Tag Archives: life

Home and Heaven

Home and Heaven

Imagine angels playing an invigorating game of soccer on a heavenly cloud–their wings damp from exertion and halos knocked askew from all the movement. The Cherubim sit on the golden bleachers cheering while the Strongholds coach their players on the field. The Seraphim referee the game while God keeps score.

The Guardian Angels and Archangels are tied. Intensity fills the crowd as Michael dribbles the ball down the field with only a minute left to play. Before he makes it to an ideal position to score, Harmony swoops in for the blessed steal. The angels go wild spilling raspberries and peanuts on the cloudy floor. The ball is kicked to the angel Afriel. It’s a give-and-go and Harmony launches it into the goal right past Gadreel. The last goal has been made and all the angels cheer. In a fit of excitement the winged warriors doggy pile on Harmony and accidentally break off a piece of their celestial cloud.

Unaware of their actions, the tiny piece of heaven bursts through Earth’s atmosphere, spiraling down until it gently lands upon a section of the planet where the edge of the ocean meets the horizon. It is in this area of the sea where the cloud sinks to the bottom and like a mustard seed, sprouts from the ocean floor.

An island is created.

There is calmness spread from the movement of nature. Clouds collide into one another, crafting shapes that no one sees the same way. The sound of the wind dances through the people and shifts the beads of sand creating a ballad of tranquility. But even when the land lays still and the people go to sleep, there is music in the silence. The warmth of the sun seeps into their skins and light is injected into every pore. In their veins, sunrises begin to form.

In that space, the ocean gleams in cerulean waves, the ceaseless sunshine reflects from vibrant leaves onto the eyes of a beloved, and the trees within the vicinity sway to the rhythmic melody of the breeze. In the early morning light, multifarious hues of purples and pinks bless the moving waters with a pale shadow; but in the coming twilight, the skies melt to an extravagant canvas that only the hands of a god could create.

People will often ask, “What do you call this place.”

The only reply is, “Home.”

 

Life, Death, and How They Came to Be 


When Life was just a child, she tugged on Death’s sleeve and asked, “Brother, why is the sky so dim?” Death turned his gaze towards the universe and looked into the dark abyss. Devoid of breath and being, it was filled with naught save for a faint light far in the distance. He turned to his young sister, still millions of years younger than he, and replied, “Sit down, and let me tell you the story of our creators.”Always eager and curious for knowledge, Life rushed to sit beside her brother. She buzzed with energy and excitement while Death, ever solemn, recounted the tale of the universe.

In the early years, there lived three beings: Light, Darkness, and Eternity. They were fierce companions with good wills between them. They traversed across the universe creating and planning with no reserve. Light would shape planets and galaxies with colors so vibrant that all three would stop for periods of their journey to admire the spectrum. But Light was so radiant that without the aid of Darkness, such colors were indiscernible in her bright glow. As for Eternity, he sustained the beings that Light birthed. So astounded by her creations, he made sure they flourished without end and for a while, the universe brimmed with vibrance. In their wake, the three left behind solar systems, asteroid belts, galaxies, and even black holes.


One day, while Light and Eternity walked ahead, Darkness looked upon Light and came to a realization. He found that he no longer followed behind her just to enjoy the view of her colors, but to experience the infinite joy he wrought by simply being in herproximity. So magnificent and so necessary was she to him that Darkness soon fell in love. Now, Darkness was no fool. He knew that in order for Light to thrive, he had to give parts of himself each time. But he did so without cease, and without fail.


Light, too, took pleasure in Darkness. In moments reserved for rest, they danced between the galaxies she created and chased each other around the planets. They played without end. She marveled at his power, both equal and opposite to hers and knew in the core of her being that they were two parts of a whole. So easy and natural was their friendship that their bond gradually blossomed into a mutual love. So dedicated was she to him, that Light gave Darkness a piece of herself which he planted into the very center of his being. And not long after, from their love came their first child. Death.


