Of Past Days

Lately,

I have been ruminating about the past. Everyone does this to some extent or another. However, this isn’t a nostalgic feeling, it’s more like “putting things into perspective”. Why we do the things we do, who knows but it makes for some good contemplation fodder. I generally do not care too much about things in my past. People who knew me growing up tend to have more feelings of significance than I do.

As said before, this isn’t nostalgia. Its something different. It’s a realization. I realized that things were so much “simpler”. Not in the sense of just a child being blissfully unaware of things but just things tended to be more “point A to point B”. I am specifically talking about high school. While I am grateful for my high school years, I do not wish to return to them. I miss the “feeling” of my existence back then. My existence comprised of several straightforward routines. I knew few people personally. I was able to lose myself in my own reality easier. I can’t say the same thing now. My day now is constructed from several complex routines. I now have more people  I know personally. I cannot dive into myself as easily as before (even though most days it is still ridiculously easy).

It is very hard to get the feeling I am describing into words. I suppose you can call it a paradigm shift. The most frustrating part was that things got unnecessarily complicated about three years ago. There wasn’t as much red tape. I never had to deal with drama. I never had to deal with other people’s emotions as much as I do now. Even with this paradigm shift, I tried to apply old tactics to a new world. In the end, I caught the burn from the backdraft and I realized I had to reevaluate my strategy to this new battle. I had to adapt. I had to learn new tactics. My failure to relate to people, especially those of the opposite sex – would have to be reevaluated. It wasn’t something I wanted to do but if I wanted to carve out a decent existence for myself, I would have to.

I did adapt and I did get new tactics. It wasn’t easy and it took a span of several months to myself but I did it. Because of that, I now know the common denominator in existence. Evolution.

I’m not “there” yet, but I’ll get there.

 

– Scotia

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Charity

 

it is important to remember those who have less than we do. As we fall deeper into this quagmire that is the economic recession, more and more people find themselves in a position of uncertainty and hopelessness. I’m just going to take a guess and assume that there won’t be as many Christmas presents under the tree as there were in previous years. Many people are inspired to give because of the particular conventions of the Christmas season. Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” popularized this sentiment. “A Christmas Carol” was published in 1843. It was the first piece of literature to really discuss social ills while disguising it underneath the happy exterior of a season of the year. “A Christmas Carol” has so many different interpretations, but its core message remains unchanged – it is essentially good to give and it can make us better persons. However, deeper within that, a person must give in a certain way in order to reap the benefits.

So many different people were inspired by this message that they began to create institutions that addressed the needs of the poor and less fortunate. These institutions were known as charities. Charities effectively bridged the gap between the rich and the poor and created greater stratification of class. The rich no longer had to interact with the poor, they just had to give an amount to a charity and their donation would go to a certain group of people that really needed the money. The lump sum donation did not address the need to interact with people outside one’s social circle, nor the need to volunteer one’s time to make a difference. This is called indiscriminate giving. Indiscriminate giving provides the giver a sense of comfort that they donated to help make a difference in the lives of the faceless masses of endless people who need help. It however, does not address the core issue.

The issue of charity is not only addressed in terms of monetary donations. It can be addressed in other ways too, most notably volunteering. You would be surprised the difference you can make in someone’s life by volunteering your time and presence. Where to volunteer? If you live in an urban area, there is no shortage of places you can volunteer. People will always need help – and a human presence. There is no better time to provide both, in these dark days – both literally and figuratively.

Money is temporal. Human companionship is not. Giving to charity is great and all but the giver will be missing out on the core message that was detailed in “A Christmas Carol” Ebeneezer Scrooge arrived at his revelation that he could make a difference in the lives of others through simple things such as camaraderie. He got into the Christmas spirit of generosity and he realized it made him a better person because he interacted with people he normally would not have.

If we want to reach the same revelation as Scrooge did and make our lives better, we need to too.

 

 

 

– Scotia

Loneliness

Loneliness is a core part of the human experience. It’s another one of those things our society tends to sweep under the rug and pretend does not exist. We are bombarded daily with images of people in groups, having a good time as if the very air we breath is made out of laughing gas. Everyone who has ever lived throughout history has experienced some type of loneliness. It’s another one of those “more or less” things that happens depending on whether you won the cosmic lottery or not. There needs to be a clear distinction between being lonely and being alone. I enjoy being alone most of the time. Growing up, I had no other choice. I either found ways to entertain myself or I get bored. Not too hard of choice there. I do not however, enjoy being lonely. Both of these phenomena tend to be common motifs in my life. They will be for many years to come. People enhance other people. There is no way around that, that is just how life works. These people come in the form of significant others and friends.

