How to live
A simple question, with seemingly complicated answers, depending on the context.
I think the problem with me, is that I am too inquisitive. Especially towards myself. I am constantly questioning, what is the right way to live? How would I live a life full of quality and meaning? I struggle to be responsible to myself while trying to be responsible to others.
If I simply focused on being a great designer, perhaps I would be in a very different place right now. Some people have very narrow focus on their lives, they just want to be great at their work. I used to think that was my focus, until I imagined myself to be Jason Santa Maria and realised that wouldn't make me a lot happier.
I love my work, still. I just don't love it enough for it to motivate the direction of my life. If I cannot be the designer that impacts millions of people like those amazing Facebook/Twitter designers, perhaps I am better off being the designer that makes small business owners proud of their websites and products.
I believe in the theory (Malcolm Gladwell) that in order to be truly great at something, you need to invest 10,000 hours of your life. For now, I just cannot see myself sitting at my desk for 20 hours in a day. Perhaps that *are* people who work 4 hours a day and still make great stuff. Quality over quantity, isn't it?
Last week, one particular morning, I woke up feeling totally detached from the world. I suddenly felt really fatigued and wondered about life (yup, I do that really frequently). I believe in the spiritual perspective that we live to learn certain lessons. The aim is to progress so much that you rejoin the Source, the Source lives, learns and evolves through us. I'm putting this really simplistically because this is going to take thousands of words to explain. The gist is, I found myself asking, what if I am not interested in being part of the evolutionary process, whether scientifically or spiritually? If I am not motivated by money or love, neither am I motivated by rewards (spiritual progress/heaven) or punishments (bad karma/hell), then what is it in there for me to live?
It was very disturbing, this was not triggered by any particularly depressive episode. I wasn't sad. I just didn't care whether I was happy or sad. I think that's worse.
We have free will, so it seems. But the extent of this free will doesn't extend to allowing you to choose whether you want to exist or not. You can choose how you want to live, but you cannot choose whether you want to exist. For that matter, I am writing from the spiritual perspective of us having souls and multiple lifetimes.
For that day, I wanted to be nothing. I wondered if I could be nothing. This is a level that is more complex than suicide I guess. When you kill yourself, you end this life. But is there a way to kill yourself eternally?
I find the concept of existing eternally, whether surrounded by happiness or not, to be strangely claustrophobic.
Well, I woke up the next day and reminded myself that whether I like existing or not, it doesn't change the fact that I have bills to pay. If I didn't have any loved ones perhaps I could go and contemplate on my life living in a cave, but I do have people to answer to. Will I be able to live for myself one day? Maybe living for myself is that best way to live for others. I dare not take that step yet (no I don't mean killing myself but to make decisions outside the influence of anybody).
I convinced myself to put aside all my questions for now, but I know it will be something that will never go away. It has been there since the start of my life, at least for this one.
I think we all define our own meanings of life and I have no idea what is mine. The whole "live to experience" concept doesn't quite do it for me anymore. Perhaps I could find my true meaning of life if I accept that perhaps there's none.
So I no longer want to kill myself unlike my earlier angrier years. If I don't have a choice whether I can exist or not, and if I have to contemplate repeating my life lessons if I choose to end this one prematurely, then it is just pointless to end it isn't it? It is enough being trapped in an evolutionary cycle, much less to mention a vicious one.
But there have been countless moments that I truly *feel* like I don't want to live because I don't see the point except to exist in order not to create pain for others. Is this still considered having suicidal tendencies?
I don't have an definite answer. In some strange ways feeling like this allows me to feel alive. It is like having some chronic disease. It can be crippling yet strangely liberating depending on how you see it.
Today on Quora, I took the step out to follow "Suicide" as a topic. I don't know how my clients and associates would see me as a person "who was constantly suicidal in her earlier years" but I reckon being honest is the best way I want to live, for now. I don't know if my friends truly know this part of me.
I only know it means a lot to be able to connect to people like me. To provide that sort of empathy and perspective that the others can't and won't understand. You may not be able to comprehend why I struggle to live, but I celebrate the fact that I can share a virtual shoulder with millions of people like me.
I can imagine there are tons of people who feel the same way but they are afraid to be open about it. I cannot emphasize enough how meaningful it was for me to read honest accounts of other people coping with their lives, feelings and failures.
Our lives are being negatively influenced by deceit. Deceit by governments, by financial institutions, sometimes unintentionally by loved ones. We're brought up to believe in values we shouldn't. Many of us are brought up to discriminate, to look down on others, to dislike people because they're different, to chase material possessions.
If I have no idea what I want to do with my life, then at the very least I know I definitely want to be as honest as possible.