An aim would be nice, wouldn’t it? You wander around life, hopping from one such thing to another, just looking for something that gives your life direction. So many folks spend their lives trying to get their bearings. These days it seems like the little window you’re staring at right now takes focus. We forget that all the fancy things and cool places, exciting jobs that could furnish us a life of luxury and ease, are all just snapshots. We let those brief moments take focus away from ourselves, our lives. Then, one day, you wake up to your hands glued to a cell phone. You frantically swipe through your Instagram or twitter, trying to see who was looking through their window at your snapshots, hoping you can inspire the same envy you’ve felt looking at others. It’s all cyclical and it’s bogus.
Our generation isn’t the first. The window’s just gotten bigger. If it wasn’t Instagram or the internet, it was MTV and magazines. Or it was legends of family members or storybook heroes that made us lose focus. We lost sight of something that would have given our lives direction all along. Instead we listened to how brave great-grandfather was, or how cool The Bandit looked in his T-top. Then we fashion our lives around these mythologized individuals who are, again, only showing us a snapshot. A brief moment in their lives, and the best of a brief moment. We don’t stop to think about what comes after that moment, or even what came before it. What lead that person to where they are in that snapshot?
We’ve forgotten how to be ourselves. The greatest thinkers and writers of our species were folks that, sure, drew inspiration from others but they were never afraid to blaze their own trail. Because it’s easy to regurgitate someone else’s ideas. Fourteen characters has made that painfully obvious. But to take stock of who you are, all your good qualities and your bad, and sit; think about them and accept them. To come to love them and to then, in turn, love yourself…that’s something rare. That’ll give you your heading. All day long.
For a long time I was that way. I tried to be like other people, to embody the qualities I admired in them. It took me from this side of our great nation to the next, and a lot of places in between. I was a chef, a teacher, a singer, and a small business owner. I studied economics, medicine, and then finally anthropology in college. I let the stories of my grandfather and father make me believe I needed to be tougher. I let the window be my compass.
But I like who I am. I can be tough and stern when I need to be, but by and large I’m compassionate and considerate. I can take a punch when need be, but I’d prefer to use my mouth over my fists. I used to think I was some genius, but turns out I ain’t any smarter than the next guy; just clever moments from time to time. I’m your everyday, average, run-of-the-mill guy. I like fishing and reading, sitting on my ass and doing jack shit; and I’m okay with that.
You ought to be as well; find who you are, and don’t just be okay with it. Embrace it. ‘Cause, kid, there ain’t another you. Very Dr. Seuss, I know…but it gets the point across. In a world of people who are aimless, where the windows we’re surrounded by are distracting and often misleading, look inward. The Big Guy gave you what you’re made of for a reason. Use that, and you’ll never be lost a day in your life.
And I should know, I just turned twenty-seven