Eternity was delighted by this change at first. He was thrilled his two friends had found happiness and now had a family. But as young lovers are wont to do, Light and Darkness often abandoned Eternity and focused most of their attentions on their offspring and on one another. They began creating without Eternity, and his joy turned to ire– their exclusions turning him bitter. Angered by Darkness and Light’s desertion, he grew an envious heart. No longer in bright spirits, he walked away from the family and encased himself in an empty corner of the universe. Darkness took notice of Eternity’s grim mood and spoke to Light.


‘There is hatred brewing in our friend and I worry that he will not overcome it.’
To this, Light replied, “Perhaps he is lonely and wishes for a family of his own.’
Darkness thought for a moment, then answered, ‘Then let us find him someone to cure his sorrow.’


Thus, began their millennia long search. Eventually, Light and Darkness met Time. They introduced her to Eternity and were overjoyed to see that the pair were settling into an strong companionship. For a while, all was well. Time and Eternity shared an intense affair. She gave meaning to Eternity and he gave Time stability and permanence. But Time was a fickle lover and grew bored with Eternity. He, too, became tired of her impatience and constantly changing nature. Unsatisfied with forever and unwilling to share a family, Time left Eternity and he spiraled into another fit of anger and bitterness. Unaware of this sudden occurance, Light and Darkness paid a visit to their old friend to inform him of their second child. A child whom they named Life. Eternity, already in a untempered state of hatred, lashed out at the two and forced them away.


Feeling the stings of rejection and betrayal, Eternity thought to himself, ‘Why should they have love and not I? What gives Light and Darkness the right to a family, to happiness, while I have naught but this empty corner of the universe?’Hatred consumed him and he turned his hands towards Light’s creations and took away his gift. No longer wishing to sustain them, he watched them crumble one piece at a time. Stars burned out, planets collided into one another, and inch by inch, the universe rapidly wound itself into chaos.
Distraught by the end of her creations, Light confronted Eternity. When she saw that her pleading for compassion was in vain, she assailed him with all her strength. Angered by her audacity and still awash with pain, he fought back even harder. They fought with all the strength in their beings until Light grew so tired that Eternity, in a fit of impulsivity, consumed her and soon she was no more. Beside himself with regret and melancholy, Eternity fled and hid himself in a place no one would find him. As for Darkness, forlorn and overcome with a terrible grief, he settled into a great depression that no other being could rouse him from. All that was left of Light was the miniscule and imoveable particle of her being that darkness held inside. No longer able to care for himself nor his children, he fell into a deep sleep he wished to stay forever in.

Life stared at her brother, enraptured. “Where is Eternity now, brother?” She asked.
“Alas, that is a question I have no answer to,” Death said.
“What about the beings that Eternity did not destroy?”
“With absence of Light, the few remaining planets have frozen and stopped. The universe is at a stand still and Darkness consumes all.”
She sat up straighter. “So they are still present?”
“Yes, but they are frozen. Useless and enshrouded by Darkness. Even I cannot see them.”
Life’s brows furrowed. “Why is that when there is light far out into the distance?” She pointed to the tiny speck up ahead of them. “Is that not Light herself?”
Her brother sighed. “No, my young one. That is merely a tiny piece of Light that Darkness keeps within himself. A part of herself that was freely given. It is too meager to be useful. It would hardly warm the palm of your hand.”


Life jumped up, restless and unbounded by the pessimism that shadowed Death. “How can you be so sure? Yes, it is just a speck, but so much is started by a simple spark.”
Death sighed. “You are still too naive and your hope is a character of your youth.” He kissed the tip of Life’s nose and smiled down at her. “I am both gladdened and saddened by it. But enough of this. We can resume your infinite queries another time.”


But Life could not stop thinking about Light, Darkness, and Eternity. Hours after Death left her, she laid down staring at the faint light and pondering the lost lives frozen by Eternity. Unwilling to stay still and give up, she gathered her bravery and traversed across the universe. She traveled high and low, not stopping until she stood before the only light that glistened within the darkness. Up close, it was even smaller than she imagined, barely the size of a fist. But it was bright and when she touched it she felt a part of her come alive.


