The Joy of Learning

I guess thus far into this paltry existence of mine, if there is one nugget of wisdom I would want to impart to anyone going through any phase of life, it would be this: develop the joy of learning.

Life is always going to be full of ups and downs, highs and lows, full of surprises and changes. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we are born, we will all experience this crazy thing called life. And there are times where there will be challenges, whether big or small; in these times we have to adapt and overcome or fail and hopefully learn from it.

And I’ve realised that life is all about learning and being open to new things and experiences. If you’re not open to learning, then you’re not open to life.

If you don’t learn, then you’re stagnant – you don’t improve, you don’t learn from your mistakes, you don’t grow and develop, you don’t expand your horizons.

If your entire world remains in a static field of suspended status quo, then I suppose you could be forgiven for not needing or attempting to learn and advance yourself or the knowledge pool of the world.

I imagine there are people who go through life growing physically, but not mentally or emotionally. People who pander to their base instincts their whole life without learning a single thing, leaving the world almost the same as they left it, zero contribution with a little waste. Seems like a big waste. But hey, as long as they were happy, right?

How does happiness weigh into the equation?

Are people who enjoy learning happy? Are happy people constantly learning? It’s not something easy to put into a statistic or graph.

Redefining the ‘American Dream’ for the Age of Automation ...

Maybe not that hard, but it’s still a stretch to derive happiness purely from income level. You could say that those who are constantly learning or better at learning excel in academia and therefore excel at life (make more money), as the graph suggests, but I think that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Firstly, let me put it out there that just because you enjoy learning doesn’t mean you’re good at it. And just because you’re good at learning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at applying whatever you’ve learned.

However, I would posit that those who enjoy learning or are good at learning tend to have a better outlook on life and a better chance at obtaining what it is they seek to achieve, simply because this attitude lends itself to curiosity and creativity, being open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

And if you’re not trying to achieve lofty goals, then at the very least you will have fun while you’re learning about this world and the things in this life. Why do I say that?

Because learning is the process of engaging and applying yourself to something. And if you develop a joy of learning, anything is possible!

You enjoy learning new languages so you can speak with your fellow human beings; you enjoy learning new recipes to spice up your meals; you enjoy learning new things about your friends and family so you get to know each other deeper and engage in more meaningful conversation (especially about the weather, oh boy!).

Learning can be as simple as picking up a new piece of trivia: did you know that Geoff the Robot on the Late Late show with Craig Ferguson was designed and built by Grant Imahara?

Grant Imahara Panel at Supanova 2014 – Capsule Computers
RIP Mr. Imahara

Think of it this way: learning is the avenue by which you perceive the world around you. You see with your eyes and hear with your ears, but you learn with all your senses. If you enjoy learning things, you will experience things in new and wonderful ways. Well, sometimes they may end up being dull or downright unpleasant, but at least now you know!

So yes, there is a risk to learning – you may uncover undesirable knowledge, knowledge that will haunt you until the day you die. But in the end, at least you can rest peacefully knowing that you knew the truth.

The X-Files - X-Files Wiki - David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

My point is, no matter your lot in life, where you’re at or what you do, learn to enjoy the learning process. Always be open to learning new things, and relish the journey of learning. Never be afraid to ask or to try something just because you think you’ll look stupid.

Life is too short for that.

Learn first, ask more questions later.

Being Eccentric

I guess most people would describe me with the word “eccentric”. Perhaps “quirky” if they were trying to be nice. People try to be nice a lot, at least to your face.

Top 10 Eccentric Movie Characters - YouTube

So I imagine the terms “eccentric” and “crazy” are thrown around a lot when I’m beyond earshot. I’m writing this not because I’m at all fazed or bothered by what other people think, but more to explore the notion of eccentricity.

What is the definition of being “eccentric”?

Departing from a recognized, conventional, or established norm or pattern.

So basically being a deviant, an outlier, someone who doesn’t conform to the norm, who doesn’t fit in or get along.

