We're Just Racing Time

"Where's the finish line?"

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We are born into this world fumbling for meaning. Small, angry, anxious, purposeless.

When we manage to stop fumbling for that meaning turns out to be completely relative. Some find that meaning though certain activities. Some find it through different religions and ideologies. Some find it through dumb luck. And some just don't.

So when you never manage to find your purpose where is the finish line? When do you hit that point where you are content enough with what you have done to consider yourself successful? To be able to look back and see a list of accomplishments that were well worth you time and energy you put into them? Quite frankly, I don't know.

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But hell, even when you do find your purpose it is still difficult to determine that finish line. When do you decide that everything you have put towards that end goal is enough? How do you determine that you need to keep going?

We are all just confused meat-bags on a giant rock spinning toward infinity at a speed well past our own comprehension. What does our purpose and our finish line mean anyway? In the grand scheme of things, it means jack shit. Maybe your finish line ends up changing the world. But remember that the cosmos remains completely unaffected and completely indifferent to your existence.

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That is kind of dangerous talk, though. A world void of meaning on a cosmic scale leaves its inhabitants, themselves, void of meaning. But's it is hard not to think about, at least for me.

So when I wonder what true success is, I really don't have an answer yet. Traditional logic seems to point to success being to have a stable job, a lot of money, a loving family, ect. And, honestly, I think it's all bullshit.

I mean, really. A stable job lets you waste half your conscious life to earn scraps while you make someone else rich. Lots of money allows me to buy a bunch of other useless shit to waste more of my time on. Your family can actually be a pretty good purpose, but falls short for someone who wants to effect change on a grander stage.

Traditional success just doesn't work anymore for most people. And we should stop trying to measure people based on this tradition. How many times has "But you have a really good job!" ever managed to pull someone out of existential crisis?

"Oh, yeah, you are right. I have a job that pays me and stuff. I guess my life isn't meaningless."

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It's all bullshit. People with stable jobs, lots of money, and loving families aren't all fulfilled. Poor people, people lacking job security, and people without families don't always feel lost. Everyone handles things differently.

The point here is that I think a lot of us are wasting our time racing towards this traditional idea of success. We spend so much time running towards what society says should matters that we end up running away from the things that actually do.

As I said, we are all meat-bags on a rock. None of it actually matters anyway. So don't spend your time on someone else's version of success. Their definition is just as pointless as your, so fucking go for it. 

Unless your version of success means killing a bunch of people. Then, by all means, please subscribe to the traditional measure of success described above. 

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And if you still haven't found your meaning yet, just hold on. I'm going to be a little hypocritical in saying this, but not finding your meaning doesn't mean you have to follow traditional success. Just because you haven't found the right thing to follow doesn't mean you have to follow the wrong thing. It is okay to fumble for meaning. The idea is that eventually you will pick it up.

Don't take other people seriously. Find your finish line.

Why Is Everything So Heavy?

"I'm holding on."

I know that at this point all the talk surrounding Chester Bennington's suicide is probably wearing thin on everybody. But, quite frankly, I'm not done talking about it yet, so bear with me.

Chester Bennington was the lead singer of Linkin Park. This is a band that helped me get through most of middle school and high school. They helped me through a lot of insecurities, anxieties, and difficulties. Their music was always a huge inspiration for me in my upbringing. 

And I'm certainly not the only one that Linkin Park helped out. Linkin Park was a voice for a group of people who didn't have one. A group of angsty teenagers who had real issues but either didn't think they were important or didn't think anyone cared enough to listen. "Why was Linkin Park a voice for this group?" Because their music spoke to them. "Why did their music speak to them?" Because the lyrics encapsulated the way these kids felt. 

"Crawling in my skin. These wounds, they will not heal. Fear is how I fall. Confusing what is real."

Now what makes Chester so important in all of this? Reread the last two paragraphs and replace "Linkin Park" with "Chester Bennington". Every sentence rings just as true. Chester was the heart of the band and the heart of the message. He drove the emotions, he drove the content, and he ultimately reached a lot of people.

But Chester is gone now. Ultimately succumbed to the overwhelming feelings that depression surrounds you with. And there is a sad irony in that. This man, who helped so many other people through their issues with depression, ultimately couldn't save himself from it. But that's because depression doesn't care who you are. Rich, poor, famous, forgotten, good, bad, smart, dumb. Depression doesn't give a fuck. I know this because it is something I deal with. And my life is supposed to be "awesome".

It doesn't matter how successful you might be or how well things are going. The feelings of worthlessness and hopeless loneliness always seem to creep back up. One week you spend everyday having fun with your friends. The next week you can't leave the house, crushed by loneliness. And that sucks.