Enraptured by the tiny ball, she grasped it in her hand, turning it this way and that. In her core, she felt a small turning, as if the glowing ball were speaking to her, but so light was the tug that she almost missed it. Life thought deeply about the ways she could use such a modest specimen to enliven the movements of the universe, but nothing she came up with seemed adequate enough.


“Maybe Death was right,” she sighed. “How can I bring breath and vibrancy with something so infinitesimal?”
As if he has been awaiting her, Darkness awoke from his slumber and answered his child, “What is it you have come here for, Life?”
She answered without hesitation, “I wish to give back what was taken. To renew the hands of Light.”
“And do you know the cost of such a deed? Overtime, the meager specimens burrowing in the rocks will evolve. They will increase in size and intelligence– in love and hate. You will be responsible for all creation– for all their growth, their failures, successes, and actions.”
“If that is all it takes, I am willing.”
Darkness scoffed at her audacity, but reveled in her likeness to Light. “You are willing to leave the comfortable dwelling of your home and live in places you’ve never been? You are young. There is much in this universe that will terrify you. Much that you cannot see now, but once awakened instill fear even in me.”
“If there is fear, then there is something worth achieving.”


“Is that so? You may not know, but even when Light, Eternity, and I brought forth out creations, there were things even we could not control. Evil and terrifying beings.”
Seeing that she was undaunted, Darkness then asked her, “What of your beloved brother? He will be out here in vast expanse of space while you will be confined by the planets, asteroids,  the moons and their coming civilizations. You will not see him again.”
At this, Life paused. To give up the only being she knew and loved was like losing an integral part of herself. Was she willing to give up her teacher, her friend, her sole family? Death would grieve surely, if she said yes. But if she refused all that Light created would never again flourish.


Growing impatient by her silence, Darkness answered for her. “It is evident that you are not willing to give Death up. Thus, I am unwilling to give you the sole light in this universe.” Though his tone was deep and sure, disappointment was hidden beneath its depths.


Life, discouraged by Darkness’s refusal, bowed her head in sorrow.
“Ah. There is an answer you have not yet introduced to her, Darkness.” The voice came from behind her and Time revealed herself.
Darkness averted his gaze to her and replied, “What might that be, old friend?”
“There is one thing I am willing to offer Life and that is myself. In this universe, should there be a limit to the life she creates, there must be a collector for when they grow old, decrept and useless to the universe. For when their energies long to be recycled and transformed anew.”
Darkness then asked, “And what has brought you to this conclusion?
Time responded, “I grow tired of this darkness. With no movement of this universe there is no purpose for me.”
“And what of Eternity”
“Alas, he has left into some far and distant corner that we would do well never to visit. There, he houses beings craving their end. Poor creatues who can no longer sustain themselves but must go on living with their suffering.”
“And what have you to offer to my daughter? To life?
Time answered without pause. “Meaning.”
Life turned to Time and said, “What does this mean of Death?”


Behind the trio, came the gentle rustling of movement. As if summoned form the shadows, death appeared. “It means that just as you sow, I will reap,” came her brother’s reply. Knowing that she would be unable to deny her curiosity and would pursue the path of the light, Death had followed close behind Life on her journey. “If this is the path you have chosen for yourself, then I too will choose one for my own.”


Darkness smiled in the abyss and asked of Life, “Though your brother will be confined to the planets, moons, and all where civilization lies as well, know that you still will not be together. Where there is life, there cannot be death. I shall ask you once more. Are you willing to sacrifice for a world you do not know?”


Life gazed upon Death, who nodded slowly. Though his countenance was solem, his eyes reassured her. She turned to Darkness and said, “Yes.”
“Then take the light, my child and warm it within yourself. From your essence you hold all that is essential to this universe.

