I love how you can’t even say hi to me anymore.
The title of this post is completely asinine. Why would any rational thinking person ever remedy a flu with the use of a band-aid? Obviously when we get the flu, we take the proper medicine to promote proper recovery. When we get a cut on our finger, we don’t reach for a bottle of cold medicine. This does not even require any explaining or breaking down.
However, when it comes to life, I often find myself doing these things. If one area of my life is lacking, I look to other areas of my life to compensate for these things. Let’s say, hypothetically, I’ve been unhappy because I’ve been sitting at home on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I find that I will often tell myself that getting away from here will remedy that. Because I am unhappy at the immediate moment, suddenly I am willing to make an irrational decision to move out of this place forever. I can also find myself leaning on the mindset that if I get a promotion at work, all my problems will go away. Honestly, compensating for one thing to fill the void of another never works, but I so often will tell myself that.
One way I see it is like adding two fractions with different denominators. It is like trying to solve it before finding the common denominator. It just does not work that way.
This world is overly mathematical. We have this ideology of justice that preaches fairness. If a person commits a crime, they deserve an equal punishment. If a person does poorly on an exam, they deserve a poor grade. If a person is really hungry, they will eat a big meal; if they aren’t, it will be smaller. This isn’t all bad, but this thought process carries over into the fabric of our everyday lives. Everything has a score on it. People count calories, facebook friends, tweets, how much money people owe them, etc. Again, this is not all bad.
I want to focus this math on one specific subject: friendship. Do we calculate our friendships the same way we try to calculate our salaries or final grades? Does this reflect your thought process: “We met once last week, twice the week before; we must still be good friends.” Is there any rule that states the friendship between two people should be split 50/50? How do we cope when we realize that friendships are never 50/50? Honestly, if we really look into it, there is always a hypothetical ”reacher” and “settler”. Does it bother you when it seems you’re reaching and the other person no longer seems interested? And no, this is not about romantic friendships. Even platonic friends require time and effort together. I guess we all have friends we consider “reaches” and those we’ve “settled” on.
Making friends isn’t easy. Maintaining them isn’t either.
This is my fifth year living in New York, but too often it still feels like my fifth day. You can interpret this whichever way you want…
I wrote this long essay or article (not sure how to classify it) on some observations I had recently made on the human condition. Because of it’s length, I know no one is going to bother reading it. So instead, I am cutting down my pride and cutting down the length. If anyone wishes to read it in it’s entirety, you can ask. But for the sake of all you, this is only an excerpt. [sidebar: Who thought I would still be writing essays after college? This wasn’t even an assignment.] So without further adieu:
After pondering the concept of human interaction in a naturally selfish society, this was a common problem among people. People were only willing to alleviate the surface problems. Empathy has become a band-aid in a world of pain and utter brokenness. We only attempt to cover up the surface pains, while willing to be blind towards the deeper ones. Pain travels much deeper than our minds are willing to tell us. We have been trained to turn a blind eye towards traumatic and unpleasant experiences. We unfortunately use this method with others. Whether it be on purpose or not, we like to do the bare minimum and still feel like a hero. Once we begin to factor in personal loss, helping out a friend becomes a burden.
When did life become a giant mathematical equation? Our lives look like the operation of an investment bank. We constantly try to figure out the cost-benefit of every situation. I’ve only scratched the surface on this matter, but already we can begin to see why the world we live in today is the way it is. Numbers answer a lot of questions, but numbers are basically always the same. Essentially, the value of “1” will always be “1”. It cannot miraculously turn into “2” on it’s own. The value of a person cannot be replaced with a number. Once we see people separate from an investment chart, maybe the world will begin to change it’s ways.
There is this unrealistic expectation placed on Fridays. At least in my experiences, Fridays have never lived up to their marketing. Maybe it’s because I avoid bars, clubs, and other popular Friday/Saturday evening venues; but to be real, they have no appeal to me. Starting Monday and continuing through the week, we live lives that continue to mount more stress upon stress. It would seem only natural to let it all go on a Friday evening. Friday is a statement. It is telling the rest of your weekend that it is going to be awesome. A mundane start carries no momentum, but an avalanche of adventure only continues to build. Friday is supposed to be amazing. Who doesn’t look forward to Fridays?
Well, this guy for sure. I hate Fridays. I hate the pressure that comes along with it being Friday. Because I live in New York (an extremely worldly and shallow place), I have these unrealistic expectations. I have a slew of activities I want to accomplish during the weekend, and it is only right to begin early. The truth is, this never ever happens. For example, the past four Fridays (because that’s the only day I have time), I excitedly planned to watch the third installment of the new Batman movie. The IMAX showing corresponded perfectly with my work exit; however, I was faced with a new challenge. You can’t just walk into a movie alone and watch a movie, can you? Movie watching is the most social anti-social activity ever. It’s the go-to activity for dates and social gatherings, but there is barely any social interaction. Well, eitherways, because of the lack in potential viewing partners I’ve constantly been left in disappointment. The perfect storm of being shallow in terms of needing to do something awesome on a Friday night with the being shallow in terms of needing someone/someones has left me empty handed.