As time starts to complete another swing of the metronome and I grow inevitably older, I see acquaintances and such go in and out of various relationships, some lasting longer than others, some more successful and better built than others. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to be in one. Even more so, I wonder what they have that I do not. Then I remember – I’m me (oh yeah, forgot about that). I realize I will most likely never have a significant other. I have gotten increasingly more comfortable with the fact over time even though it is a relatively hard pill to swallow. Not only do I fail miserably in talking to the opposite sex, but I find that I can get annoying to be around for long periods of time. When this begins to occur, I remove myself from the scenario swiftly. It is not that I am talkative, quite the opposite. It’s just that I tend to be quite dull and not one for small talk. Not surprising coming from someone that is perpetually mired in depression. Let’s not even begin to get to the fact that I am one of the weirdest people on Earth.

As far as friends go, I can only say I have one. We don’t talk often, but I guess it’s better than none. All of the rest are just people that I interact with so that I can appear normal and to stave off the loneliness. I can’t relate to anyone and I’ve tried to make friends but people aren’t receptive. I don’t do a lot of the things that a lot of people do and in the process I seem – boring. It’s a shame because everyone that I have tried to be friends with, I felt that I could have learned something from them if only they reciprocated the feelings. It’s been a constant struggle since my earliest days.

In the end, I guess loneliness is one of the many sources of my continuous downsound. The fact that I am hard to relate to makes it even harder. Its gotten to the point that everyone has begun to mean nothing to me as they cannot grasp the core of what I am trying to express. Every single person is becoming dust in the wind and as time blows on, they begin to collapse. I know that there are others that feel the same way, but they are good at hiding it I guess (as we all are). Past performance is indicative or future success, and I have failed in both categories. I suppose it is for the best, after all. No room for companionship or camaraderie, as I have devoted my life towards the pursuit of knowledge, research, and the advancement of the arts and sciences.

In the end, it’s just another pathetic excuse for not addressing my near-impossible to fix list of flaws and another method of distraction from the dark reality that is human existence.

– Scotia

Optimism

Optimism is a very fickle thing. It tends to come and go with each passing day. I feel blessed whenever I can catch it again, like I have been blessed with a gift from the gods from some unknown realm. I can seem the most optimistic on the most dreary of days and the least optimistic on the brightest, most sunny days. What determines my optimism? Well, I tend to think about certain things more or less and then I start to get more or less optimistic. Sometimes I’ll read an article about something pertaining to the human race and I’ll probably end up becoming less optimistic for that time period until I forget about it. I wouldn’t call myself a pessimistic person but I’m sure not a bundle of joy with blinders on either.

I know I’m not alone either. This economic downturn has taken quite a toll on American optimism. I don’t blame us either. Things don’t look too good for the foreseeable future and it seems like everywhere we turn there’s always some bad news. I guess it’s what happens when an unapologetic reality collides head on with optimism of the most upward trajectory. I remember back in 2008 when the recession first started, people thought we would not be in this recession for much longer. It’s the tail-end of 2011 and there doesn’t seem like there’s any sign of it letting up either.

The economic recession isn’t the only thing that’s got me thinking about darker days. It’s a whole collection of foolishness that the human race has managed to create during its time on this big blue planet we call Earth. Record stores are vanishing. Everything is being digitized. Prisons are being built everyday. The education system is letting the kids down. The environment is collapsing on itself. Human beings are being cast off to the wayside in favor of profit maximization. Suicide rates are increasing every year. I’ll stop at that considering that there’s enough dread already in this post but I’m pretty sure we all get the gist of it.

Optimism is what drives us towards a better tomorrow. How can we strive towards that if the reserves have been completely drained? Maybe its just another one of these “being human” things but I still can’t seem to shake the feeling that things seem to be on a downward trajectory. It’s funny how humanity entered the new millennium with unbridled optimism. Optimism that we would not see the destruction and death that our ancestors saw in the previous one and that we would lead healthy, happier, more productive lives. The following year of 2001 gave us the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act, and the War on Terror. Oh, how quick the weather can change.

I often have older people tell me how things just aren’t how they used to be and how much better they were. I just hope if I ever have young souls to nurture, I won’t ever have to tell them the same.

 

 

– Scotia