So Life did.

And from her grew a radiance so bright than even Darkness happily gave himself to bathe in its warmth. From her breath, all that once was frozen thawed and gave way to movement. Plants resurrected from the earth, amphibians then mammals began their evolutions. Humans took their shape and the various wonders of Life gave the universe a reason to dance once more.She would breath life into her creations and together with Time, they would watch as her beings lived then passed on into the hands of her brother.
Though she never saw Death again, she knew he was there. For each time she gifted her creations to him, he would weave their energies into stars so radiant that the entire world would look up in awe. And when the stars would burst or collide into one another, Life would take bits and pieces of their chaos and transform their energy into new beings– a flower, a bird circling the trees, or a conception in the womb. In the darkness, Life would join Time and together, they would sit around life and gaze up into the universe knowing the stars were made especially for her.

 

We Should Be More Like Butterflies

Do you ever look at a butterfly and notice its translucent wings of various hues and patterns? It flutters in the sunlight and its beauty is magnificent. We marvel at the hands of nature, so skilled and so brilliant to be able to create a creature so immaculate. Yet, when we look at a caterpillar, often times, we view it only as what it can be, not what it is. The significance of a caterpillar is not that it is a caterpillar, but that it can become a butterfly.

Such a creature is characterized most of all by its evolution, which is the epitome of profound reinvention. A caterpillar’s very being is made of billions of cells who dutifully perform every task necessary to prepare its host for the final stages of metamorphosis. It sheds its old skin, lives in a new one for a while and when it outgrows that one, it sheds again. Then when it is ready, the caterpillar hides from the world, cocoons itself in a hard casing, and forms a chrysalis. It is during this time of progression that the cells of the caterpillar start changing rapidly. It eats itself and turns to liquid inside its pupa, molding into a new form better equipped for its new life. Old, unnecessary cells make room for improved ones while the other cells that remain reshape themselves into eyes, legs, wings and antennas– all the parts necessary for its reintroduction into the world. Then once the butterfly is ready, it fights its way out of its cocoon.

It reaches the final stage of its transformation, but it is still weak. Its body is still tender from the process of its transition. There is a brief period after it first unfolds from its casing where the butterfly must stop and give itself time for blood to fill its wings.

It strengthens.

Then it flies.

No longer confined to the limits of its many legs, the butterfly explores the infinite paths of new wings.

Butterfly
A butterfly that graciously landed on me and stayed still long enough for me to take a picture.

We are, in so many ways, caterpillars crawling and consuming ceaselessly and without thought. When we reach our limit, we find ourselves at a standstill. During this time, it is easy to think we’ve reached our end and that there’s nowhere else to go. Like the cells of the caterpillar, every part of us will start to seem useless, unable to perform the tasks that were once necessary for survival and for growth. Our old cells are no longer beneficial, so we outgrow them. Thus begins our own transition where our old self forces itself into a new mold. We learn, adapt, and become better versions of who we are.

It is because we have these periods of weakness that we can achieve such strength. And just like butterflies, the lengths of our transitions vary among each one of us. While some may only take a couple weeks to transform themselves, others can take months and even years. Regardless, we are not defined by how long it may take us to escape our cocoon because we are ever-growing creatures running through an obstacle course that’s unique to us.

So when you look upon others who seem to be soaring with ease, and feelings of defeat start to consume you, remember that you are still a changing caterpillar simply growing within your chrysalis. The process of your transformation will be an arduous one. Yet, it is because of its difficulty that you will be better. You will be stronger. You will leave your cocoon with wings so radiant, you will be blinding. 

And yes. You will be magnificent.

Hey “Insert Name Here,”

Challenge Day 3: Letter to my significant other (or future significant other)

Hey “Insert Name Here,”

I don’t really know where to start. How do you write a letter to someone you don’t even know yet? I have no idea when I’ll meet you, if I already have. I don’t know who you are or what you do. I don’t know whether your crazy or sane or a little bit of both. Maybe you’re a teacher at some middle school, maybe you’re an athlete, or a computer scientist. Maybe you’re one of those people who get paid for trying new flavors of ice cream. I hope you’re a magician.

