Commitment Issues Re: Life Philosophies
From early childhood through my adolescence (and in all honesty, into my adulthood as well), I had this idea that someday, somehow, I would figure all this out. Happiness and wisdom were always just outside my grasp, and I would rack my brain, searching ways to outsmart myself and achieve these fluid concepts that I obsessed over virtually all the time.
When I was 17, I left high school and enrolled in the local city college, and absurdly cliched as this whole situation was the first class I enrolled in was Philosophy 101. I recall walking out of the first class dazed, existentially exhausted, and feeling like I knew absolutely nothing–that this class–these mere two hours!–somehow poked a hole in my “bounty” of personal knowledge, and it was completely emptied by the end of the day.
You see, only in the past year had I begun to piece together a semblance of self and the confidence that comes with intimately knowing yourself. I tried on life philosophies as if they were the latest fashion trend, and I would toss them aside in favor of something more shiny and new.
An example of one of these philosophies I tried was “Honesty is the best policy.” I instantly received accurate feedback that I was being an asshole. I tried (and supremely failed at) “Saying yes to everything.” I ended up full of resentments and devoid of any energy for myself.
What I learned, I think, is that life is too complicated to sum up in platitudes that you can embroider on a pillow. Life (and remember: all of this is pure conjecture since I still have no idea what I’m doing here) gets increasingly more puzzling as I age, but experience helps me emotionally compensate for this confusion.
Charles M. Schulz, author of Peanuts and one of my favorite comic artists once said, “My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”
Maybe there’s something to that. Perhaps by overanalyzing minute details in our lives and creating narratives that don’t necessarily fit our life stories, we damage the ability to feel joy and appreciate the world in all of its majesty.