Anniversary Apology

I met my friend twenty years ago. We were just talking and I brought up the fact that all the good things I have in life stem from her presence. I paused and reflected on that statement. If true, it means that my gratefulness is woefully under-represented by my actions. In other words, I should be worshipping the ground she walks upon for all that she’s given me. If she did nothing else starting today, I’d still owe her for the last two decades.

She was my first and only girlfriend, my first and only best-friend, she taught me how tasty food could be. And after growing up in such a negative family environment, she showed me that “family” could be a term of endearment. She was the adoring and dutiful mother that our little baby needed. And of course my more cheerful outlook on life is plainly due to her guiding influence. Having been a pessimistic realist, I now believe in the goodness of life and all sorts of fanciful things.

Because of this, I have most certainly taken her presence for granted. She has carefully crafted the majority of meals I’ve eaten. I literally can’t enjoy food without her around. And most importantly, she not only listens to my inane philosophizing, but responds as though she cares. I have never met a better cook, or a more clever person, nor a better listener — she remembers everything. People, including babies and animals, tend to adore her.

What that initial statement made me realize, is how little gratitude I show toward such a vital component of my life. It’s sheer disrespect on my part, and I’m taken aback by it. I should be demonstrating my appreciation daily — hourly in fact! I asked whether she’d rather have a thank-you or an apology — I think her response is obvious. And so I wholeheartedly apologize, and repent for the horrible way in which I selfishly took her presence for granted.

But mere words are not enough, I must change my ways. In my future dealings with her, I must trust her opinion much more than I already do. What she thinks best, probably is. My patience towards her must be an endless well. When she speaks I must silence my own mind and simply listen. I must recognize the ingredient of love she mixes into every meal. Every bit of criticism that crosses my mind must be checked by the infinite delight she’s infused within my being.

I apologize to you, Michelle, for being so late in my understanding of the totality of your greatness. Happy Anniversary!

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Lingering Lonliness

We often test whether we’re alone in the world. For instance, a child regularly polls for physical presence and affection. And I know someone who regularly behaves in a prickly manner as if to test whether those that surround stick close despite the thorns. As for myself, I often say things while analyzing whether I was truly understood.

I suppose that’s one reason I publicly post my thoughts, so that I can in some way discern whether I’m alone. “Here’s what’s in my mind, does anyone understand me?”, I seem to be saying. But I think understanding is an odd metric since we rarely even understand ourselves — how can we expect others to do so?

We must remember that relationships are bonds formed within our minds. We’re as alone as we perceive ourselves to be. We can feel alone in a crowded room just as we can feel connected while physically isolated. Testing for loneliness is a faulty practice, as it’s our attitude that actually determines the answer.

If we ever ask the question, “Am I lonely?” we should always answer with a confident “No”, then connect the dots in a way that says we’re not. Loneliness is an unpleasant conclusion, one we should never seek to reach. Creativity can be used to paint a picture of warmth and companionship — simply dip the brush to begin.

Respecting Relationships

My friend, what do you think this is — what are we doing here? Certainly we’re not here to sell vinyl flooring, or collect trinkets, or to simply nibble on snacks. The point, is the interaction between people. All this stuff we’re doing simply gives us a reason to interact with one another. And if you’re focusing on the procedures instead of the relationships, you’re doing it wrong.

People are inefficient because they’re not here to do jobs for the sake of work itself. Who cares if anything gets done? We all depart at the end, there’s no point to our earthly endeavors. We play games not to achieve actual results, but to interact and have fun while doing it. The only actual accomplishment we can attempt to attain, is the enjoyment of our time while we’re here.

And to enjoy life, we must develop and maintain meaningful relationships. And beyond our closest relationships, we must develop a relationship with the whole of humankind. To simply satiate ourselves is wasted effort, how can we be satisfied while those around us suffer? It’s absurd. Of course we must help those in need — hand in hand with humanity, we traverse the struggles of life.

We can be happy in no other way, than in service to mankind. When at the end of our days we look back, could we see ourselves a success if so many persist in squalor? Of courses not. We’ve lost if we’ve left others behind to rot. The world hurts, not for want of a cure, but to provide opportunity to help or be helped — allowing us, everyone, to build bonds through shared adversity.

Sharing is Caring

Shared hardship is what makes deep meaningful conversation possible, it brings people closer. To live a life without shared hardship is to live a meaningless, lonely life. We suffer not for the sake of suffering, but to engage in the shared experience of adversity.

If this is not the case, why is the world awash in hardship, why after thousands of years do we not live a life of ease? Our lesson is not to rid ourselves of hardship, nor conceal it, nor turn from others in need, but to share — share the struggles of life. Misery is the result of suffering silently.

Lives of quiet desperation are such when we tuck ourselves away, attempting to avoid life’s struggle. We are punished for shrinking away. If those in our vicinity lay broken, without help, we will feel the ramification of such tragedy. Life spurs us to share not shirk.

It’s said that a problem shared is a problem halved. Problems are the currency of camaraderie — nothing unites like problems. Friendships are forged in the fires of adversity. If people are in trouble, their dilemmas exist as an opportunity for others to help.