This is only the most recent of events I am pulling from and it has helped further alienate me from Fridays. As much as it pains me to say this, I think I am more a Monday person than a Friday person. At least at work there is always something to be done. We are social beings in need of social interaction. Without it, it will drive you insane. Just look at this post.
This post is a reflection of how I’ve been feeling and a method of reminding myself the truth: We often feel the need for people to feel “sorry for us” or at least bad in some way. When did we become such sympathy seeking people? This is pretty much on par with any other experimental drug. It temporarily makes us feel better, than crushes us even more as the feelings begin to fade. Eventually, we become numb and empty just looking for that next high. So please, I don’t ask that you feel bad. But at the same time, I don’t ask for hate and criticism. Love. Christ’s love.
Earlier today I attended a memorial service for a high school friend. It was definitely too young an age to go; for him to die and for us, his friends, to attend. They say a parent should never have to bury their own child; I could never imagine what his parents, and family at large, must be going through. One moment that really stuck out to me was when his grandfather spoke of his memories. You’re not supposed to see your children die, but here he witnessed the passing of his grandson. I could go on for many posts about the ponderings I’ve had on the subject of life and death. I guess perspectives change when it reaches a personal level. However, today, I want to shed light on a different discovery.
At the memorial today I bumped into many old friends. I’ve probably seen less than 10 people from high school since graduating. Living in New York and immersing myself in this new life, I found very few opportunities to interact with these people I “grew up” with. Today I talked to a bunch of people I hadn’t seen since our high school graduation. Although we had all changed, shaped and matured through our various experiences in college, when we got back together it was as if no time had gone by. Suddenly yesterday was not July 6, 2012 anymore, but our high school graduation. We talked about college (majors, experiences, future) with new found perspectives that did not exist back in 2008, but our natural instinct was to revert back to a style from our old selves. I found it really interesting how our minds could instantly throw us back into the mentalities of high school. Our brains decided to skip the past four years, and it found the place where we took off. The brain is definitely a mysterious and powerful instrument (for lack of a better word). It was definitely awesome seeing these old friends again; we were vital in shaping each other during those impressionable middle and high school years. So, earlier today I got to experience high school again for the first time in four years. I’m looking forward to the next time I “visit” high school again, but hopefully it’ll be under different circumstances.
People often tell me that life is short; that you wake up one morning and wonder when all the years had passed. I’ve been around for 22 years, twenty two. I was born in 1989 (which feels like eternity to me; and it kind of is for my own self). When I was born, there was still a USSR, George H.W. Bush was in the first year of his term as this country’s president, there was a giant oil spill in Alaska - Exxon Valdez, not BP, and about a month before I entered the world, the Berlin Wall met its end. So much has happened in the past twenty two years. Our daily lives are bombarded with millions of different events and agendas. It often aids us in forgetting that we are just a sliver in the history of human existence. We often lie to ourselves, convincing ourselves that we are actually more relevant than we actually are. I’m not here to say you suck and need to disappear, but rather I think we need to reconsider who we are and why we are here. This life isn’t coincidence; there is abundant meaning. I was reminded of the significance of life once again.
Last month, a classmate from high school passed away; she had a full life waiting to be lived. Earlier today, a friend from high school passed away. Young guy, also with a full life ahead of him. Life is short, but it can be full. I’ve been around twenty two years; to some that is eternity and to others that is just the blink of an eye. But at the end of the day, age is just a number. It really cannot quantify or put a value on life itself. We were bought back by a Savior who loved us too much to let us perish. He gave us a second chance, a new life, founded in him. Whether I get called home tomorrow or in a 100 years; that is not up to me. My concern should not be on how long I live, but rather about how I live for my Lord. Let this be encouragement: life has already been found victorious in Christ. Let’s continue to live full and abundant lives, found and centered deep in the love of our Savior. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice eternally washed us clean. So friends, live joyful and meaningful lives. Carpe Diem, seize the day!
It wasn’t supposed to end this way, no
For how could something with no beginning, end?
But before we could even realize, there we were
Attached, in only a moments notice.
The endless possibilities of potential began to whirl
It was one in a million, unexpected, even to a fault
But this was a time we needed each other most
And, almost as soon as it had begun,
We were met with this journey’s end.
The unexpected development quickly turned to naught
Swept away by the handpicked intervention of destiny
It bore the weight of many years
A lifetimes worth of friendship
But in the end was but a dream.
We sprouted from this, our one shared moment
Caught in an emotional embrace
We savored it, together
But in the end, it wasn’t enough
It just wasn’t enough … to grow, to last