Existential as usual
I told my first manager that what I wanted from my job was the feeling of going from not being able to wrap my head around something to being able to articulate it in a single sentence. I chase this feeling often — the synthesis of the vastly incomprehensible. I ache to do the same to myself. Are we all so simple? Could we all just be sentences? Are we meant to be digestible? Have I made myself digestible?
I’m in this period of my life where I only do things I feel like doing. Maybe it’s an act of rebellion against my college experience, years of forcing myself to do things before I knew I wanted to do them, before I knew I was smart enough to do them. It’s an odd conundrum. Confidence comes from practice, but I still resent the practice.
Anyone who’s called me in the last few months knows that my favorite complaint is that I’m bored. Bored of what exactly, I couldn’t say. I know why I’m doing what I’m doing, I know where I want to go, I’m doing the things I need to do to get there. I’m stopping to do the things I enjoy. I catch up with wonderful friends, eat wonderful food, read wonderful books, have wonderful realizations. I want someone to whisper the answer into my ear, to tell me what to change.
I hate doing things I know I can do. These days, something must feel impossible for me to feel excited about it. Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can do something, what else remains? What else drives you?
When we are young we are foolish enough to believe that each of our actions are borne of our own agency. When we grow old we are foolish enough to believe that they are not.
It’s possible to make a successful life of the things that come naturally to me. I could keep going this way and never challenge myself. Maybe that’s what I need. But should life be a pursuit in challenging myself? That quest will never grant me patience, or fulfillment. Motivation is discontent. I’m tired of being content.
It feels pretentious to say I want my life to be harder. A couple of years ago it was much too hard. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, the most certain I’ve ever been. But I crave for my curiosity to consume me in the way it’s done in the past. Adulthood’s taught me to categorize struggles, comprehend uncertainty, but I didn’t realize it would also teach me to compartmentalize excitement.
Sometimes it’s easy to fall into traps of false motivation. To hear someone confirm my intelligence, to show I can do something better, say something smarter. We all want to be great, we all want to be liked, but that should not be what drives us. Perhaps that is all my past was — a childhood of being a daughter in an immigrant family who sought the validation that I was worthy, young adult years of claiming I wanted to be a CEO only because I thought that seemed a great thing to be, the feeling that I had something to prove to the world. Is there a difference between proving something to the world and proving it to yourself? I’m starting to think they’re both unsatisfactory.
It’s odd to run into people who seem to lack struggle. Who were granted the opportunity to start doing before life gave them a chance to question it. I fear I’m becoming one of those people. It feels a waste of time to do great things without knowing why you are doing them.
I have critical opinions. I crave critical opinions. I call my friends to seek their judgement. I only befriend people with judgements. They don’t even have to be judgements I agree with. My family will tell you my greatest strength and weakness is my invented dogma. But I crave to be disagreed with nonetheless. I seek the opportunity to pick and choose.
Though, there is a fine line between opinions that come from a place of care and those that come from a place of projection. It’s an important life skill to be able to distinguish between the two, to know the gray area between them that you’re okay with. Friendships can be made or broken on the basis of intent.
I make quick judgements about people to protect myself, because I know I can get along with anyone if left in their proximity for too long. It was funny to talk to E and realize that some people are wired with the reverse sequence. It makes me wonder, have I gotten too comfortable? What would cause me discomfort? What should I seek next? What should I dream about?
When I was young I could stay frozen in thought for hours. So much so that my parents would wave their hands in front of my face and tell me to stop dreaming. My favorite place in the world was always a long car ride. I never wanted them to end, and so at the end of every trip I’d take an extra hour to sit in the parked car and just wonder. I still do that when I visit home. Maybe it’s still in me.
Every once in a while I sit down in my little Ikea chair by the window and feel a tinge of pride. This is my life. I made it myself. I could live it a little longer.
M says the problem is me. It probably is. It always is. And the solution is always me too.
See you soon,
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Some music for your time ~ listened to my sunset playlist at sunrise while I gave this letter a final read 🌆