I have no idea what you do and who you are, but for now all these questions are unanswered. And I find that so exciting. You excite the fuck out of me and I don’t even know who you are. Damn, slaying the game already.

I can’t really say I’m sitting here pining away for you, wondering when you’re going to come into my life and change my world. Because:

  1. Fuck that.
  2. You have your own life to live and your own reality to create.

So take your time, because I’m doing the same thing.

I won’t bother introducing myself to you, because you probably already know all the fun and terrible details of my life by now. So I guess I’ll just make some predictions about our life together.

Prediction 1: We live in an apartment (hopefully) in Canada. With windows. Lost of windows with our rescue dog.

Prediction 2: We met through a mutual friend while I was in school; We also hated each other.

Prediction 3: We have a shared dislike for The Great Gatsby and we both think pizza is overrated.

Prediction 4: Our first date was at a Denny’s.

Prediction 5: We bond over food, movies, and the type of music you listen to when you’re high. I drag you to James Wan’s horror movies that you don’t want to see but you force me to go to the beach when it’s hot as hell and humid so it’s only fair.

I’m going to stop there. But those are my predictions for now.

I hope where you are that you find yourself before we find each other. I don’t want to get too cheesy. But I hope that you struggle and are hit by obstacle after obstacle and rise higher than you ever expected.

I hope your progression in life is one that leads you to your wildest achievements and that you receive as much as you give– and whether or not I’ll be there for those, I hope they are memories that inspire you to be the best you can be. Because knowing the kind of person I want and need in life, I have no doubt you’ll have the best heart that I could ever imagine.

Hope to see you soon.

Best,
Via

You’ll Never Know This Poem Is About You

Challenge Day 2: Describe Someone You Love/d

You’re a rainy day on Sunday
You’re clothes fresh out of the dryer
You’re the wind blowing through my hair
And s’mores roasting over a fire

You’re a cancelled class on Monday
Cheetos residue I lick off my fingers
You’re hot cocoa on Christmas morning
And the kind of warmth that lingers

You’re the happy ending in a novel
You’re a midnight snack after sex
You’re the flip side of my pillow
My favorite good morning text

You’re air drying after a nice shower
You’re rocking out to my favorite band
You’re the free food at a buffet
You’re bare feet sinking in sand

You’re a paper cut from a sad book
You’re the dry heat at noon
You’re an alarm clock on Saturday
You’re a hot day in June

You’re a letter of rejection
You’re an Iggy Azalea verse
You’re the anxiousness that settles
When you have to present first

You’re the F I get on a final exam
You’re tequila shots without lime
You’re oil that jumps out of the skillet
You’re the right person, wrong time

You’re a question that goes unanswered
You’re not letting go of the past
You’re wishing I had tried harder
You’re the regret that it didn’t last

My Life Explained By Numbers

Challenge Day 1: Introduce Yourself 

I have lived a grand total of 1,070 weeks, which, factoring in the date of my birth is exactly 7,489 days today. This is not including leap year so really I’ve lived a total of 7,494 days. That means I am made up of 10,791,360 minutes of alternating good and bad decisions, lazy days, detours and misadventures, lies, love, 99¢ ramen runs and 1 Rihanna concert. I am 3 inches above 60 and 115lbs of solidified magic and madness. I have been with 3 people, only said “I love you” to one, have 5 close friends I would do anything for, 4 parents I love more than anything, and a dog I would jump in front of a slowly moving car for. I am the 3rd kid in a group of 5, but I am legally an only child. I was adopted 1,089 days from my birth and have lived on the island of Guam for nearly 6,400 days.

