At twenty-three I’ve finally reached the next chapter of my life. I’ve woken up and suddenly found myself, inexplicably, forced into adulthood. Not the adulthood that I imagined in early childhood, where everything in life is under control and my goals, if not how to achieve them, are clear, but rather an adulthood full of the responsibility of designating exactly what I should do with my time. Suddenly the decisions are all mine and, frankly, it’s pretty terrifying.
The thing about adulthood is, though, that it has a way of engulfing you completely. The idle dreams,the terrors and the uncertainties of childhood are replaced by a drive towards success. It doesn’t matter the field in which you pursue your goals, they have a tendency to block everything else out. Now, while this may be the key to success it also may be a coping mechanism. We tell ourselves that we must do this and we must do that every day until our days are completely full and we no longer have the time to contemplate the tragedies of the human condition. We cannot fear death or question our purpose if we are constantly busy.I think that one of the reasons we as a society spend so much time working, studying and trying to find a comfortable living arrangement is that we are scared that if we take a moment, a beat, to step back from it all we may once again be confronted with the terrifying uncertainty of life. We may find ourselves asking ‘am I really doing what I love in life?’ or ‘will something else make me happier than what I’m doing?’.
A while ago I wrote a short story set in 17th century France and while it may have not been one of my more riveting ones I tried to incorporate a touch of the philosophies of the Jansenist church in the writing (I had just decided not to pursue my academic studies of 17th century french literature and it seemed like a use for my then extraneous research). Among these was the idea of rejecting the outside world in order to find God. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting we all become hermits trying to find enlightenment through self-decreed exile, I just think that the idea of taking a step back from our lives and re-evaluating what we find most important now and again might be useful. It is very easy to become swamped by the minutia of everyday life and lose perspective of what we are doing. Even the most stressful aspects of life seem to lose their gravity when viewed from a different angle.
So now that I’ve written this down I’m going to try to spend a bit of time every now and then distancing myself from my day to day tasks and taking into account the enormous breadth of the human experience. I want to occasionally regain my childlike sense of wonder and hopefully regain that happy part of myself that knew that anything was possible if you imagined it to be.