Strange, weird, bizarre, deviant, erratic, peculiar. Here are a few other fun terms that tie into the eccentric status.

There are many facets to being an eccentric. It’s like depression – you have to tick a few of the boxes to be a confirmed eccentric. Thankfully, being depressed isn’t one of them, although that is commonly attributed to eccentricity.

So what are the steps to being labelled eccentric?

  1. Keeping to yourself; enjoying your own company
  2. Acting the way you like, usually in an anti-social manner
  3. Liking the natural state of things
  4. Having an atypical belief system
  5. Doing weird activities (but within the legal system, for the most part)

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Numero Uno: Eccentrics Keep To Themselves

Why? Because it’s easier.

Life is simpler when you don’t have to accommodate others, when you can do things you want, when you want, the way you want it.

People who like to go off on their own and do their own thing are thought to be a little off, right? Off with the fairies, they say. Hiking through the lonely hills, drifting upon a solitary sea.

But is there a problem with enjoying your own space, having a dose of me-time?

Yes, humans are social creatures and no man is an island and all that, but that doesn’t mean you need to be surrounded by yammering yahoos all day long.

The extremes are the hermits, those who shun the company of fellow human beings and retreat to nature, far from the madding crowd. Perhaps you would go a little loopy being in solitary confinement all by yourself. But then again, you have the company of nature and her flora and fauna. Fresh air does wonders to you, you know?

So in short, an eccentric person would tend to be a lone ranger, a singularity, an isolated entity, that curious person who would rather read a book or take a walk than browse Netflix or sip cocktails at parties.

Funnily enough, considering his name is Solo, Han was rarely ever alone.

Point the Second: Anti-social Actions

People expect those labelled as eccentric to act out in certain ways, often in crude or brutish ways, with snappy temperaments and lengthy lectures about irrelevant things.

I don’t think those people are eccentric, they’re just ill-mannered.

Eccentric people will push other people away, or keep them at arm’s length (actually that’s barely social distancing – definitely several arm lengths). This is because of point the first – eccentric people value their own space and time and want to keep it sacred.

And that means prioritising it over other things, like other people or activities that they feel are meaningless.

That indicates that eccentric people have a mind of their own. They are not bound by social obligation, not influenced by peer pressure, not swayed by public opinion, not brainwashed by herd mentality. They are not afraid to have their own thoughts, and sometimes not afraid to express them as they see fit.

Eccentric people act however they like, which sounds like a bad thing. I’m imagining poo flinging and public music making. However if no one is getting hurt or inconvenienced, I see no harm in letting eccentric people have their own way.

Eccentric people will do what they like, when they like, how they like. And the dangerous part is they don’t care what other people think. They’ll walk their dog in the middle of the night; they’ll talk to themselves out loud and makes amusing (at least to them) sounds.

The eccentric do things their way, which society regards as bad, because they are not team players. They don’t fit into the hierarchical work structure; they do their jobs a funny way. And yes, they’re not the best at communication or at adhering to society’s rules and regulations.

They’re the rebels, the mavericks, the loose cannons. The eccentric won’t rule the earth, and they certainly won’t stop anyone who is gearing to try.

第三 : Natural State of Mind

Progress is about conquering and going beyond the natural state of things, right? So returning to nature is bad; it is a step backwards and is undesirable.

And so we slave our days away to pave over this dirty, uncomfortable natural world. We build glass houses and gaudy rocket ships to pierce the heavens and pollute the earth, our home and place of birth and living.

The eccentric tend to gravitate toward nature and a simpler way of doing things, a tranquil uncomplicated way of living. Eccentric folk don’t want to participate in the rat race – they’ll work, but only as a means to an end.

Eccentric folk tend to shy away from socialising, as they are content with their existing company, even if it’s largely their own. They avoid the “vulgar masses”, the mindless herds of sheep and cattle suffering from FOMO.

