Preface, this is long, sporadic, unstructured, and garbled. I wouldn’t read it tbh.
Today, or tomorrow (I don’t know when I’ll post this), I turn 20 years old. Like most other twenty year old’s, I’m lost. I’m lost in life, I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what defines me, and I don’t know who I want to be. This, is normal, I think. I’m not experienced enough to determine my worth, my measure. I’m not wise enough to state my place in the world, or to assert my own existence at times. Or maybe I am. I don’t really know, and I suppose that’s part of life. Something something “it’s about the journey, not the destination” cliché.
I am, however, lucky enough to know what brings me joy, and what I consider right and wrong. I abhor hedonism, but I’ve also learned recently to give myself some leeway. To allow myself to enjoy things. Granted, it took twenty years, but I never extolled my intelligence. Still, that has to count for something.
This is going to be pretty jumbled, just a heads up.
I’ve gotten to do a lot in my life. I’ve been to the other side of the planet, I’ve lived in some of the largest metropolises in the world, and in the middle of the unforgiving wilderness during the harshest winters. I’ve read more books than I could ever remember, and I’ve met people I could never forget. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser – Wait, no that’s Blade Runner. The point is, I’ve been lucky in life. I’ve been luckier than most people, truthfully.
It’s hard not to tell yourself that you don’t deserve it, when you lead an okay life. At least, for me it is. When trying to figure out the measure of a man, or rather, the measure of myself, it’s hard not to think of the bad. All the mistakes, all the embarrassing moments or immoral choices. All the pain you’ve caused or experienced. It’s difficult to accept for anybody that’s not a complete sociopath. It’s hard to accept that you’re wrong, or that you have been weak, or that you have even been immoral. It always will be, for all of us.
I have spent twenty long, crazy, exciting years now existing. Yet all I have to show for it are lofty goals and unfulfilled ambitions. I hope that, when I look back after twenty more, I’m able to say that I have achieved my ambitions. I hope that I can say I’ve learned to forgive myself for mistakes I’ve made and accepted myself for who I am. I hope that I can say I’ve done my best helping everyone I can, improving all the lives I’m capable of, and being the best friend I can to those that need it most. While tempting, self-flagellation (both physically and mentally) doesn’t achieve much. The only thing that does is fighting, to increase the material conditions of everyone you can, and fight for the freedom of those who have none. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve atoned when you feel your own personal pain. It’s hard to accept yourself and your limits, and do what you can for other people in spite of them. Self-flagellation is masturbatory, and gets nobody anywhere. Taking action brings real world benefits.
Sorry about the rant, I’ve had a lot of thoughts in my head lately.
I suppose I’m coming of age, in a country that’s finally at the precipice of facing the reckoning of centuries of oppression of the poor, of the black, of the Asian, of the native, of the Hispanic, of the gay, of the alien, and of the “other”. Trying to figure out who I am in a country that’s trying to say “we don’t know what we are but we know we are not *fascist*” is quite the interesting experience. I suppose it’ll make for an interesting story if I survive a civil war and climate change.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.Martin Luther King Jr.
I’m twenty years old now, and it’s really weird seeing how things have changed. It’s jarring how fast time has flown. It’s terrifying how little effect I’ve had on the world as it is. Still, all I can, or any of us can do, is try our bests and hope to be better than we are. Sorry for not writing in a while, I have not had much to say. I simply hope I am able to determine my own meaning, and determine my own scale by which I may measure what a man I have become.
I hope this finds whoever reads it, or may read it, well. And if it is your birthday too, happy birthday. No matter who you are, please stay safe. The world is fucked right now, and all we have is each other.