Three months into the year 2019 and five weeks into age 26. I’ve lived many lives, and yet here I am, confronted with the usual existential dread and despair when gazing upon the blank space of an empty blog.
One of my favorite mantras, one that I often tout to friends when they are facing some version of hopelessness, is one that also rubs me the wrong way when I consider it in the loneliness of my room or inside the chambers of my head. Reverberating over and over, with the power to both irritate and inspire that only motivational quotes can incite.
“The hardest part is to start.
And here I am, just starting.
But is it enough to to just start? What about to continue, to prevail and to improve? Do we not strive for greatness anymore, or have we been reduced to this sense of mediocrity where we pat ourselves on the back for simply picking up the pen and pressing it to the sheet of paper – or in my case, letting the pads of my fingers move to and fro along this well-worn keyboard?
Or – an even more terrifying thought – what if it’s just me?
Lately, I’ve been pondering the complexities that lay in defining one’s character. We often separate the world and people into categories, into black and white. I’ve known for awhile that shades of gray prevailed, but it took some time to get to a point where I’ve begun exploring those hues.
How is it then, that an individual deemed as “extroverted” by their peers can feel strong symptoms of social anxiety, of loneliness and feelings typically attributed to those far less outgoing or introverted?
How is it that in a given moment, we can feel immense confidence, feel clear headed and certain about our choices and situations in life – and in another moment’s notice, watch all that confidence tumble to the ground and wonder how we ever stood at the top of that mountain?
It’s been a long and arduous week, and most of it is due to my participation in the Olympics of mental gymnastics. I’ve ran laps around creating scenarios in my head that don’t really exist, and have only recently began to understand what it really means to have “confirmation bias” about how I perceive the way in which the world works, and how it actually works.
In times of strife, turning to the wise always helps: in this case, I looked for podcasts to help me figure out what was going on inside my head. I came across an episode on “UnF*ck Your Brain” that delved into cognitive bias, neuroscience and negative thoughts. I found it quite amazing how just a few minutes of listening to the “experts” can shed so much light on the way your mind operates, and knowing that you’re nowhere near special when it comes to feeling like you’re the only one experiencing what goes on in your head – that nearly everyone is experiencing the same thing in some capacity.
In any case, writing always helps. I need to maintain this “drumbeat” as they say in the corporate world, for my own sake.
And the hardest part is always to start.