Self-Development

How to Stay Cool after Graduating University

Originally posted on Medium.

They don’t tell you how hard it can be.

Disclaimer: This is very much just a personal laundry list. I’m in no shape or form qualified to give anyone advice. My story, just like everyone else’s, is very personal and unique. There are many people who do not feel these things at all and have it all figured and planned, but I am certain there are many, many that do.

1. After you graduate, you’ll realize that there’s nothing but emotional sentimentality that ties you to your alma mater. This realization will be coupled with the realization that you can finally cut relationships and label it “moving on.” I really hate ending things, I’m sure I’ll even be sad when Rogers finally frees me of their binding contract. Apart from the monthly shocking statement, there was tons of memories in the years of texts and phone calls. As a graduate, you no longer have that freedom of “catching up before class with coffee” or “I’ll see you at that event” or “let’s study together.” The relationships that are meant to be are the ones that are independent of your student lifestyle. And that’s really great, really — trimming the fat is wonderful.

2. You have to have some sort of a life plan. It really doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or grand, but it has to be something realistically possible. It has to be something that’s challenging but not to the point where it becomes crippling. If you can have a life plan that’s longer than a year, kudos. The plan is the only thing that will give you a sense of purpose, something to wake up and do when there is no structure.

3. You have to get your family on board with your plan (or like, really really good friends who will pick up the phone right away). They have to absolutely 100% support your choices and like, still love you. There will be days where you wake up and question all your life choices. There will also be days when you can’t sleep and you just need to hear their voices. If you don’t have them to list all the reasons you’re not a complete failure, you really won’t make it. Also, the more tough love, the better. This is because you’ll want to do really ridicoulous things with your life and they have to step in and tell you that it’s not a good idea in the best way possible. A good support system will also remind you of your capabilities and competences, which is necessary….because you forget.

4. You will actually forget about your skills and your past experiences through the mind-boggling, humbling process that everyone goes through at some point or the other: Job Searching. It’s the most brutal, life sucking thing and I’d honestly rather just go back to school and do exams. But, I think it means truly accepting that it’s supposed to be this hard. And also, having faith in all the gods that you don’t believe in that eventually, eventually, things will have to work out. A comment like, “you’re trying, you really are. you are the definition of auto-pilot motivation” will keep you going for days.

5. If you’re playing the waiting game — waiting back from interviews, waiting from graduate schools, waiting to hear back about this or that oppurtunity, you have to make lists to decrease anxiety. The lists can be about everything and anything under the sun that interest you. You don’t even have to write it down, because this really isn’t homework. I made lists of places I want to visit before I die, lists of artsy craftsy things to make that I actually won’t, recipes that look easy enough to attempt. I made playlists of my favourite summer tunes, lists of book recommendation that I’d eventually get to. My more complex lists were of careers that I could envision myself doing — I thought about everything from nursing to web development.

6. You have to have a hobby — nothing is more important during a quarter life crises or periodic existential crises than a hobby. Although reading has been a pretty consistent hobby in my life, I picked up drawing/sketching again. Reading allowed me to get perspective about the bigger picture. It is an exercise in gratitude to remember all that you have going for you. But in general, there is something beautiful about losing track of time when you have a lot of time. I also started writing again because I have a lot of unexpressed emotions that needed to get expressed.

7. Similar to the last one, you have to keep busy. When your main task is just to apply for things, it’s easy to drown in a pool of Netflix and a diet of Ritz crackers and pop. I’ve gone through cycles of introversion and extroversion, and I’ve learnt to embrace that (not always very elegantly). There are some days you just won’t want to be home and want to catch up with everyone. Then, there are others were the thought of making small talk will bring you more anxiety than deemed possible.

8. You have to be the master of faking happiness. You have to master the art of lying to yourself about how happy you are. I know it seems really twisted, but I believe that when you truly believe you’re super happy, you’ll be bouncing with positivity. And let’s be real — you only get anything done when you’re in a positive mindset. Although fooling yourself is incentive enough, no matter how much your friends/family love you, nobody really likes a joykill and so master the art to maintain your relationships.

9. You have to laugh at yourself because really, what else is there to do? If you keep thinking about your past choices, you’ll drive yourself insane because you really can’t move backwards in time. If you constantly think about the future, you stop living in the present. If you stop living in the present…that’s…that’s….just silly.

