My precious Utopian,
It thrills me to notice how our bond has only grown stronger over these past few years. Tending to our friendship, which has never regressed from that honest, kind, selfless, smart and harmless connection into a bitter, predictable, selfish and dull partnership, has been a pleasure. We have been able to distinguish quality from quantity. For which I am grateful. Most humans are incapable of knowing 150 people intimately, give or take a few souls. So, I am content that we’re not out to collect friends like stamps. You and I enjoy the deeper meaning and intimacy of our conversations. We are apt to invest more in true friendship and to reject the overwhelming coercion used by our society, which wants us to replace our tête-à-têtes by a mere connection.
That being said I must share these few words with you, my comrade. I crave your advice. Recently I have been told that maybe I shouldn’t be trying so hard. These heartfelt words gently showered down upon my bare soul. Immediately after I had explained how I have been trying to get my life on a set of train tracks that will lead me to the terminus of my choosing.
This recommendation made me question my very own actions and the choices I have made up until this very day. So I ask you, my dear friend, how would you define “trying too hard”? Plenty of sayings explain how hard work and patience are the key ingredients for a good life:
- Great things take time.
- Patience is a virtue.
- Have patience; Everything is difficult before it’s easy.
- Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
- The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.
- Hard work never killed anyone.
- Chasing dreams is damn hard work.
I could easily type out a decent paragraph loaded with these clichés while fighting off that coldblooded Sandman, but I’d like to elaborate a bit more before dawn is breaking. Where would you situate trying? Somewhere between patience and hard work? Would you prioritize trying differently than you would line up working or patience? Long-suffering or patience is an extensive and patient endurance, as of wrong or provocation. To try is defined as to make an effort, to do or accomplish something. To work is the physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something. As these definitions are taking my thoughts by force, a quote from one of my idols pops up into my confused and unobtrusive mind, “do or do not, there is no try.”
Subsequently, my common sense dictates me to interpret the advice of above as follows: “Maybe you shouldn’t be working so hard.” This interpretation is a notion that makes sense to me. My younger self would have detested such a preposterous idea. I can’t blame him. He was raised with the knowledge that hard work would be rewarded in the end. After all, we do need to provide for ourselves and our families. Supporting our loved ones is a noble thing to do. Nevertheless, like any elephant, killer whale, or hamster on this planet, I tend to believe that we should relax more often. We need to enjoy the natural pace of life itself. Savor the beautiful moments that come our way. Something that may appear impossible with the rapid pace of our lives in this all-consuming society. Only a rat can win the rat race, and in the end, that rodent is no different than it was at the start of this ingenious contest. Is it wrong for me not wanting to compete as an inconspicuous rat?
What I am trying to explain is that I seem incapable of finding my place among the traditional working class heroes. The naive daydreamer in me believes that there are far better things ahead of me than any I’ve left behind on my life’s path. I don’t detest the traditional way of living and I do acknowledge that, without a set form of hierarchy, chaos would infect our world rapidly. I just don’t feel the need to measure myself individually through numerous personal achievements such as a possible career, an unblemished self-image, or wealth. I prefer to hold on to my social and familial connections. Sacrificing the desirable self-actualization epitome that has been presented and sanctioned by our “holy” society.
One way or another we all fit in a particular niche. It’s only natural. I get that. When observing certain herds, troops, flocks, swarms, schools or any other animal collective you’ll naturally come to that conclusion. I don’t need to edit who I am. I don’t need to invest hours on end building my profile, defining myself through technology, obsessing with a continual personal promotion. I just need to trust my instincts, my inner desires, passions, genuine friendships, and familial connections in order to define who I am and what niche I belong to. Regardless of what the masses believe.
A thought-provoking Latin proverb, which I’ve got on me at all times, feeds this inner struggle. “Ignorante portum nullus ventus secundus”, if you don’t know to which harbor to sail, no wind is favorable. This aphorism is burnt on my retina and craftily chiseled into my brain. One can rob me of my silver and my gold, but I’ll be damned to let anyone rob me of my soul as I try to set sail towards my auspicious harbor. I don’t want to toil behind a desk during my 9 to 5. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid of working hard and I don’t consider myself to be a lazy hobbit. I just don’t believe that chasing a career as a well-paid CEO, banker, lawyer or engineer within a hierarchical structure that focuses on individual well-being instead of collective well-being is right for me. Working in such a system just makes me lose my appetite for life. I want to be of value to our hive. It’s commendable to contribute, but I have discovered that my current routine isn’t working for me any longer. Is it trying too hard when I want to go left since nothing seems right?
I just want to be happy. I want to live and experience freedom for the rest of my life. Not just during the few days I’m allowed to break away from my accustomed routine. There comes a time in every human’s life where they need to change their place at this gigantic universal table, while playing this odd game called “life.” It’s one of those laws of nature that will never change. An untouchable reality. Similar to how love will always transform into sorrow at a certain point during our lifespan. My time has come. I need to stand up, and start looking for a new seat. Preferably at a different table than the one I am currently sitting behind. Can this desire to switch seats be interpreted as trying too hard?
One of my heroes did state it all quite sharply “Insanity is doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results.” With this in mind, I realize that I want change. I will need to work hard and try hard to navigate my ship in the right direction. I can not amend the direction of the winds, but I can adjust my sails. I will have to play the hand that I have been dealt and be courageous enough to face the challenges head-on (theoretically, this approach should build character). Now contrary to what many may think, after reading these words, I am looking for a way through instead of an easy way out. I understand like no other that my choices from here on out will affect many more individuals than just myself.
I have no idea where I’m running too, but that is just part of the fun of living your life. I am aware that I only have one life to live. With my current consciousness, I intend to live it well. I want to chase my star! The Sandman is knocking on my door quite convincingly, so I’ll close off.
Space Utopian (your alter ego)