Quick aside: Recently a friend of mine posted a picture created by Jordan Peterson. On this picture was a series of tips for life. Things that you should do to not only give life meaning but also how to go about living a meaningful life (two different things).
I decided to take these tips and break them down into a writing challenge. No set rules, just taking them line by line and seeing where they lead me. Some may be longer and some may be shorter — I’m not going to do much editing or spending time making them pretty.
This was the result.
One Quick Truth: Deep conversations matter.
My ex-girlfriend used to get on me for taking conversations too seriously. For trying to seek out depth when maybe there just wasn’t any. And while I realize that sometimes it is important to unplug and keep conversations light — I think there is also something to be said about those who cannot entertain deeply serious conversations.
And when I say “deep conversation” I’m not talking about those times, drunk with your friends, that you stare up at the sky and wonder aloud what is at the end of the universe.
Or, during an awkward first date, that the person across from you tries to open up about their dreams and aspirations. All in an attempt to forge some sort of connection.
I’m talking about the conversations that challenge you.
I’m talking about the conversations that hurt.
It’s a difficult argument — the one I’m about to make — because, as a species, we’ve evolved to avoid pain. Suffering is a bad thing and we’ve adapted to fight it or avoid it completely. But, for the sake of this imaginary writing challenge, bare with me for just a bit.
But first, a quote:
Famed Psychologist Carl Jung once said,
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Inside each of us is a series of dysfunctional hiccups. Things that hold us back and keep us where we are. For the overweight person, that may be an unhealthy relationship with food. For the girl frequently finding herself in relationships with abusive partners, that may be a sense of low self-worth.
Regardless of what the hiccups are — we all have them.
Which, I think, is also something that we all kind of “know” and accept as truth.
Unfortunately, it’s something we take about as seriously as the oft-heard comment, “We’re all going to die some day.” It’s become something we realize is a fact, but is so abstract and hard to grasp that we don’t actually invest much worth into it at all.
There is literally nothing more serious than our own life and death. Yet, how many of us actually live each day like it’s our last?
I know I don’t.
Why is that?
Well, in my opinion (and I’m not half the intellect that Carl Jung was), I think it has a lot to do with how fucking uncomfortable we would be if we truly embraced the fact that we were going to die.
How many days would that mean we’ve wasted away?
How much potential have we pissed down the drain?
How many things have we missed out on with no one to fault but ourselves?
At 26 years old, I’m by no means old, but I can’t even begin to count all the days that I spent getting absolutely nothing done. Days spent binge watching sub-par shows on Netflix, debating with talking dildos on Facebook, and wasting time just trying to get to a future date.
It gives me a bit of anxiety right now just thinking about it.
Which is exactly why it’s so important to stop and think about these things — to truly fucking think about them. Because amidst the abstractness and anxiousness are all the things we actually seek.
We all wish we were those go-getters who charge head first in pursuit of their goals and dreams. Yet, when it comes time to be ‘bout that action’, we quickly turn away before that sense of vulnerability ever sets in.
It’s way easier to swipe our debit card and how it doesn’t get declined than it is to accept that we have budget issues and stay on top of our bank account.
It’s much more comfortable to keep our bedroom door shut, for fear of someone seeing it a mess, than it is to accept that we’d rather live in chaos than clean our room.
It’s more comfortable diving head first into a bag of Cheetos or a carton of ice cream and eat our pain away than it is to admit that we spent last weekend crying about how no one finds us attractive.
We’ve all got problems.
And, while some people’s problems are bigger than others, we spend so much time ignoring our own issues that they become something that takes control of our entire life.
Our inability to be organized leads us to drop out of college and lose out on that dream job.
Our inability to turn away a piece of cake leads us to a life of obesity and disease.
Our inability to be responsible leads to a life of debt, poverty, and suffering.
And all those things?
They all lead to us dying unsatisfied and unhappy — or worse, they lead us to a death in which pretend like our lives we’re “good enough.”
Because that’s what we all grew up wanting to be… fucking good enough.
I think I went off on a tangent.
Let’s get back to the point.
At the heart of all these dysfunctions, the things holding us back from becoming who we want to be, are a series of uncomfortable conversations. Some of these conversations are ones that we need to have with other people. But, most of these seemingly unbearable discussions, are ones that we need to have with ourselves.
Whether it be us asking ourselves why we keep choosing food over our health OR why we keep choosing to be broke rather that set (and stick to) a budget.
Whatever it is — it’s a conversation that needs to be had.
And for those of us who refuse to have that conversation?
Well, those are the same people that will die unhappy.
But, death is a pretty abstract thing afterall,
So I suppose it’s nothing to worry about.