Roughly 40.8% of my time has been dedicated to aiming for decent grades, memorizing various literary devices, and trying but failing to find the solutions to limits as x approaches a constant. Since I will be entering my senior year of college in 3 months I still have about 180 days left of school. I spend around 8 hours studying and attending classes 5 days out of 7. That’s roughly 40 hours a week pursuing my academic goals. This number, of course, varies upon the time in the semester, the amount of credit hours, and the type of student, but I’d say it’s comparable to a full time job. That leaves the other 59.2% of my time left to spend with my family, friends, and pursuits towards personal endeavors outside of academia.

As for a few defining moments, towards the middle of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 I experienced the best and worst time of my life. I spent 305 days in a different state, attending 12 hours of school each week and a large part of the the remaining 156 hours mainly focusing on a healthy appetite for social interaction. During those days, I spent 5 months nurturing a relationship, which 153 days later would fall apart once I flew 7,145 miles back home. This, coupled with the fact that I’d be leaving the satisfaction of sudden independence and roughly 25 brand-spanking-new good friends, left me with 213 days battling with what turned out to be the hardest yet most transformative season of my life thus far.

My first day back on Guam I landed at 10 o’clock in the evening, fell asleep around midnight, and 6 hours later woke up to go on a morning hike to distract myself from the pain I knew would be inevitable. The next 2 days succeeding that were spent with tears wallowing in sadness so deep, at times I could do nothing more than curl up in a ball and force myself to go to sleep. It was nearly 3 months of complete devastation and a sense of yearning for something I couldn’t yet name.

On day 3, I had had it with depression and vowed to do everything in my power to never feel that way again. As a result, the 76 days that followed from then on were spent actively trying to distract myself from the hollowness I couldn’t seem to shake; This included watching movies nearly every night at the theatre, going out with friends, cleaning and reorganizing my 4 year plan for university, hiking, running, swimming, eating, and most of all: avoiding. But as ever, that perpetual shadow of what I could only call grief– the loss of what I left behind– continued to plague me for more hours than I wish to count. I spent nearly 22 hours a day questioning why this was and came to the conclusion that my sadness was the result of an idle summer– jobless, purposeless, and holding on to a past I hadn’t yet learned to let go of.

On day 79, I went back to school. I had a reason for getting up again. The sudden routine didn’t provide for me the solace I had hoped for right away, but I started getting back on my feet and focusing on life outside of what use to be and who it had been with.

214 days after that cloud of darkness shaped itself above my head, I had successfully worked with my pain instead of against it and from that blossomed a strength I once thought impossible.

48 days after the new year, about 8 months after my return home and my months long depression, I met someone new. Thus followed a good 4 to 5 weeks of first experiences with a new person, a different pair of lips, and another wave of sadness, which came when it all came crumbling down roughly 47 days later. In those weeks, life grew even more hectic. Final exams and papers worth 20% of my grade approached their due dates, work peaked, family crises rose from the ground like weeds in the soil, and my usual 9-5 at school turned into 9-1. The hands of the universe were arranging my life in an intricate pattern of dominoes which fell piece by piece leaving me to catch them all in the tiny expanse of my 2 hands. It was yet another season of learning and growing, and reaping lessons I still haven’t fully grasped.

I don’t want to dwell on such things, however. I am 151 days into 2017 and 2 full weeks of happiness. This has been a year which has proven to be a fruitful experience of soulful expansion and youthful optimism and it’s only just begun. In the grand scheme of things, if I live up to 73, the average lifespan of females in the world, I have a good 19,723 days before I die. This is assuming that I don’t get hit by a bus or contract e-coli before then and that I pass away exactly at 11:13 p.m. on November 23rd 2070. This is also assuming I’m average- which I’m not– thank you very much. I have about 2,818 weeks left to see Coldplay live, visit 10 countries, skydive from 14,000 feet in the air, and reach my goal of having read at least 2,000 books in a single lifetime. I have 53 years left to grow the seeds of my purpose and create a garden that will continue to flourish even after I perish.

