Friday, July 18, 2014

The Things That Actually Matter

I've noticed lately that life is...really weird.

When growing up you assume that there's various points in time that you'll arrive at and feel...different when you get there. High school. College. Post-college. A salary job. A boyfriend. A girlfriend. A marriage. Kids. Retirement. Whatever.

Now, I'm not sure if it's because I read too much about spacetime and relativity and just get in these huge existential quandaries, or because I think to much and notice things no one else seems to notice...

...but the idea of arriving anywhere in our own timeline is an illusion.

There's no way I'm the only one who's noticed that being an "adult" is not a feeling. It's series of responsibilities and things that you do, but I honestly believe no one ever feels like an adult. I'm pretty sure everyone feels somewhere between the ages of fifteen and twenty with more experience, but that actually feeling "oh, hey, I'm an adult" is really more like "Whoa. Bills. Uhm...I own a car...wait. Uhm. I need an adult to give me some advi....uhm...I AM the adult. Well, this is weird."

I mean, no one told us life was gonna be this way.

For a lot of us our jobs are a joke, we're broke, and our love life's D.O.A. It's like we're always stuck in second gear when it hasn't been our day, our month, or even our year.

...sorry, but I think the FRIENDS theme song is the only thing that was trying to tell us the truth this whole time.

Life is one giant MMORPG, and sure, there's instances and parties and quests and there's endgame raids, but you don't WIN. You can always get a better piece of gear, kick more gnomes in their punk asses in a battleground, but you don't WIN. Rack up all the achievements you want but the game goes on. Life is like an MMORPG where you're logged in automatically every day when you wake up, you can't turn your Vent channel off, and the only way to unsubscribe is to die (the kind where you don't start over again at the graveyard.)

And, honestly, the only meaning in life AT ALL is the meaning you choose to add to it. As far as I can tell, there is nothing inherently meaningful about careening through space and time with the ground beneath our feet spinning at 1,000 miles an hour and the entire planet hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour...we're falling through space, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world...*ahem* and there's just absolutely nothing deeper to it than that unless we choose for there to be.

Personally, in the last few weeks of intense, red-wine fueled deep thought, I've determined that there are three things that make life meaningful:

- The relationship with the God whom I choose to believe created me and everything else and in whom I place my faith.
- Really and truly being in tune with who I am as a person, and striving to be the best, 100% that I can be.
- The connections I make with other people who occupy earth in this space and during this time - deeply and radically loving the people in my life for who they are.

That's it.

I really think those are the only things that matter.

Additionally, I'm pretty sure that the way those three things are best experienced is by living directly in the moment. Right in the middle of now and nowhere else. Sure, plan for the future, because it'll get here sooner than you think, but in order to really trust God, we need to turn those plans over to Him and enjoy the moment He's giving us right now, because that's the only sure thing.

That's where knowing ourselves comes in - to enjoy a moment as fully as we can we need to know ourselves  - what makes us happy? What do we want to smell, see, taste, feel? Where do we want to go and what's the most exhilarating way to get there? Who do we want to shoot through space and time with at the speed of light? Who do you love enough to sit down and listen to and let time fly by you while you sit still in space and share in their story? ...which is where those connections with other people come in.

And while it's kind of a weird, terrifying, immense sort of conclusion to have come to - it's actually also breathtakingly freeing.

You realize that it actually won't make a difference what you do to keep the bills paid; what matters is that on your own time you're going out and boldly doing what makes you come alive - what you're best at - because God gave you unique gifts, and one way to connect with Him, yourself, and others simultaneously is to use them.

You realize that you could go and do a million billion beautiful, wonderful, staggering things and they won't matter ONE BIT if no one exists to share them with. And so you start to really hold close to your heart those beautiful people in your life that you're lucky enough to call friends, and you cherish their jokes and their willingness to share their heartaches with you, and you learn to be transparent with them because the fact that we, as human beings, can connect to other human beings like phenomenal. And that makes anything about them that might be abrasive kind of...diminish. It's just not as important. I think, eventually, if done right, you might not even notice those things at all anymore.

And then you take those beautiful people with you and you go dance in the rain and drive with the windows down. You smell flowers and eat weird new food, and take every opportunity to see an ocean or a mountain, or eat donuts at midnight.

You buck up and you ask that gorgeous person to dance, even if they are way better at it than you, because you exist at the same time in the same place and that's kind of miraculous when you realize that no one knows how big the universe is. The universe might literally go on forever, but you and that person exist in the same pinprick of it, and you can hold each other and spin around and slow time down together for a little while. So do it, damnit.

I mean, when you're a kid, they tell you it's all...grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that's it.

But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that.

It's so much darker.

And so much madder.

And so much better.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mindy Beth! Appreciated your thoughts. Having more years behind me than in front of me, I also have some....thoughts. Yes, putting God first is paramount. Putting others before self and doing for others ranks up there too. No one ...ever grows up - the more you know, the more you know that you do not know (to quote someone or other)! Being a good listener is something to cultivate. (Some people need to be heard more than others.) Sometimes being a friend is ...not talking at all....just being there. (I found that out first hand when our friend's husband, an AF pilot was shot down over Vietnam and left his wife and 5 children to wonder where he was. He happened to be a POW for 6 years and 363 days.) Being there for her....and she being there for me (no words necessary) was such a real friendship. There's a lot more ....but, in a nutshell: God first, family/friends next, and then 'me'. This brings true happiness - no matter what else happens or does not happen.