Nature is the perfect example of contentment. Nature does not need to strive – it grows and it thrives, it withers and it dies. The cycle repeats, and yet the pattern is always unique, always changing and adapting, while always staying the same.

Being at one with nature and going back to your roots is eccentric; it is only something monks and hippies do. Environmentalists lobby for a cleaner, greener earth, but they just want to make sure their pristine mansion doesn’t sink because some dipshit clogged the sewers with their plastic waste. They all want to care for the cute turtle and otter, but a lot of it feels like attention-grabbing.

Eccentric people don’t care for that – they just feel nature has all the best things to offer, and offers it without having to sign up and download the latest app or investing some ridiculous amount of money every month.

Those eccentric folk like tending to animals and plants and romping through the jungle and over the hills. And the best part is all of this can be done without even saying a word. Perhaps that’s the appeal of pets (although we talk to them all the same).

As mentioned, eccentrics appear to be weaker in communication, but that’s just because they appreciate the power of the spoken word, and they treasure silence.

Is silence the natural state? Mother nature is a noisy bitch, but her cries and her vibrations resonate within us. They are a part of us, like purring is a part of a household cat. They are instinctive noises, guttural earthen sounds, that our brain processes differently from speech.

And so eccentric people glide back to their roots, back to nature or as close as they can get. They go out in search of their homeland, where they belong. They go with the flow, they’re in no rush.

Nombor Empat: Losing Your Religion

Having an atypical belief system isn’t just about the afterlife and top tier principles; it permeates into every aspect of life.

Eccentric people believe in…well, whatever they want to believe in. Not what society says they should believe. Or it might be their own interpretation of whatever the prevailing belief system is.

Those eccentric folk believe that life is what you make of it, and so they give up subscribing to the American Dream and create their own dreams. They try new and different things, they’re open to new experiences, although they don’t seem to be hard up about trying everything under the sun. They don’t need to.

Having your own belief system means you’re not measured on the same scale as everyone else. At least from a societal ranking perspective. And so those eccentric folks don’t compare as much, don’t go around judging other people. They live life a lot easier and they accept things quicker and move on, going with the flow.

Of course having your own belief system means you don’t congregate with all the others and perform the same rituals as all the others, which makes you a bit of an outcast. But that doesn’t mean you don’t respect the other belief systems, or incorporate their principles into your own playbook.

Eccentric people don’t necessarily shun others and their belief structures; they just pick and choose what they deem worthy, and discard the rest. They think for themselves and form their own theories and values from their knowledge and experiences.

Religion tells you what to think and what to believe; eccentric people make up what they want to believe. Hell, a lot of these religions were started by so-called “eccentric” people.

I mean, if you met the Prophet Mohamad or Jesus on the streets, you might find the way they act and the things they say more than a little bizarre, right? Is it because they spoke in riddles and stories, or were they stark raving mad? They appeared to have their wits (and followers) about them, so their countenance and values (as well as their marketing) were certainly on point. I mean, so many people ended up liking what they said, so they must have had some merit, right? Right?

다섯 번째 : Hare-brained Hobbies

Finally, those labelled as eccentric tend to partake in strange pastimes and irregular relaxations. Their idea of fun seems a little skewed.

These activities tend to be lesser known hobbies, involving smaller groups of people. Yes, I suppose Magic: the Gathering makes the cut, but that one is really just a pay-to-win ever-expanding card game. It’s kind of a cult.

Eccentric people tend to delve into activities that meet the previous four criteria: they can do it alone or in small groups, it’s not complicated and they can do it the way they like, or whatever the natural way of doing it is, and they don’t need to proselytise in the process!

I mean, by and large these activities aren’t necessarily truly deviant; would you consider Christian an eccentric person? Perhaps eccentricity does lend itself to certain fetishes, but for the most part I feel the eccentric label is reserved for a different type of wacky crowd. Let’s keep BDSM locked up in a cage, yeah?

So what are examples of eccentric activities?