10. You have to reach out to all your friends who have graduated and have adult lives and listen to everything they say. They have been through this and now afford rent. Their lives are magical and they tell you ridiculous things like, “it’ll all work out.” Older friends also have great networks and will connect you to amazing people and their resources. They are a standing and breathing ovation to the fact that job searching for x number of days isn’t the end of the world.

11. You have to remember to do all the things that are necessary to living such as eating, sleeping and excercise. Even though you have no where to go and perhaps no routine, your body still needs it’s basic requirements. These are all challenging things when you don’t know what you’re meant to be doing and that you’re just wasting time…. but, yeah.

12. You have to read the news, everyday to remind yourself how small you are in the grand scheme of the world. You have to read the news everyday to remain humble and practise gratitude. You have to read the news to participate in the bigger picture of humanity, perhaps take a stance, have a perspective, understand the issue. You have to remember how small you really are. You have to remember how small your problems are not just within the grand scheme of things, but even within your lifetime.

13. A mentor of mine told me that it’s hard because for many of us, it’s the first time we don’t have a plan. For the first 18 years in your life, you (or I did, anyway) spend every waking moment doing whatever it takes to get to university. You volunteer, study hard, do standardized tests, etc. When you go to university, you became wrapped in student life — figuring out majors, figuring out classes, finding your community and your people. Your main goal is to graduate. Once you do, it’s only natural that you feel this sense of loss because you haven’t quite figured out the next step (in my case, anyway).

Please write to me if you have any thing to add to this or have any personal anectodes. I will happily include and reference you. There will also be the added benefit of being friends and such.

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Rambles, Social Media

My Personas on Social Media

Facebook.  She’s an overly cheerful human being. She wonders if there’s anything more wonderful than being alive. The female is always excited about everything and anything. She expresses it by liking, commenting and sharing everything remotely regarded as cool. She’s super supportive of her friends, and will like all of her close friend’s pictures and statuses. This behavior increases during times of jealousy. She will share events and discounts because she wants everyone to take advantage of them. She believes she’s the human bulletin board, such a noble being. She’s the most boring of them all, with no real personality, and unable to afford the luxuries and vacations that could make her Facebook interesting.

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Tumblr – She perceives herself as deep, dark and mysterious. She feels misunderstood and alone. All her life she’ll be looking for answers for questions she hasn’t asked yet. She’s quiet and an introvert and can spend alone by herself in her room. She reads a lot and watches serious movies. She likes to write and has secrets that nobody knows about. She wants to fall in love, she wants to go on adventures, she wants to run away and never look back. She feels like the most special person in the world, utterly unique in her endeavours. Alas, if only somebody bothered to know her.

LinkedIn – She’s been planning her career since her first day as an undergraduate. Before she even knew what her major was, or what she really liked doing or was good at, she was planning this future. She went all the right events, always introduced herself. She asked relatively good questions and took down contact information. As she gained more experience, her profile transformed into something that could be worthy of being hired. She messaged people in sincerity, for advice and for coffee dates. She is the most cautious one, always scheming and strategizing and brainstorming for the ahead she herself doesn’t know yet. It’s exhausting but she’ll never admit it; mostly because she’s too busy to go to lunch with you. She’s just so goddamn ambitious and driven.

Twitter – Witty, funny and spontaneous. She’s in the now. There’s no yesterday, there’s no tomorrow. She’ll say what’s on her mind, in an appropriate tone and manner, whether people will read it or not. Everything that is worthy of being expressed in her world will be tweeted. The most amazing breakfast place, or that moment of odd joy and happiness whilst walking to class. That genius thought in the middle of class when she isn’t paying attention. The craziest research that just happened. That really cool event that she won’t actually go to. She’ll talk to people she doesn’t know, luring them into conversations that aren’t particularly useful. Here too, she’s ambitious but nerdy. She’s not as cool, put-together and sophisticated as LinkedIn, and doesn’t have as many emotions as Tumblr, thank god. She’s the interesting one, who’s completely approachable, always eager to be followed and to follow. She sincerely feels all her tweets, all 140 characters posses a mysterious charm.