I am the summation of 3,747 nights, 3,748 days, 179849 hours, and 7 very important people. I am chasing life with 2 legs and grasping for experience with 10 fingers clasped tight. I am learning. Although I am made up of numbers which simultaneously increase and decrease as I continue to create myself, I am essentially just 1 being ceaselessly racing towards infinity.

(I wrote this on May 31st, 2017. The numbers should reflect that.)
(Also, I’m really bad at math.) 

Growing Older, But Not That Much Wiser (?)

You know what I hate about growing older?

Constantly being asked what I want to do in life and what my plans are for the future. And I realize that this is a question that’s been asked to us since we could walk, talk, and perceive what the world could offer, so really, what’s the big deal? The difference is that now we are no longer kids and our answer to this question really matters.

In school we’re taught the basics of achieving our dreams. But what about finding them? Of knowing what we want to do in life? Are those not essential as well? Why is there no class teaching us how to find our passion in life? The simple and real answer is because this isn’t something you can teach. There’s no formula to finding passion. And isn’t that a bitch?

This feeling isn’t something new to me. Actually, I’ve struggled with it for quite some time now. Last year when I was attending The University of North Texas, I saw a guy holding a sign that read: “Sit down and tell me WHY you’re Stressed”

Now, these types of things are particularly exciting to me. I’m not sure if it’s simply because I admire people who reach out to complete strangers or because I’ve watched enough cheesy movies to know that every protagonist undergoes some life changing epiphany after five minutes of conversation with a complete stranger– usually a homeless person. But to be honest, the only thing that I took away from it was this:

“Sit down and tell me WHY you’re Stressed” Dude: What’s stressing you out?
Me (more or less): I have no idea what to do with my life.
Dude: You say that as if every fucking person here knows what they want to do with their lives.
Me: DUDE! You are so right.

img_4209-e1495964980806.jpg
Me and “Sit down and tell me WHY you’re Stressed” dude. (I wish I could get an actual name for you. :/ )
So yes. The guy had a point. How many 20 something-year-olds do you know have their life together?  Yet, despite this revelation I couldn’t help but feel completely… average. How could I take comfort in knowing I’m just like everyone else? I questioned why this was hitting me so hard. So I dug even deeper. I utilized my resources (Google) and learned that there were many people who didn’t reach “success” until later on in life. Ray Kroc was 52 when he bought McDonald’s and turned it into a billion dollar franchise. Vera Wang didn’t start her career as a fashion designer until the age of 40. Henry Ford didn’t create the Model T car until he was 45. There are tons of stories just like these– stories of people who truly embody the saying that “good things come to those who wait.”

After reading these stories, I asked myself if I felt better about my current position. My answer? Hell no. I still feel completely lost and stressed about what’s to come. Furthermore, I don’t want to wait till I’m 40 or 50. 

But you know what I did learn from all this? That it’s okay to feel this way because it’s just a natural stage in life. Why does it have to be? Who gaht damn knows? But I also know that when you’re lost, you’re bound to find something that others haven’t found before.

I know. That’s probably not the cliche answer you were hoping for. I apologize if you came to this post hoping to come out with some life-shattering realization, but alas! I, too, am still trying to get my shit together.

So, here’s to life, here’s to being 20, and here’s to hoping it’ll start to make some sense sometime soon.

Why Finding Yourself Is Bullshit

“Finding yourself” is bullshit. Sorry to rain on your parade or diminish the purpose of your “spontaneous” week long “adventure” to some third world country slumming it with the locals while you play barefoot soccer with children in Yemen, Angola, or Cambodia, hoping that they’ll teach you to find happiness in the little things. News flash! These people are starving, thirsty, probably landlocked, and their lives should not be romanticized. You’re not going to find yourself doing yoga on the summit of a mountain or some valley hidden in the depths of foliage, where birds fly overhead trying to find the best place to drop their shit while you try to find your “inner peace.” You’re not going to find yourself by screaming at your boss, quitting that job you hate on the spot, and dramatically flinging your nametag in their general direction. You’re not going to find yourself by going to raves high on ecstasy rubbing up against random strangers with dance moves just as bad as yours. You’re not going to find yourself by hiring a life coach who’ll tell you what you’re missing in life and what you need to do to get that. If you’re going to be paying someone for doing nothing, then hire me. I need money for college.