Well, there’s no exhaustive list, but generally things that most people would find strange or disturbing or downright distasteful.

Admiring bugs and plants? Running ultra-marathons? Cribbage?

Drawing stickmen? Eating uncooked and unseasoned vegetables? Travelling to the frigid wastelands of the tallest parts of the world?

Playing with stray cats and dogs? Volunteering at a soup kitchen? Learning axe throwing?

Woodworking? Picking seashells on the beach? Listening to Vegetarian Grindcore Metal?

Hint: I may or may not partake in some of these activities. I’m not saying which ones though.

Essentially, any activity that doesn’t conform with society’s idea of a normal, conventional hobby is passed off as eccentric. People fear what they don’t know and can’t understand, and eccentric people are a big part of that.

So now that we have a rough idea of what classifies as eccentric, where do you fall on the scale?

So what do you do if you tick all these boxes?

Keep on living, my friend, keep on living to the fullest.

To be fair, if you were truly eccentric, you wouldn’t be taking anyone else’s advice anyway. But here’s hoping this little essay made you think a little more, and maybe it brightened your day (or night, for those nocturnal eccentrics out there) knowing that there are others out there like you, fellow eccentrics.

Stay eccentric, my friend, and never change. Unless you want to change. Then do whatever you like, weirdo.

Personally, I’ve always been a little eccentric (if I do say so myself). I acknowledge it’s probably not an attractive quality and might hinder me from getting that promotion or that luscious mate, but as long as I have my freedom I couldn’t care less.

My belief is that as long as you are truly happy and content, and nobody is getting harmed to maintain that status quo, then why should you change? Certainly not for the approval of others, or for some short term gain. We eccentrics see the bigger picture, we plan for the long term, while on the other hand we don’t care about the future and don’t let what tomorrow holds worry us. Like a wise man once said:

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

So don’t worry, be happy.

And now I’ve got that blasted song stuck in my head. Wonderful.

Of Rainy Early Mornings

Have you ever had to wake up super early in the morning, before the crack of dawn for an outdoor activity? And it’s pouring down outside?

Or just waking up to be greeted by rain, and having the luxury of being able to go back to sleep?

Isn’t it simply the best feeling in the world?

Early morning showers are the best!

I’m sure those dirty, dirty pluviophiles will dig this.

So this morning I was intending to wake up nice and early to go for a cool bike ride, but I woke before my alarm to the familiar tapping on my window. The repeated tapping of big, fat raindrops committing suicide upon my window.

And yes, I went back to sleep.

Change Someone’s World

I once read a quote about how helping one person may not change the world, but it would change the world for that one person.

And I thought: if I could change one person – just one person’s world for the better, then isn’t that something worth doing?

I realise these silly digital squiggles may never have much of an impact on this world, regardless of how popular they become. But if they can impact one person’s world, to even brighten their day just a little bit, then I’ve done something right, done something worthwhile.

And that is what keeps me going.

I’m not trying to change the world, just change someone’s world for the better.

Plus I enjoy doodling, so that helps.

What keeps you going?

Life Is A Sidequest

I imagine the parallel of reality and video game life is nothing new, most likely hackneyed. To be fair, our creations tend to mimic our inspiration and our every-day reality. And this means our games and entertainment reflect on our real world status – that our entire life and existence is just one sidequest after another.

Think about it – what do you do every day, day after day? Wake up, check your quest statuses, fill up on energy, finish some simple sidequests, like make coffee, brush your teeth and make the bed. Then you start work on some of the longer sidequests, like gain skills, earn money, help NPCs (those other people that just stand around all day waiting to talk).

Our hobbies are a whole subcategory of sidequests, designed to distract us from the main quest. Oh, there’s a main quest? What is it?

Not dying, I suppose.

You spend your whole life gaining EXP and levelling up skills and traits, so in the end you can…what? Make little you’s and give them the tools and guidance they need to not die in the coming Apocalypse?