WordPress – If the other social medias were not there to balance it out, WordPress would be deemed overly emotional, antisocial, and depressed. She would have no friends, because she’s such a downer. After all, somebody who never stops talking about her family, the people she was once friends with, how people were mean to her way back when, how every little gesture has some deep meaning….is an utter bore. She’s always wanting a better future, regretting the past. She doesn’t really live in the moment although she’ll visit occasionally. She cries and listens to Coldplay and The Reason in her room, watching Netflix. She’ll watch Friends as if she’s having a mid-life crises, even though her life hasn’t really started yet. She’s not excited about the future like Twitter and LinkedIn. She resents Facebook’s cheerful nature. Sometimes she’ll talk to tumblr for solace because even sad people need people to talk to. She think she’s the real one, the one who expresses everything and anything to the core, hiding nothing. She believes she’s the only real one, the others trying to be personas they’re not, putting on complicated, superficial charade.

Instagram – This one has borderline personality. One day, the sun and skies and oceans are blue and yellow and colorful. Everything is a rainbow! Oh my god, so much color, it’ll make your eyes water in teats of happiness. But other days, she’ll take the same picture in black and white. It’s as if she doesn’t want to have a soul at all, as if going anywhere or doing anything is way too tiring. She expresses herself with melancholy, as a hippie, as a bohemian, as a lost adventurer. She is sipping coffee all the time, riding around highways and empty roads, taking notes of whatever she sees in the process. She captures the tiniest moments of happiness and sadness and makes a life of it, ignoring any bland emotions. Everything is accentuated and highlighted and glamourous. She could be a movie. Everything is beautiful and the world is perfect.

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Rambles

This Thing I Lack

I often am up at three in the morning. The quietness and the darkness that comes with the night gives me such clarity. When all you can hear is your own breathing and the voices in your head, the world seems like it makes much more sense. At three in the morning, I feel this sense of belonging, in my bed, wherever I am. I feel safe, and warm, and that I have a place and my own space. I can read, write, do anything. Think about nothing, think about everything.

I didn’t like getting up in the morning, at university. It takes me a few seconds to realize where I am. It takes me a minute or two to realize who I am and what I need to be doing. It takes me over an hour some days to start the day more enthusiastically.

People keep saying that university is the best years of your life. I was excited to start my best years of my life, three years ago. I had grown up so sheltered and had a very comfortable life. Even though I had no freedom, I was always provided and looked after. My house was a place of sanctuary and relief, and I didn’t mind being there. Leaving home, I never felt that way till I returned. Even though I had freedom and the ability to make choices, I’d never felt alone. I craved this feeling so much. I wanted this sense of belonging, a sense of self, a place of comfort, of stability and assurance.

There were so many evening when I’d come to my apartment after classes. All I wanted to do was get in bed, eat cheap chinese, and watch Netflix. There was more than just disparity in the air. There was always the sense that, if I died, nobody would know. How long would it take for someone to realize?

It’s weird because I’m certain that people see me differently. I’m cheerful, upbeat. I’m motivated and driven. I’m very involved in the community and always have something going on. I have more friends than I really have the time to get to know. I always have weekend plans. And yet, when I get back to my bedroom, I used to feel so alone.

I thought being in a relationship would change things. I thought that was the missing ingredient in my life. The person I would be excited to tell things to. The person I’d celebrate and do things with. Maybe it was the wrong person, but the charade got old. I felt more alone than him. I felt like I barely still knew him, after months. Worse, I felt like I didn’t know myself either.

When the cravings got too hard to manage, and I couldn’t bear it anymore, when I felt it even when I was outside, even whilst I was happily holding a conversation, or incredibly interested in class…when nothing I did would make it go away, I got drunk. I would drink for the sake of drinking. At the beginning, I would try to gather friends to make into a night out. But, eventually, I called it for what it was, and would drink an entire bottle of wine, by myself. The feelings of floating would take away this thing I lacked.

“By drinking together we prove we have nothing to hide.” – Nick Flynn

I saw a therapist and a depression support group. I told them both everything, about issues in the past that may explain this void. I told them about both my friends who had died, about being bullied, about having a relatively severe blood disorder and its constant fatigue. I told them about my house being flooded, my parents moving. Everything. And although the confessions brought some sense of catharsis, and the hope for change and an improvement, nothing really happened. The hype and the excitement of it died, and so I stopped that charade too.

