I started writing this specific post with the goal of commenting on society as a whole, specifically about the way we treat each other, but honestly I got annoyed with my own pretentiousness.
So instead, here’s something even MORE pretentious!!
Below is a ranty list of some of the more pertinent thoughts that have been in my head recently (as in like, the last year), along with observations I’ve had through my intense period of self-reflection over the last year.
Also, if anybody reading wants me to expound upon any of these ideas, let me know. For me right now it is impossible to articulate completely all of these thoughts, because a lot of them I’m still working through myself. I’d be happy to chat more or answer any questions, though.
- I would still call myself a Christian, but with a lot of hesitancy on what that word actually means anymore. I recognize the idea that if I had grown up in many other places around the world, I would not be Christian. I theologically am absolutely fascinated by the mysticism of the early Christian-church mothers and fathers. Modern sources, like Richard Rohr and Rob Bell, keep me grounded in a tradition that I continue to be confused by. The Bible, to me, is a rich source of wisdom and an equally rich source of confusion and division (ugh I hate this word, but also “messiness”), and has been probably the least-effective way that I encounter God in my own life.
- Institutional Christianity is something I abhor, and I think Jesus would too (I’m looking at you, “American Christianity).
- This last year has been ridiculously difficult for me to get through, especially when it comes to my relationships and the way I engage within them.
- I preach the importance of friendship but I have no idea what that truly looks like anymore.
- Most days I fall on two ends of the spectrum emotionally: I’m either in a pretty depressive and/or nihilistic attitude towards the day, or halfway through the day I’m filled with this amazing sense of optimism and purpose. This tension is maddening, but at least both end of the spectrum happens pretty equally.
- I can’t find the words to explain this properly, but I really haven’t felt a sense of “awe” or “wonder” in anything in at least a year. I catch glimpses, but nothing to the level of how it used to be. Yesterday, I actually felt a brief moment of awe, and that was an amazing and hopeful moment for me. Unfortunately for the most part, the “great” times now are usually just “good,” and the “good” times now are kind of just “okay.” This is one of the saddest things to me, and I’m really trying to be mindful enough to let thankfulness do its work to repair this.
- I can’t wait to move to China. A tiny part of me is driven by this unhealthy sense of just saying “fuck it” to the life I’ve built here in California because sometimes I feel so alienated in this life, but that honestly is a thought that only comes up every now and then. I’m mostly just super excited to unlock more of my potential and grow more into the man I am desperately desiring to become; someone that can love fully, without reservation, and to be able to be confident in myself to the point that I can be thankful for who I am in my totality. Right now, I’m more of an isolationist with low self-confidence with pessimistic tendencies. I’m sick of living like that, and I think a change in scenery will help me do the very hard work of maturing.
- I am moved immensely on some deep level by art and other people’s ideas and thoughts every single day, but the reason it doesn’t give me that “awe” and “wonder” like it used to, is that I experience it completely on my own. Part of my frustrations with everybody (including myself), is that we are all so shallow. Experiencing art together in its varied and nuanced forms is integral to a healthy relationship with me, because it’s simply how I connect to others. So when I have to experience art and ideas completely on my own, I am disconnected on a very deep level to the people around me. This is something that has done a lot of damage to me and to my relationships this past year, and I don’t really know how to fix it. So next time I want to share a song or an idea that a heard with you, it would do a world of good to me if you engaged with it. And vice versa, I want just as bad to be able to engage with the ideas and art that all of my friends and family are being moved by as well.
- In reference to number 8, check out Matisyahu’s latest single “Back to the Old.” It has resonated with me SO MUCH over the past two weeks. Particularly, the way Matis’ voice desperately sings out the line “I’ve been blessed but I’ve been tossed around this sea.”
- I consume a genuine unhealthy, and I mean actually unhealthy, amount of podcasts. I think it’s because I so desire to be able to connect with ideas, and although I try so hard to do that in person with the people I am in relationship with, those interactions tend to be just too shallow (more so, people are too distracted or actually just don’t care) and so I have to turn to the people having these conversations from afar to have any sort of engagement. This bums me out too, but I don’t know how to fix it.
- Twitter > Facebook. Sorry if you don’t see any life updates on FB anymore!
- I stress eat, and have put on more weight which contributes more to my lack of a healthy self-image, as well as energy. I also understand that being healthy physically is ridiculously important to being healthy mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ve been working on it, but honestly it’s a weird vicious cycle where my own mood/thoughts contribute to me being apathetic or feeling hopeless about this aspect of my life too. I’m close to winning that mental battle though and have already made some life changes to hopefully start making steps towards being way more physically healthy.
- Despite the more gloomy and negative aspects of this post, I am doing well enough. I have a LOT of work to do on myself, but I am truly working on those things. It’s really hard, but it has been integral to making me stronger. I’ve been disillusioned by a lot, but my hope has also been renewed in a lot. I know I’m not living life completely alone, but I’d say honestly in a percentage it’s like 80% of my life is lived alone, and not necessarily because I want to.
So here’s to growth. Here’s to the painful work of recognizing our own faults and tendencies, but also recognizing where we want to end up as people. I want to be the best friend I can be to people right now, but I don’t know how to do that anymore in a way that takes care of my self simultaneously. I want to eventually be the best husband and father I can be one day, but right now I am nowhere near the man I need to be in order to realize that dream.
Somedays I suck at this life thing, somedays I don’t.
and that’s an okay place to be in.