We speak of progress, the progress of the human race. Reaching the stars and distant planets, so we can…what? Mine them for fish and gold and resources to continue exploring more places to multiply and pillage? What next?

Each sidequest is a means to gain or unlock another sidequest. We earn money completing sidequests so we can unlock new equipment or fast travel to different places.

Sure, we have fun and enjoy the journey. Some sidequests are definitely more fun than others. And each day some sidequests are just repeats of slaying the same rats and collecting the same berries over and over again.

Sure, each day is different from the past, although some may feel like someone hit the reset button and Groundhog Day-ed you. And so the sidequests change, ever so slightly.

Each day we have a list of sidequests, a mission to complete. If we don’t have a list of sidequests, or don’t manage to complete any, we call it “unproductive”.

When we get sick, when we get depressed, our sidequests get put on hold, to make way for easier, simpler sidequests. Just surviving, slowly healing. Breathing becomes a sidequest.

And so as we click and swipe away on our devices, sending electrical signals through conduits to databases of steel and electricity, what are we achieving?

Completing more sidequests, even faster than ever before. Getting that dose of dopamine, that hint of happiness, just by looking down and touching a piece of glass.

And so we do it more – sidequests on our device. We do sidequests with our friends, with anonymous people online. We make digital transactions, exchange numbers, increase virtual stats, trade bits and bytes.

Whatever makes us happy.

So at the end of it, we don’t die.

Is there meaning in our sidequests? What do these sidequests achieve? What do they add up to?

What is our main quest?

Save the princess? Prevent Doomsday? Kill the evil dictator? Get the highest score in the world?

We live in a world where we have a new wave of sidequests to distract us constantly, right in the palm of our hands. Is it better or worse than it used to be? Who can say?

At the end of the day, we’re just doing what our ancestors did, day after day – complete sidequests to not die.

Is that a depressing thought? Or a comforting one?

Do we keep going through the sidequest loop day after day, distracting ourselves with one sidequest after another, because we know that if we complete the main quest, the game will end?

If we complete our main quest, the story is over, our meaning for existence is gone, the credits roll.

Or will it signify the start of another adventure, a whole new main quest? Maybe that thought is even scarier and daunting.

If all we ever do can be summarised in our stat page, would we be happy with what we see?

Your Lifetime Stats

  • Rats killed: 35
  • Roaches killed: 128
  • Video games completed: 46
  • Distance travelled: 11,578 km
  • NPCs interacted: 589
  • Sidequests completed: 2,195

If life were but a game, what stats would you be interested to see?

Hopefully your life’s sidequests add up to something significant, something worthy of a video game.

Maybe you’ve even discovered your main quest. If so, stop distracting yourself with sidequests and go complete that main quest. After you’ve levelled up enough from the sidequests, of course.

Love & Stuck Home Syndrome

Now with almost the whole world suffering from some form of Stuck Home Syndrome, it’s only a matter of time before the drama and the fanfics start to blossom. Once the fear of coughing and contagion wear thin, all that’s left is the other people stuck in the same building as you. All that’s left is love.

Or just a mutual disdain for your sloppy and uncultured roommates or neighbours, those loud and slovenly people across the wall who drag their chairs and slam their doors.

Almost makes me want to write a poem about it. Maybe even some fanfic – oh dear, the Stuck Home Syndrome really is taking effect. Fanfic, ew.

But at the end, isn’t that one of the few things keeping us going? Love? Not necessarily for another human being, but a hope that during this containment period, or perhaps after, that something magical is waiting, something wonderful is coming on the other side.

We all need that something to keep us going, keep us sane until the end.

I mean, think about it – a whole bunch of people locked up together in a house or stuck together in a compound. This is basically a season of Big Brother, with end-of-the-world vibes.

Things are bound to be said, tensions are bound to flare and heat up. People start to go mad with love or hate or actual insanity.