A part of me believed that I hadn’t found the right person who understood me. I honestly believed that once someone knew everything, not just the facts, but the feelings associated with it, and the deep comprehension of sadness that would come with it – I would be free. As I grew older, the cynicism made me realize that this person didn’t have to be the love of my life, but just someone in it. And I do think I’ve met many people like that, who know parts of me. Many know the facts, many know the feelings, and many know the combination. Through the different habits and rituals I maintained with each friendship, a different part of me was satiated, for a time. And I would reach out to whoever satisfied that particular void, which I couldn’t articulate, at that current time.

As a pragmatic, problem-solving oriented person, I was more than frustrated with this thing I lacked. I wanted to name it, to address it, and to treat it. I wanted to stop crying wondering whether it’d ever go away. Many days I convinced myself that everybody feels this way, and that it is all part of the human existence. Some days, I tempted myself with the thought of suicide. But, I wanted to know how Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and a whole other series of show s would end. And what other songs Lana Del Ray releases, and what my brother is like older. And I want to travel some places. And eat yummy things.

“I beg to differ. Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.” – Tyrion Lannister

I still have no fix. I still feel this way. Being home, like home “home”, in my parent’s home, I feel it a lot less. I’m scared to go back to life when university starts. I’m scared that this is the rest of my life. I feel guilt, all the time, about being so ungrateful, so miserable, so utterly cranky all the time. Sarcasm, Netflix, Coffee, Conversations are the way I cope – but I wonder, will it ever be enough?

 

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Friendship, Relationships, Self-Development

Life is not the Sims & Please Go Away

If you play sims, you know that each activity, behavior or personality trait can eventually reach mastery/completion. For example, you can reach “mastery” in cooking or being charismatic, or being a professional athlete, etc. I do believe that there are many specific behaviours and skills that one can work on similarly, in real life. The difference is that there is no mastery or peak point to many of these abstract concepts.

In the past few years, I’ve found the place and oppurtunity to strengthen some of these useful skills. For example, I’m definitely more confident and less-shy when talking to new people. I’m more able to maintain a conversation with people I have nothing in common with. I’m able to pay for and do my own groceries, cook, clean and take care of myself. I’m a lot more outgoing and extroverted than my high-school self. I’m more spontaneous, and take things less personally. I deal with awkward situations better.

So to summarize: there are many facets that one can work and improve on. However, there are other traits that either don’t change, change very slowly, or are simply out of your comfort-zone for the moment. I used to see these types of traits as excuses and weaknesses, especially in myself. I used to compare myself and wonder why I struggled in those specific aspects.

Although, I’m always the type to face your challenge, face your fears and all that…. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in respecting and accepting your boundaries. It’s important to know and communicate them. I’m learning that a lot of who we are can’t be planned or consciously controlled, but should be left alone, to simply happen on its own will when ready. I used to think that if you created the perfect environment and mental preparation for growth, it would happen…you know, like a plant or a bacterial colony. I used to think of it as a straightforward reaction.

But, sometimes you’re just not ready or are just not that person.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I think what I’m trying to say is the tale old cliche of being and accepting yourself. It’s important to have patience when change does happen, at the slowest rate possible… or demonstrating self-acceptance when it does not.

In the worlds of Facebook and social media, I feel constantly bombarded with portrayals of what and who should I be. I know for a fact that I am easily swayed by new ideas due to my naivety. But it’s fatally unhealthy to try and fail at being someone you’re not, to do things you’re not comfortable with, to go so much out of your comfort zone that you can’t connect to your self anymore.

I recently had a very bad experience where someone told me I wasn’t enough in one particular aspect. It had wounded me deeply since I cared about this person and what they thought of me. I had despised and hated them for making it come to my awareness of how much I lacked in life-experience. How could I have possibly lived so long and not tried to change, I wondered. As I drowned in my own self-made ocean of self-hate, I talked to a better friend. A better friend who made me realize there is no wrong way to be, there is no wrong way to live, and there is specifically no traits that make one person better than the other.

In my world, life is not a competition. It is not a room of achievements and accomplishments and milestones. It is acceptance and beauty and understanding – and most importantly, compassion. Despite my naivety, I do believe that diverse personalities are the only way to have a colourful ecosystem.

If you’re wondering, I have removed”said-friend” out of my life, for good.