But let's be frank about depression. Sometimes it is no one's fault. And it's never the victims fault. It's a really shitty disease. Seemingly lifelong and very difficult to manage. Everything is fine, then suddenly it's not. Bright turns to grey. Happiness turns to mediocrity. And most things seem pointless.

And oddly enough, depression seems to run rampant now more than in the past. In a world so busy it's getting easier and easier to be overlooked. And those that are overlooked are likely to get left behind. The race to be successful, to do something important, to marry the person of your dreams, to have a family, ect, all seem so important. That is, until it starts to look unattainable.

But then why was Chester depressed? He was famous, helped lots of people, was well loved, and had a beautiful wife and six kids. What the hell was his problem?

Well... depression comes in all shapes and sizes. Something inside of Chester told him he wasn't good enough. Something told him he wasn't meant for this world. Was it the loss of Chris Cornell? The criticisms of his new album? The realization that his fans were never going to let go of the past? It's not for me to say.

On July 20th Chester killed himself. Hung himself in his home in beautiful Palos Verdes Estate, CA. Because depression doesn't give a fuck. I think what I am about to say is actually pretty important, so listen up. Suicide is not quitting, it is the unintentional loss of control. It is the inability to reason yourself back to sanity. No one blames a person for dying from pneumonia, so don't blame someone for suicide. You blame the disease. Blame the depression, aim to helped others with depression, and don't blame the victim along the way. That's how this works.

This is getting a little long winded, so I'll try and draw to a close.

Ultimately, I am someone who is able to handle my depression just fine. I hit a valley, but I don't stay long. I've learn that the hopelessness doesn't stay forever. But for every person like me there is a Chris Cornell and a Chester Bennington. Regardless of how great life should be everyday is a struggle to "escape the gravity". And sometimes that gravity comes crashing down.

This isn't a cry for help from myself. Or some grasp at something more deep and meaningful. It's an attempt to mourn one of my favorite fucking artists and shed some light on what ultimately took him away from us too soon. Chester Bennington will continue to live in my mind. Depression can steal the person, but it can't steal the memories.

"If I just let go I'll be set free." - Chester Bennington

People In Your Life Are Seasons

"But everything that happens is for a reason."

In the words of the immortal Kanye West "People in your life are seasons." And I'm not specifically just saying that to quote Kanye. It is a wise phrase from a once wise dude. We can all say we will never change, but we all do. In the end we change as quickly as the weather or as slowly as the color of the leaf, or at some other speed of some other thing. But we all do eventually. 

And this isn't a bad thing. At least not always. Change is growth. Change is realization. Change is inevitable. And things that are inevitable tend to be scary.

Think about it. Death. Taxes. Heartache. And spiders (assuming you have arachnophobia). But the effect of the inevitable on you is dependent upon your interpretation. Death is the end of life. Taxes are a burden on the pocketbook. Heartache is the rejection of someone special. Spiders bite people.

But viewed from another angle things can transform. Death can be the beginning of new life, or the end of old suffering. Your tax money could be saving the life of someone that relies on the assistance it pays for. Heartache can be both the release of something painful and the opportunity to find something better. And spiders eat other shitty household pests.

I say that all to say this. Change is much the same way. It's effect is grounded in your interpretation of it. Health changes. Finances change. Jobs change. Living situations change.

People change. 

This change with people is the one I struggle with the most. In my life I've very much been someone who looks to the past. I have fond memories of many people in many locations doing many things. But eventually those people I remember stop being the people I remember. So what do you do when that happens? Do you live in the past hoping that someday everything is going to go back to the way it was? Or do you close that chapter and move on?

Unfortunately, I've been delusional enough to fall for the former quite often. Some people's chapters in my life are short, some are long, some are just right, and some are boring, drawn out, and well past their prime. The ones I hopelessly hang on to are the ones that hurt.

I still have chapters open on people that I am sure have long forgotten who I am. People that are now just as stranger to me as those I pass in the supermarket. But their old image keeps my pen pressed to the paper ready to pick right back up where I left off. And that's a pretty shitty place to be.

I would view that closing of that chapter as the loss of something beautiful. The abandonment of everything that relationship meant. The removal of someone who helped mold me.

Or I could view that as the removal of a burden. You could stop writing that long shitty drawn out chapter of your life and begin a new one. One with adventure, friendship, and any other cliche you want to involve. But its hard to focus on the future when you are stuck in the past. People outgrow people. It happens. But that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to outgrow them too.

It's all a matter of interpretation. That said, I still struggle to close chapter and to write new ones. It's hard to stay positive in a world of gray. And in a world of Facebook memories its hard to let things go. But I guess that's my problem.

"And I heard em say, nothings ever promised tomorrow to day, but we'll find a way."