So…maybe go talk to that neighbour you’ve seen in the elevator or passing by in the corridor. If it works out, then:

Image result for hulk i see this as an absolute win

If not, then…you can just lock yourself in your room/apartment/basement and mope about it until we’re released like mad bunnies into the wild.

At the very least, it’ll make for a good story.

I bet someone’s already writing a book titled “Stuck Home Syndrome”.

What story would you write?

Here Comes The Push

I guess I’ve always been one to push the limits.

I used to push to see how much I could get away with, push others around to get a reaction. Then I realised the only real person I needed to push was myself.

And so I pushed myself, pushed myself to get out there, to try new things, to push myself out of my comfort zone. Push myself to see how far I could reach, how much I could take, how low I could go. As a wise man said, what a shame it would be for a man to go his whole life without knowing the true limits of his strength and beauty that he could have achieved.

But I never would have thought I’d be pushed this far, to be stretched so thin, to be so worn out and dejected. And yet I am thankful for the experience, thankful that I endured and survived and have come out of it stronger and wiser.

Of course it wasn’t without scars. Metaphysical scars, perhaps. But these too shall pass.

And what is is you favourite tea?

Responsibility.

I have to take responsibility for my actions and the consequences, and learn from my mistakes. Things were said and done, some outside my control, but the damage was done nonetheless. Things were missed, people were unhappy. However, these too shall pass.

There were many sleepless nights, constantly pondering what should be done, what could have been done. And leading up to it, there were many things done, a frantic flurry and fiery fusion leading up to the critical mass.

I was tried and tested and pushed to my limits, meeting the demands of others, trying to please others. And through it all I learned and rediscovered that true lasting happiness comes from within.

Yes, there were setbacks and last minute madness that could have been avoided with a little better planning, but I cherished the experience, the wild ride and rollercoaster of emotions.

And yes, in spite of the fatigue and the pain and the physical and mental exhaustion, I am thankful to have gone through it all. I am taking the good with the bad, and holding on to those that made me a better person, that made me feel better and be better. And the bad…it helped me to remember and to cherish the good.

And I would be remiss if I said there wasn’t anger and rage and gnashing of teeth (but mostly a figure of speech). However, I bear no resentment or hate, no lingering lust for revenge or to see others fall. Just a sense of relief and gentle sadness that accompanies an eventful period of time spent in good company.

As life goes, seasons change and things move on. I will not be left behind. The good that I have taken with me will bear fruit, perhaps not now, but someday. There will come a day when I will prove that I can do it, that I have what it takes, that nothing can stop me. And I will have done it not to spite others, or to win anyone over, but to prove it to myself that it will all worthwhile. The sacrifices were all worth it.

Wait, that’s not a real tea!

Audacity – to take a leap of faith, to take that step outside, to not be afraid to fall. To go where you’ve never been before, to feel what you’ve never ever felt, to push yourself to limits you never knew you had.

It has been a good year, and I look forward to many more interesting ones, inshallah. These scars I shall carry and cherish, but they will not weigh me down, they will not stop me from soaring. It matters not if others no longer have faith in me, as long as I have faith in myself.

And no, I’m not going to bloody jump off a building. At least not without a flying fox suit.

Hm…maybe it’s time I give one of those a try.

How Do You React When You Feel The Pain Inside?

At some point in our lives, we will inevitably feel pain. The exterior pain will linger for a time, but it is easier to pinpoint and much easier to alleviate. The pain on the inside, on the other hand, is not so simple.

What do you do when you feel pain inside?

Do you curl up and sleep your woes away? Do you gorge yourself on the finest cuisine (or whatever is readily available)? Do you sing out a sad tune?

However you deal with pain, remember – you are not alone.

The Study of A Lifetime

One cannot deny the power of education, but it is unfortunate that many spend a better part of their youth and prime in training, endlessly learning and honing themselves so they can spend what’s left of it catching up with the system and picking up the essential skills of life. And by that time, they wake up and their strength is fading and their hair is graying and they can’t help but feel like life has just been one big blur, one long difficult ride, one slow step at a time.