I only have time and energy for people who make me happier and truly have my best interests, and don’t want me to become someone else.

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Uncategorized

I Tried to Love You.

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“So, I’ll see you on Monday, yeah?”

“What’s happening on Monday?”

“We’re going out.”

I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I loved that you were so confident. Later, in retrospect, I realized you had mistaken my harmless flirtations out of boredom as intent. But at that time, your self-assurance swept me away. We’d barely had two conversations and I wondered why you were interested. Being the self-acclaimed neurotic, I immediately said no, because that confidence only meant you asked out people regularly. And I didn’t want to waste my time with someone like that. I was a lot more sensitive and not as easy going as I may seem. But you laughed, refusing to take a no for an answer, and I had no choice.

But, I was glad that I went.

I hadn’t been on a first date, ever. I was 20 years old. I changed a few times because I wanted to feel sexy and confident. I wanted to impress you, even though I wasn’t eager about being in a relationship. I tried to stop thinking, tried to reassure myself that this was a fun, normal experience. That it was all part of growing up, and it wasn’t serious, that it didn’t mean anything. We got confused about where we were going to meet, but you finally figured where I was waiting, and came to me. You hugged me, and I remember feeling so awkward. We walked to your car. You teased me about having two jobs, that I was secretly a single mother. I laughed because I didn’t expect you to be so witty.

The first place you took me was to your apartment. Well, your parent’s condo in one of the most expensive real estate areas in one of the most expensive cities in the world. The elevator made me nervous, since it showed right away that we did not view money the same way. I was also nervous because I didn’t know you, and you were taking me to your apartment. But, you just wanted to change. Later, during dinner, I was glad you did. You wore a maroon shirt, with a blazer. I was wearing jeans with a fancy top.

I remembered thinking that I’d waited so long for a guy who treated me this well. That it was finally my turn at love – where I didn’t wait by the phone to get a message, where I kept wondering whether you liked me. No, you made it all so easy. You were upfront and such a gentleman. You picked me up, dropped me back home, took me to your favourite restaurant by the harbour. Later, we walked by the harbour and I wanted to kiss you, but I didn’t. I barely knew you.

Also, I was going home for the holidays and didn’t want to feel anything. That didn’t happen. All I thought about was you, and how you seemed so perfect. Not perfect, but perfect for me. You were smart, you kept the conversation going, you were charismatic, appeared to be traditional. I looked at everything that we shared in common and convinced myself that I liked you. I had fantasized versions of you in my head, and was falling in love with every one of them.

We decided I’d arrange the second date. I took you to a bar, because I wanted it to be more casual. I learnt that you have a really low tolerance for alcohol. I realized I wanted you to see my casual side, that I’m not someone who is high-maintainance. We got so drunk, and took the bus to your place. I remember how obnoxious we were, talking loud enough so that everyone could hear. I sat next to the window, you blocking me from the rest of the world. You laughed at my jokes, and I did to yours. You gave me pyjamas to wear. They didn’t really go with my navy blue satin shirt, but it didn’t matter. I gasped as I saw the view from your parent’s apartment. I wondered how much they paid for it. I wondered whether you cleaned it or whether you had help. I wondered if you cooked or if you ordered take-out.

I remember sweating on your bed. It was so hot. And then, I opened the window, with you on top of me, kissing me. I wanted you to stop, because you didn’t know how to kiss. I had mixed feelings – relief that you weren’t a player, realizing you were more inexperienced than I’d anticipated. However, I let you continue, because I hadn’t felt any physical touch in so long. I tried to imagine being in a fantasy, in which there was much more intimacy, because that’s all I craved. Finally, I had to tell you to stop three times, before you did.

At that point, I was truly scared. I wondered if I would become the kind of story I loved reading about. But, you finally listened. Later, I tried to convince myself that you were just to turned on to stop. In the morning, you jokingly called me a tease, that you would be frustrated all day. I told you that there were solutions, that your release wasn’t my problem.

Already, I had started to like you less.

But, it was only date two. I knew I was too picky. I liked being adored, the centre of your attention. So, I decided that these things needed time to grow. Besides, you made me laugh. You understood that I was difficult. You understood that my playful teasing and hating only showed home much I liked you.

