The path that was
Oh I never had very high expectations of what would become of my life. I was taught from the moment I can remember that this life was just a transient state, “Don’t invest too much in this life, prepare for the one to come!” or “‘The Truth’ [JW speak for the JW religion] isn’t a religion, it’s a way of life.” or “Satan roves about like a roaring lion waiting to devour…” Constant quotes, pithy phrases and one-liners were thrown at me. Most of them with the outward intention of bolstering my faith but always with a more sinister message of spending even more time focusing on religion and sparing no time for other activities.
I’ll probably go into a lot more detail on my upbringing in a future post, but for now the focus is on my current state of mind.
From when I was very young I had a love of science and technology. I got to read a lot but always through the blind eyes of faith. I read in awe books about our amazing planet and life on it, yet managed to ignore any reference to evolution (and anything else that went against my “truth”) and in doing so feel proud of myself that I had the right answer, all the scientists were wrong. They were just too smart to see the simplistic beauty that was a divine creator, if only they would pick up their bibles. Ugh, I sucked.
It took an exceptionally long time to clear out everything that had been forced into my mind from years of spoon fed, watered down misinformation - I had to start from zero. A humbling experience, finding out that almost every single thing you thought you knew and believed to the core was wrong. I had to question everything, I researched minute detail, I read lots (and will continue to do so) on science and critical thinking.
Between those two stages, I was left seemingly without purpose. I didn’t mind though, I adopted a somewhat hedonistic approach to life, self destructive perhaps. I worked, I did my part, but amidst that was a bunch of excesses that weren’t easy to curb.
Somewhere around that time I met my amazing wife and we were soon smitten with each other, luckily for us we even out each other’s extremes in just the right way. Her presence, constant support, intelligence and enthusiasm kept me learning new things and examining the status quo.
Thanks in a exceptionally large part to her, I am where I am today. In a happy relationship with 2 beautiful kids, living in a nice area of a great city with a good job. Many people would be envious, some scornful, though I never thought I based my decisions on what would bring me the most accolade from others. By many measures of life, and despite my upbringing I have achieved success, and yet it doesn’t feel like it.
Andrea and I talked about this and she asked what it would take to bring about that feeling. I honestly do not know. It’s not about not being content with what I have - I am, very much so. I appreciate how well things are for me I love nearly every aspect of my life. Partly it stems from a desire to leave a lasting contribution, something that matters, maybe something that would make up for all my wasted time and even poisonous input into society. (You probably didn’t think twice about it, but sorry if I ever knocked on your door and tried to scare you into thinking that the world is horrible and you need saving.)
The result of this melancholic state was that (with some nudging) I have done some thinking and written this blog post almost as a fluid thought process. Andrea pointed out that I have more time now to pursue my interests, I no longer have the option of squandering my time on activities that I used to like going out several nights every week. Basically the hours between 19:00-22:00 are mine, I’m not going to make the best use of every minute, and my wife and kids will always come first, but I can force myself to make at least some nights count!
The path that may be
So what can I contribute? What am I passionate about? I have no idea, really, so as a beginning I’ve compiled a list of things that I want to do. This is not a new year’s resolution, it’s not a to do or a bucket list. It’s just a vague list, but I will do some of these things, some I’ve even started. Others could turn into goals - both long and short term. Some things may be added and others struck off. It is a start, a first step in the right direction, a slight narrowing of a broad cacophony of sentiments and ideas.
- Write, AND FINISH a song
- Sing that song or another one to Andrea
- Write a story (length and genre not specified) and submit it somewhere
- Write an (mobile or desktop) application
- Own a successful business (in what? define success?)
- Learn another programming language
- Speak Spanish at home
- Learn a third spoken language
- Plan more
- Write more in this blog
- Live in another country
- Buy a house
- Grow a nice edible garden
- Read more
- Go to university (not just work at one. hah)
- Help educate people (specifically in critical thinking)
- Fight misinformation
- Attend a conference (TED maybe?)
That’s it for now. I will keep track of new things I think of or other things I remember and add them here.
Just getting to this point has been a good thing, and setting some long term goals, defining them and keeping them in mind requires an attitude shift and lots of thought. I have a bad track record when it comes to that, but then again, I know nothing…but I’m willing to learn!