Many try for the big win, the one great gain that will set them up for life, and many fall short, disappointed and disheartened. Some keep trying, some give up, and some eventually get to a place where they are comfortable and happy, ready to repeat the cycle anew.

And so we continue to study for our lifetime, a life of learning and of longing for something more, never fully satisfied, always something new. Why do we spend most of our life learning how to live?

How are your life studies coming along?

@samwiseshj

Someone Amazing

Once in your life (or perhaps twice, if you are fortunate) you will meet someone amazing, someone who will make you nervous, someone who will shock you and surprise you, someone who will turn your world upside down, who will challenge your world view and share your world. Who will make you see things from a new perspective, make you realise there are so many other beautiful things out in the world.

You will meet someone who will make your heart flutter, your brain freeze, who will make you want to sing out loud, will make you see the music, and hear the colours of the rainbow. Someone who will laugh at you and with you, who will tell it to you like it is, who isn’t afraid to take your shit (no, not literally, ew). Someone who gives a damn about you and who you are, who you really are.

And suddenly, you’re not alone anymore. Your time is no longer just your own. You are swept up in a grand adventure, a wild journey drifting through time and space. For once, your life has a sparkling new direction, you have found a new muse, a new joy; your very being has renewed meaning, your life has a new purpose. You may not know what exactly it is, but you know it will never be the same again.

And you know deep down, somehow, that this, all this, will come to an end.

Not the feelings and fanciful experiences that you had, the conversations and chagrin that you shared. The little moments and memories you had together. Those quiet intervals between adventures where you could just be, where you were comfortable knowing there was someone else there who wasn’t trying to steal your shit or cause you harm. The cozy feeling in your inner being of warmth and contentment. No, not those. Those memories will haunt you forever.

There will come a time when your togetherness will cease, when you will have to be apart. Whether it be long or short, voluntary or not by choice, one thing will remain the same: the pain.

And yes, even the pain will end. Eventually, someday. And everything will be alright.

Yes, everything will be alright. Your lips quiver and your chest falls away in slow motion, like a cold rock spiraling downward toward the void, the all-embracing darkness. As you come to accept the inevitable future, a future now devoid of purpose, of joy, of hope, of warmth, you can’t help but wonder – what the fuck were they thinking when they wrote those fucking fairy tales?

Those lies built up over generations of propaganda and brain washing, that there is a happy ending, that there is a hope of redemption, a hope of peace and retribution. A hope that happiness can last for a lifetime. That there is hope. Lies.

Human existence is messy and convoluted and disappointing. It is a world full of rejection and indifference and hate. It is pain.

And you cling to the pain, the fleeting flashes of emotions that you find in your bleak existence, living on with the hope in your heart. The hope of impending doom. The hope that maybe you will be reunited with those who have left, those who have gone from your life, even if it is for that brief split second before your soul leaves your body.

And in your despair you recall those fleeting feelings, those moments when you glimpsed happiness. At least you had that, no matter how short-lived. And you will always have that, those happy memories and bittersweet moments of peace and serenity without a care in the world.

And that is why you must soldier on.

Because these are but feelings and thoughts. Like people, they will come and go. Life is unfair, life will have its ups and downs. You will not always be happy, and you will not always be sad, and you may no longer be that innocent, carefree, shiny-eyed little rascal, but what you are now is a fighter. What you now have is a will to go on, a will to live and breathe and take what this world has to give and roll with the punches.

As cliched as it sounds: what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Your belief in yourself becomes stronger; your belief in better days becomes stronger. Pain makes you stronger.

You begin to realise that at the end of it all, everything will be alright. And even if it isn’t alright, who’s going to be around to care?

And perhaps there is the hope that one day, you will meet someone amazing, someone who will make you nervous again. Maybe it will be that same someone. Maybe it won’t. But it matters not, because you will be alright. Because you are that amazing someone.