The next few months were a blur. We went to a movie with friends, where all you wanted to do was smell my neck, and kiss me, and I actually wanted to watch, that I was too shy to make out in front our friends. We went for wings and beer, and you watched these guys check me out, before you held my hand publicly. You drove me home when I got drunk with my friends, and then dropped all my friends home too. You brought me oranges when I was sick, when I didn’t want you to see me sick and ugly. You picked me up after my midterm on Valentine’s day, to take me to your favourite restaurant, where you’d taken me for our first date.

You came to my small birthday dinner. I had been so upset that night because people had cancelled and my own family hadn’t wished me. I broke down on the bus on the way, but didn’t tell you about it. But, you stuck there all night, trying to get to know all my friends. We shared a plate, and you didn’t drink because you had to drive. When I went to the washroom, you paid, like you had done once before. I let you take me to your place. You held me all night, and I liked your hand on my waist, my stomach. You made me breakfast in the morning, and walked me to class.

Once, I had to get a blood transfusion. We’d only been dating a month, and I didn’t want to tell you. But, we were supposed to do something, and I couldn’t lie. I told you not to come because I was depressed, because I’d been crying. I wanted to be alone and miserable and lonely. But, you came, just before I was released at midnight. You had researched places that were still open and took me, knowing I’d be starving. It was the coziest, most romantic little place, few blocks from the waterfront. I had a glass of wine, and stared at you from the light of a single candle. You told me I was beautiful, although before then, I had been to repulsed from my skin. You walked me to my apartment, making sure I was home safe. I wanted to cry because nobody (except my parents, and they don’t count) had ever cared about me like that. You texted me good night and good morning, asking if I needed anything, how I was feeling. For the first time, I felt like my disorder wouldn’t completely destroy a future of normalcy. That, I could find someone someday who would accept me, low hemoglobin count, pale skin, fatigue and all.

Once, we met a mutual coworker in the movies, holding hands. She had stood there not hiding her shock. And, I had told her how pretty her eye-make was because I had nothing else to say. Later, she asked me if we had had sex yet. We laughed and bitched at and about her for hours. She really wasn’t a very nice person. A few weeks later, you had told another mutual coworker about us. He was someone I considered an older brother, and he told me in our common language how happy he was for me.

And then we started spending hours in the backseat of your car, making out. With your mom visiting, and my roommate and incredibly thin walls, there was nowhere else to go. You were so eager for any permission I gave, as if I had just made you rich, that I was comfortable with you. I was comfortable as myself, not drunk, not as a one night stand. When I was spent, and you weren’t, I called it a night and told you to text me when you got home.

It took me a month to break up with you.

I had to justify it to myself. I wanted a different sort of relationship, one filled with intellectual thoughts and ideas, not just playful nonsensical bantering. I wanted the kind of passion where I had to kiss you before I said hi, not the kind where I got bored during the kiss. I wanted a relationship where I couldn’t wait for everyone to meet you, not the kind where I had to keep wondering whether you’d fit in. I didn’t want to hold your hand all the time, and you looked like a lost puppy when I told you, which only pushed me away further. I kept telling you about the goals I was meeting, the goals I was working towards, and you didn’t seem to have that. Or if you did, you never shared. You were content with mediocrity, with your parents paying for your luxurious lifestyle, with not really working towards self-improvement.

Finally, I convinced myself that I could never love you.

Although, I still believe that to be true, being with you made me believe in things I never did before.

Being with you made me realize how a girl should always be treated, that honestly good guys exist.

I know I hurt you, but I would have hurt you more if I had stayed.

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Rambles, Relationships

Stream of Consciousness on Interactions.