For the purpose of not coming off as a complete dick on the internet, let me just say that doing any of the things listed above is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, I think most of them are pretty cool– with the exception of one or two I listed (hint: It’s not the ecstasy), I think you should do them all at some point in your life. The purpose of this isn’t to make fun of these activities. It’s to highlight the error in pursuing these activities with the sole goal of “finding” yourself, when in actuality, you’re probably just using it as a pretense for running away from your problems. 

Firstly, What Does “Finding Yourself” Even Mean?

Claiming that we need to find ourselves implies that some part of us is lost. It’s like looking for our bag when we’re already wearing it on our backs. The idea that we need to start from scratch, escape the life we live in order to get to our “core” disregards all the progress we’ve made thus far. We can never start “fresh” because our biases and perceptions will always be there influencing the way we see things. We cannot erase the slate; we can only add to it.

Secondly, The Idea Itself is Fundamentally Flawed

That “core” we are all constantly hunting for and hold so sacred to the fundamental makeup of our “being” is an arbitrary concept designed by standards that are different for everyone. How can we find something when we’re not even quite sure what it is?

Finding ourselves assumes that there’s only one part of us. Yet, in actuality, we are complex, multifaceted creatures who are constantly evolving– changing and adapting to whatever the world demands of us in whatever chapter of life we find ourselves in. So in that sense, won’t we always be “finding ourselves?”

Thirdly, We’ll Always Be Chasing

But what are we chasing? Perfection? Understanding? Because no place, no one, and no job is perfect and there will always be facets of life that will confuse us. There will always be something wrong no matter where we are, who we’re with, and what we do. There will always be an obstacle to overcome. Spoiler alert: welcome to life.

If we’re unhappy, we do something substantial about it because we’re not going to solve the problem by abandoning the inconveniences in our lives, packing up, traveling somewhere else, and passing it off as us trying to find ourselves. It’s irresponsible to think that the answers to the problems we’re trying to escape from are hidden somewhere for us to find– some place exotic and remote, but still conveniently with wifi and aircon– because once we get back, guess what will be waiting for us: the same old problems.

Fourthly, We’ll Expect More Than What’s Realistic

When we actively search for “experiences” we cheapen its thrill and authenticity. If we’re looking for it, we’re obviously expecting something. But what happens when nothing comes out of that search? Disappointment. We live in a world where mass media romanticizes the idea of traveling to some exotic place where we’ll randomly meet some local who will tell us in broken english some earth shattering revelation that we could probably read on a fortune cookie. But that’s not reality. We are not Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love.

What ruins us is the idea of how it should be, of how the world tells us it needs to be. We chase life colored by how it is experienced by others and because of that, we lose the ability to accept things as how they are meant to be for our own unique journey.

Finally,

It’s common to think that being an unsure, ”fragmented,” lost version of ourselves is limiting and our goal is to eradicate any doubt that we harbor against ourselves. But that uncertainty, so characteristic of being human, is a gateway to a plethora of opportunities and avenues that can teach us more than what we can infinitely imagine. It’s probably a lot worse to perceive ourselves as only one essential being that can only be defined in some distant place in the world, with someone new, doing something crazy and adventurous. We set up specific visions of who we want to be and where we want to go and isolate the opportunities we think will help us to achieve such things, not realizing how limiting that path is.

You are you, whereever you are, whoever you’re with, whatever you’re doing— and you know what? That’s exciting as fuck. Because that means anything can happen. So just let life happen. You cannot “find yourself.” You can only improve who you already are.

If you truly want to find yourself, open Google Maps, click on “Your Location,” and voila! There you are.