I have yet to find someone who has passed a little test I made up.
I meet up with someone for a coffee or a meal, and at some point I get up to use the restroom. While I excuse myself for those short few moments I’m wondering,
“Will this person prove me wrong? Will they be the one?”
The anxiousness begins to build. I imagine the conversations we would hold and the unlimited wealth of topics we could explore. Would he dare reveal his innermost secrets? Has she contemplated the greatest and darkest struggles of humanity? What was she doing while she waited for my return?
I would soon find out if she would be the companion to my mind, the soulmate of my curiosities.
I wash my hands and start to make my way back. There’s a dormant excitement within me, but I’m not quick to awaken it. I’ve grown more realistic of my expectations.
I let my eyes wander, taking slow strides, giving them a moment longer to rethink their final moments. I turn the corner and…
Lo and behold, she is on her cell phone and my search continues.
Sometimes people will ask me what I’m doing when they come back from their bathroom break. They look at my unresponsive eyes staring almost blankly towards the space before me and wonder if I’m alright. Other times the strain of churning cogs and wrestling thoughts will liken my face to an anguished soul. There are a few who with the awareness of their own inability to be alone comment on the seeming absurdity of my ability to be without my phone.
If you come into my mind, you’ll find that it does a bit of everything. It’s very versatile you see, it sprints, crawls, and sits. It has no place it calls home. It’s too preoccupied finding answers to its own existence to be chained down, let alone distracted.
My role is to supply it with the time and the environment to let it cultivate, let it discover, and many times even struggle. It’s a conscious decision that I make so that I’ll always have the right to present this test.
I understand that I can never understand the depths to which our minds can wander and the evils and terrors our minds can relive.
I know that introspection removes the hardened bandages of repression and allows the tenderness of grief, worry, and confusion to be exposed in a world of apathy.
But that’s exactly why it needs to be done. A bad memory, a torturous experience will only fester in the deep chambers of regret and unforgiveness.
They need to be aired in an atmosphere of acceptance, diligence, and hard work.
It’s once we recognize why we do it and what it actually inhibits us from exploring and achieving that we’ll allow the discomfort of solitude.
We’re afraid of what we might find lurking in the shadows of our memories.
Our mistakes scare us, and the future terrifies us. That’s why we distract ourselves. Isn’t it?
Our tendency in regards to the past is to distance ourselves from them or to live within them. When it hurts, we disengage from it, regret it, and condemn it as if it were an outsider. Failing to recreate the experience, we settle for a fantasy watched through touch-screens and youtube videos.
Sadly, the thrill of the experience in that present can never be repeated in this present. Each moment is unique and holds the potential for beauty, but they require living now to discover it. Instead of allowing regret to occupy our past, why not allow gratitude to heal you.
Don’t sever ties with who you were by submerging yourself in distractions, but amplify the lessons learned and the person you have become. Find the hidden ornaments of endurance, faith, and willpower that brought you through the difficult times. Let those influence your present and not despair and shame.
The present isn’t king. It is merely a temporary platform on which we have the privilege to conduct life, to enjoy it and to flourish in it. Everything around us emphasizes the importance of the present so that we might be able to numb our past and not be concerned with the future. We dread hard work, disdain uncertainty, and abandon patience.
Because when the present is king, he’s a tyrant and only the things that affect you NOW matter.
The future will come. We can despise it, push it off, or even insult it with our ignorance, but it will come. You decided whether it comes as an awaited friend or an unforeseen nightmare.
Don’t try to run away from the inevitable. Instead, man up and fight. In the context of your reality, plan for the days to come. Spend time with yourself and become a friend. You’ve been a stranger long enough. Talk about the elephant in the room. Address those issues you’ve been dealing with and the worries that just might be the reason for your insomnia.
There is so much to unlock within yourself, so much to ponder. Give yourself permission to be wrong, to not know, and be vulnerable.
You’re not missing out.
You’re not going to be bored.
You’ll be one step closer to finding your purpose.
“You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away — the ability to just sit there,”
“Underneath everything in your life, there’s that thing — that forever empty thing. You know what I’m talking about? That it’s all for nothing and you’re alone.” When we get this feeling, he explains, we instinctively reach for our cell phones and start to text our friends for reassurance. Even when we’re driving!”
“People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second,” -Louis C.K.
Stop trying to limit your capacity to feel, to endure, and to think. Fear will cripple you and relegate your life to nothing more than endless hours of manufactured fun and pleasure surrounded by an eternity of decay.
Oh and I would argue that you are probably the most interesting, genuine, and ingenious person that you never knew.