I don’t know why I haven’t blogged for a while. I’d like to think it was because I was too busy actually living life. But the truth is, for me, writing helps me enhance the reality of things. Even the bad (and I’m aware of the loose term of the word) become less “bad” when it’s written. It’s not just the cathartic sensation, it’s not just expression, it’s not just saying it out loud. The process itself changed your views on the reality of the situation. It bends the truth a little so that it fits into your sphere. It puts things into perspective and then the realization of how big of a not a big deal it really was. Most people find this soothing, I’m not really saying anything remarkable here. I’m just accentuating something I already know, concretizing it into my small paradigm of the internet. So that, I essentially follow my own thought process. It’s always easier saying things, than actually doing them. Right? Yes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Okay, that’s a lie. I spend half my brain energy on understanding relationships. (For as long as I can remember). I mean this in the sense of any type of interaction between two people. It involved the factor or reciprocity – what is a person benefitting? I’ve thinking about the motivating factors for pursuing a friendship, for ending one, for being okay when there’s a distance. I’ve been thinking about the hormones involved, the amount of intuition and gut feeling involved, I’ve been thinking about the amount of lack of shit being given for this sort of encounter to work. I’m pretty sure people have dedicated years into understanding this on a scientific basis, but I’m not interested in that. I’m more eager to understand how others view relationships – are they logical, or lack of. Are they like my own understanding of it. I guess that’s rule #1 – people are friends if they share a similar understanding of reality. #2 – people need to be benefitting in some way, even if it’s something vague and abstract as being happy. Oh, there are so many factors involved, I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it. I really need to find a book about this, either fictional or nonfictional.

I think, based on my obsession with human interaction – both in the sense of actively seeking it, but also the understanding of its phenomenon….professionally speaking, I need to do something where I can saturate my thirst. An arts kid doing a science job, to put it bluntly. I’ll find it, or it’ll come to me when the timing is right, but I’m not worried anymore.

I know we learn this in biology and psychology, but stress has a direct influence on our functioning. Both short and long term. I think my body has been somewhat designed to get stressed easily…(another issue I could do a whole new other blog on). But point is, I really need to actively not stress out. I’m struggling to attain this virtue of patience, because I’ve begin to believe that good things happen to you when you’re ready. The bad things happen to prepare you for it. And the way to cope with both is to just relax, and not think. Some people do this with ease, but for me, where I have to dissect things, this is a challenge. It’s ironic that I’m being impatient in this quest to learn patience. I guess it took me 20 years to fully become a person. I can only wait in patience, and bated breath, as to what the next 20, 40, 60 years bring. Let’s just assume we can predict these things. I don’t have to limit my expectations on here – no, this is a tabula rasa of my dreams. (Don’t ask what my dreams are. Be patient, the answer for both you and me will come on its own.)

Anyway, I sort of detoured….don’t really know if I was even trying to make a point. Maybe the aim was just to draft a blueprint of my thoughts for later reference.

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I’ve been wondering why and more pressingly, how it is that people function. How in the sense of mechanism, considering I do believe we have a Ghost in the Machine (as Pinker claims).

The word function has been chosen deliberately, even though it doesn’t quite eloquently convey the thought. One word really can’t be chosen because there are several assumptions underlying the person involved.

Firstly, said person is aware of the lack of meaning in the stage we’re playing in (as Shakespeare once said). Or chooses a faith that allows them to still be openminded.

Secondly, said person actually thinks about ideas, and thrives on this. They are inspired by ideas, they internalize it and it changes them. Mostly for the better.

Thirdly, functional implies that they do something for life, whether they regularly go to work or school. Whether they socialize or volunteer. Basically, they have some sort of presence in the community, however big or small. However, it doesn’t stop just here yet.

Fourthly, functional means that they are able to the activities mentioned above happily. And not happy because they are oblivious, ignorant, unaware, naive, sheltered, young and uneducated. Happy knowing the realities. This implies of an immense acceptance of facts that are unchangeable, mostly. Happy in itself doesn’t really have to mean smiling and beaming and radiating joy. But happiness to me means acceptance of the current circumstances, and embracing the limitations.

The fourth aspect is what is constantly being questioned in the universe of my head. Is this what growing up means?

Is my whole….essay/rant/thoughts just a defining of words, of really concretizing concepts I was exposed to over and over again. I don’t know if this is growing up in itself, because I do think that people are plagued and haunted by this thought. So really, what is the secret elixir?

My hypothesis is wisdom, and this provides me no comfort. Wisdom is acquired through experience, life events, age – and that just means growing up as an older adult.

My second (probably not so accurate hypothesis) is people just stop caring altogether. Acceptance that there is no answer, that we’ll just never just, just move the fuck along, watch the sun and stop thinking so damn much. Is this basically my first hypothesis just restated in different words, simply an elaboration?

Based on my two hypothesis (which are really just the same idea) – I conclude, that we (okay, just me) need to stop taking life so seriously.

But that’s hard, on its own, knowing so damn well that it could all be over in an instant, and there’s so much yet to see.

Functioning.

Aside