A reflection to yourself, to be read in the future:
You get an E-mail asking that you reflect on your summer.
This is a thing you do so often, you don’t actually know how to do it when it is formally
asked of you.
Like when someone asks you to pee in a cup at the doctor’s office. In any other
situation, it flows right out but when pressure implodes in the bathroom stall, you get
cold feet. The cup sits empty by the sink, mocking your poor performance.
You twist the question around your finger for a bit and look at it long enough that it starts
This summer, you have realized that you are a walking contradiction (you knew this
already but it’s only been solidified over the past few weeks).
Every time you find yourself drawing a conclusion, you come up with a convoluted
reason to believe that the polar opposite is also equally, if not more, true. Every time
you think you have whole-heartedly committed to an opinion, you begin dabbling with
what-if’s. You spend hours piecing occurrences together and attempting to make sense
of the world, but every time you seem to solidify meaning, the thoughts turn into Jello
and slip through your stubby fingers.
You can’t help it. You were born into indecision.
You sit in the back corner of your dad’s office polishing a barren resumé. Your grandpa
sits next to you scrolling through his E-mails. A bird hits the window. You laugh.
You love declarative statements that seem to carry the weight of the world in them. You
love drawing conclusions. But you love breaking those conclusions too.
So here are some of them, conclusions that have presented themselves spontaneously
and have turned into lessons you hope to start living by.
Disclaimer: the lessons are malleable, deceivingly solid and conclusive at first glance,
but always to be refuted with opposing and equally valid statements (as you do below).
Contradictory “lessons” from a contradictory person
on Doing and Being
1. a) It is important to be self-aware, but to be self-aware should not be the end
goal. It should be self-improvement, and this is a thing that can only happen
when you hold yourself accountable to your thoughts and aspirations. You have
to act upon your awareness and do something about it. It is only by doing that
you can instigate real change.
b) Too many people have mastered this art of doing, but have forgotten that
there is a beauty to simply being. We live for checklists. We live for tedious tasks. We
live for what is to come. In doing so we forget about preserving the integrity of the
present. I think we’ve forgotten that we can do this world justice by simply being one
with it. We don’t always have to constantly think about how how we can bend and mold
it to our advantage.
2. a) Living intentionally is important. Decisions should not be contingent on trivial
things. The way we act within the world should be a direct function of what we believe
and hold dearly. Intentionality is key and we should put a lot of thought into the things
b) Though it is important to be thoughtful, to live in a cloud of elusive, intangible ideas
doesn’t get you very far. You aren’t always going to love what you do. Sometimes the
choices and decisions you make aren’t a direct function of your desires. They are often
contingent on people and places and things and tangled circumstances that you can’t
always evade. It’s normal. We can decide how much weight we give to our tangled
circumstances, but we don’t always have all of the control.
3. a) Spontaneity is essential to living a deliberate, fulfilling life. It is important to keep
your routine flexible enough that you don’t find yourself drowning in it. You want to find
time for the good stuff.
b) You love to nudge against the system but it’s naive to think that a life can be lived
completely outside of the system. Routines exist for a reason. It’s how you develop
habits. And there is a beauty to routine because it makes serendipitous encounters all
the more meaningful.
It’s been a summer of recognizing that no streets are paved of gold. If you look close
enough, the places and people and ideas you once held with the highest esteem begin
revealing their cracks. This includes yourself. You are most definitely not paved of gold.
You are a walking contradiction of weak conclusions, of declarative statements ready to
be refuted and twisted and molded.
But hey, at least you’re reflecting.
Keep questioning the world and your place in it,