The things we do in life, the jobs, the careers, the technology, the parties, even the families, do not exist for their own sake, they’re all insignificant endeavors — they exist merely as a means to facilitate relationships. We are here to construct meaningful relationships amongst ourselves.

And to that end, we must share in hardship — contributing our time, our energy, our resources, our talents, or our problems. The most honorable act in life is helping those in need. Both parts of the equation are necessary, we need those that hurt as much as those that help.

Dating Life

Perhaps life just wants to be appreciated, maybe life doesn’t like the constant criticism or being told it needs to change in order for you to be happy. Why can’t life ever be good enough? No wonder your relationship with life sucks, you’re a judgmental asshole.

Life is ugly, life is too crazy to deal with, life never knows what I want, life makes me so angry, life treats me like shit… and on and on it goes. Well what have you done for life? People used to perform sacrifices in order to demonstrate their appreciation for life — but you, not even a “thanks”.

What’s the alternative to life? Non-existence perhaps? So isn’t this world, this spectacle, at least a little something special? Maybe slightly better than nothingness? So maybe try showing a little interest in what life has put together here? It’s a world full of non-stop excitement, and all you can do is nitpick.

I mean, it obviously takes a lot of work to create and maintain all this, and here you are shitting all over it, not even giving it a chance. You’re pointing out all the things you don’t like, ignoring anything good that comes along, and bad-mouthing life to anyone that’ll listen.

Life doesn’t create the world to make you or anyone else suffer — what kind of demented logic is that? Living is hard, yeah, but hardship is not the point — that’s like saying the purpose of fruit is to rot, it’s twisted. Yes, we poop and cry and even die, but that’s not why we’re here.

Did you even consider, perhaps if you treat life right, get involved, show a little gratitude, look like you’re having fun, then maybe life will return the favor? Maybe the relationship is a two-way street and you have to give a little to get a little. Does being an ungrateful little shit seem like a successful strategy?

Look, yeah I get it, life is a bit heavy-handed at times, some bones may break, but life means well, otherwise why provide all this? Everything you’ve ever enjoyed, every bit of love you’ve felt, every taste that’s danced across your tongue, every cozy embrace, and every sense of satisfaction, life provides that, for you, and after all that you still find something to complain about — so who’s the jerk here?

Accepting Life

Growing up, life was an intense experience. For starters, my family was quarrelsome and disagreeable — and I didn’t like the provided cuisine, relying mostly on junk food for my calories. In addition to that, my senses tended to be overwhelmed. Most forms of excitement were too much, I was repulsed by thrill rides and scary movies, I didn’t like driving cars or going fast. With people, I remained distant, interacting with as few as possible. And because of the intensity, I complained a lot and often wondered why I was in such a strange and unpleasant world.

Today, I interact with less people than I ever did, I live in a quieter place and avoid crowds, I rarely drive and stay off highways, I dislike heights and airplanes, but I did develop a taste for a wider variety of wholesome foods. I still pick out bad smells and avoid excitement-based entertainment, preferring more lighthearted fare. I do keep up with current events, which is a source of frustration, but for whatever reason I’m drawn to it like flies to poop. In many ways my surroundings adjusted to my preferences, but my attitude is much more accepting of life, more relaxed, and I complain less.

The way I deal with life’s intensity nowadays is to think of things less seriously. Instead of accepting my pessimistic thoughts and predictions of dire consequences, I reject them — life does what it does despite my worry, so I gave up worrying. I’m still cautious, but not afraid. I also acknowledge my lack of control over life. And instead of focusing on the worst aspects of the world, I now look towards the things I enjoy.

I still see the world as strange, filled with many unpleasantries, and I don’t absolutely adore life, but there’s aspects I do love and appreciate. That’s like any relationship, no? And so I’ve made my peace with life, we’re a family and we have to make the best of our situation. At times I had rejected life, wanting nothing more to do with it, but I always came back, ready to start fresh. Now I’m a bit sentimental about life, wanting to defend it from detractors, especially from my own negativity. And so it is, me and life, a tenuous relationship strengthened through adversity.

Other People

Do other people exist? And if so, what is our relationship?

Are we all nodes of one big centralized network? Just small glimpses of a greater being? Are we the same person living different lives at the same time? Am I real, but other people are artificial? I’ve tried to trick people into admitting they’re not real, and I like to think I’ve come close, still nothing conclusive though. But, it’s difficult to prove that even “I” exist, and because of that, perhaps it’s likely that other people exist in the same way I do.

Although, typical human conversations tend to be somewhat superficial. And chatbots, the computer programs that simulate conversation, are pretty effective in their task. And, video games have had effective artificial intelligence for a long time. So it does seem at least plausible that other people could be faked.

But what makes me “real” and someone else “artificial”. How am I any different from others? My thoughts aren’t even my own, they’re made up of the thoughts of other people, things I’ve heard, seen, or read. And my mind and body seem to be at the whim of impulses beyond my control. If my thoughts and inspired ideas come from some other place outside of “me”, I don’t seem any more “real” than anyone else.

So if I had to guess, I would say that I’m the same type of thing as every other human. And because we’re so linked together as “humanity”, I’d further surmise that individual humans are just parts of a greater whole. In other words, individually we’re meaningless, “humanity” is what we are.