I came to the conclusion that one of the most subtle of deceits come in the form of wishing that you could live your life over again; imagining your life if you lived it differently – living it “perfectly” without making the stupid mistakes that we all make; thinking that your life is not how it should be because there are so many more glorious ways that it could have been. I call it a subtle deceit for three reasons: first, it assumes that even if you could live life over, that it would all work out in your favor again; second, it assumes that the life that you currently live is in shambles just because of a few wrong turns and a few unlucky rolls of the dice; third, the contemplation is based off of a view of life that desires for the world to all work in your favor. Let’s look at these ideas one by one.

After growing up with watching movies, TV series, and really surrounding yourself with fictional stories, one can’t help but feel that maybe, perhaps, it is conceivable that a universe could really all work towards the goals of one character. The perspective of storytelling with an omnipotent narrator describing how every interaction leads to the ultimate end of the main character catching the bad guy and living happily ever after is very far-fetched because that’s never how the world works. People live, die, and the world moves on – even the best of us. If you want to consider an ultimate narrative, that’s another topic for another time. But I digress.

What I was trying to get to was that even if we could live out whole lives over and intend to make all the right choices, the world was not created to work in our favor and it isn’t ultimately going to bring you the most fulfilled life.

Moving on, it is often believed that we are capable of living out our lives near perfectly if only we had foresight. “Hindsight is 20/20” is a total lie. We really are incapable of living our lives well. Sure, you may not get that speeding ticket or you may get into the right school or you may marry Mr/Mrs Right, but those choices pale in comparison to choosing to always love, always sacrifice, always be humble, etc. And unless your foresight also is dead set on living your life for the kingdom to come, you aren’t going to be able to make the right decision when it comes to those choices even if you tried. Why does this matter when you are a trillionaire, married to Mr/Mrs Right, and the envy of the world? Because your life here is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity and to enter eternity, you either have to be perfect or your debt is paid some other way. Again, another post, another time.

The last idea transitions well into my final point: a vision for life that all works towards the good of you is a foolish pursuit. In fact, it is more than foolish, it is disgusting. Admittedly, I often thought about how I would live my life over again. I used to and still think that the universe was made for my good. I am a very selfish individual. I could spin the contemplation of an alternate universe where I made all the right decisions as a thought experiment that encourages me to know what I should be working on in the present reality, but the underlying purpose of the contemplation will usually be because of selfish pity.

Hey, I think my writing and thinking has cleared up a little bit. Writing is definitely one of the best forms of mental exercise. You should blog too! Or maybe just leave a comment ^____^

What have I been doing with my life? To an acquaintance, I have been having the most fruitful time of my life. I would have told you that I have been learning the meaning of life, seeing how the world works, and maturing at an astronomical rate because I am just that impressive. I would have put up this front that would tell those around me, “Augustine is a very successful individual with a very bright future.” But underneath the very thin veneer would be nothing but rotting particle board. Two things, actually three: One, yes, I have been dishonest and distant – I have not been very open vulnerable. Two, it’s interesting how no one is curious enough to scratch the surface of some “perfect” disguise. For me, when something/someone seems too good to be true, I love to poke and prod to find the kinks that are trying to be concealed. Three, I am rotting away…

For over a year, I have not written anything significant. For over two years, I have not finished reading a book. For over 3 years, I have not really picked up any new skill. For over 4 years, my handwriting, my guitar skills, my typing speed, my sleep schedule, my memorization of the Bible, my running time, my biking distance, my hacky sacking, tennis playing, rubix’s cubing, and juggling has not improved in the slightest.

I am basically my 18 year old self at 22. And when I was 18, I was no better than many 15 year olds… Imagine yourself at 15, when you still played your video games and watched your favorite TV series/anime, and you would be looking at a rough estimation of what I am today. It’s pretty pitiful because I don’t have any diagnosed retardation, I have just wasted much of the most productive years of my life. And for the last year or two, I have been stuck with this dream in mind: experiencing some life altering epiphany that would change the way that I viewed the world completely. I was waiting for the aroma of flowers, the flavor of food, and the pleasantness of music to reveal itself to me. I was waiting for social interactions to suddenly produce an unleashing of dopamine and for the enjoyment of fellowship to be enjoyable to me. Unfortunately, the opposite was closer to reality. Beauty now brings up very little emotions, eating is work, music – distracting, and social interactions have been one of the most life-sucking activities that I have to endure on a daily basis with a spike in those draining interactions maybe once or twice a week when I went to church to “fellowship.”

To console myself, I first started telling myself that everyone thought the way that I did. “I’m not unique! Everyone thinks like me.” I wanted to develop some point of commonality so that I could establish some sort of community of the heavy-laden. But then I inquired my brother about the way he thought and it was nothing like the way I thought. I was doing something wrong.

Objectively speaking, I was learning a lot, I was moving forward, I was moving up in life at a pretty decent pace. Relative to the majority of the world, I was/am experiencing a lot of success in life and have a lot more to look forward to than most people. What’s the problem?

The Paradox of Human’s Inability and Personal Responsibility

If pressed, I would have to admit that I live a pretty lavish lifestyle and have had more than I should be asking for. While twiddling my thumbs at work for a few minutes, I make more than what 1 billion people people in the world live off of for a day. I went to the top public university in the world, and I am not aware of making any mistakes so serious as to disqualify me for pursuing life as I want to live it. With the resources and opportunities that I have, I have taken on myself a task every person pursues, but no mere man is capable of accomplishing – fulfilling the meaning of life.

We are told by self help gurus that each one of as has a unique purpose that must be discovered and pursued. But the Bible says otherwise. Yes, we are unique, but our purpose is the same: to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Seems easy enough; seems like my skill set equips me to accomplish this task. Oh, the Bible says otherwise there as well. My ability? Worthless. Worthless because I don’t even pass the prerequisite requirement of being holy and blameless. This is where I fail.

I struggle with thinking myself worthless when I think myself pretty worthless most of the time. But when it counts, I still think that my efforts should be acknowledged. I find it hard to believe that there is any blessedness in being poor in spirit. It just doesn’t make sense in my mind – I don’t want to make sense of it: I don’t want to make peace with that concept.

And so I waited. I waited for this idea to just click. I waited for some other revelation. I waited for a moment in my life that I could anchor my life upon as the moment of enlightenment. All the while, I was actually acting in rebellion against the truth that I am convinced of. I knew from the beginning of this struggle that it was really a choice to live with the paradox and a choice to be obedient to that which I knew. But that wasn’t as glamorous as I wanted it to be. I didn’t want to choose to do the right thing. I wanted the right things to just happen to me.

After many detours, I come back to the conclusion realized at the beginning. There is no magic in growth; there need not be any epiphany. Faithfulness is about choosing to do the right thing over and over.

Please don’t come expecting anything… that way you aren’t disappointed and I don’t feel guilty.


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