that not knowing something is wrong. What’s not OK is thinking that you and all of us, for that matter, should have the answer to everything.
This constant ‘want’ gets you into trouble. It gets you into trouble because it goes against the very nature of life, which is chaotic. Now, you shouldn’t stop doing what you’re doing and getting better and trying to put your life in order and setting things up so that you and the people you love can live better lives. It’s not that.
What I’m trying to say is that you do need to be comfortable with life as it is. With the bad and the good. The all-famous Amor Fati.
“…it pointed to an alternative approach, a ‘negative path’ to happiness, that entailed taking a radically different stance towards those things that most of us spend our lives trying to avoid. It involved learning to enjoy uncertainty, embracing insecurity, stopping trying to think positively, becoming familiar with failure, even learning to value death. In short, all these people seemed to agree that in order to be truly happy, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions — or, at the very least to learn to stop running quite so hard from them.”
― Oliver Burkeman
Don’t run away from the experience of life as a whole. Nothing good ever comes of avoidance. Openture means being OK with the mess, but not helpless. It means to be OK with life as is, not desperate because things are not the way you want them to be at any moment.
This realization, that it may be OK for life to be chaotic, opens you up to true experience. Life is not lived only when it is joyful, but when it is chaotic as well. Things might get better, or worse, certainly work for them to get better, but be aware that you’ll be able, but be aware and be at peace with the fact that anything can happen and you’ll have to work with it as it comes. Being OK with this is being OK with life.
It’s far more effective as well. For you are not living in constant want of a dream, but in what actually is.
Enough rambling for now.
To conclude. Train yourself to be OK with indecision, chaos, and the negative. And work with them, for they are the building blocks of the positive.
Bear and forbear Epictetus said.
“[Life] is a dance, and when you are dancing, you are not intent on getting somewhere. The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.”
― Oliver Burkeman
Thanks for reading,
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