The Art of Existing

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It’s been a while. In fact, it’s been almost two years since I’ve felt the burning desire to create something and launch it out into the world.

In the past two years, I have experienced the beauty of a first love and have then felt the agony of a first heartbreak. I have worked tirelessly towards dreams and have then had to accept that some dreams are called dreams for a reason. I’ve had friendships fade and then watched new ones grow. I’ve missed my mom and dad, but have also adored that with each year comes more independence. In the past two years, I’ve completely lost myself and have begun trying to figure out who I am again.

Here I stand on the edge of the rest of my life. I feel like I’m on the edge of the cliff, and that I’m trying to work up the courage to move forward. Some days I feel like just closing my eyes and waiting for the cliff to crumble below me and force me to drop, other days I feel fearless and ready to leap forward into my future.

I thought at this point in my life, senior year, that I would have it all figured out. That I wouldn’t still be the same dreamer I was as a child. That I would be practical, ambitious, and ready to lead my own life.

Is it ok to be 21 and still trying to figure out who you are? Is it ok to finally be and have everything you’ve ever wanted and then wonder if it’s really what you want? Can you be fearless and terrified at the same time?

The other day I found something that I wrote when I was about 16. “I have decided that our world is obsessed with successful specifics. We chase after successful marriages, successful careers, or even successful children. We devote our entire lives to these successful specifics, instead of chasing after a successful existence. I want a successful existence, and I see my successful existence in the stories I tell, and the words I love. I see my successful existence in being everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I see my successful existence in telling my grandchildren, if I ever have any, about the different poems I pinned onto trees in every foreign city I called home- even if it was only home for a day. I see a successful existence in purely that- existing successfully.” I was surprised how the younger version of myself understood what I’ve been wrestling with so deeply these last few months.

I’ve been struggling to blend my dream of “pinning poems onto trees in foreign cities”, with the practicality of supporting myself with a reliable career and my desire to eventually start a family.

I’m a giant bundle of contradictions, and I have no clue if I’ll end up in a corporate PR firm in South Carolina or working at an orphanage in the middle of a jungle in South America. I don’t know if I’ll go off to Europe or live in the same town as my parents. I don’t know if I want to fall in love young, or if I want to experience the freedom of living alone.

I don’t know what’s next or exactly what I want, and I’m ok with that. I know that I have gifts and talents and that I want to impact the world- I just don’t know where I can best impact it yet. I don’t want to plan my successful specifics and miss out on living a successful existence.

So, that’s me. A 21-year-old who wants to both dream and live practically. Someone who’s just trying figure out where she fits in this world. A storyteller who’s trying to master the art of existing.

Growing up is so full of unknowns, but writing has always helped me understand my emotions, desires, or dreams a little bit better so I’ll be documenting my journey as I try to figure out who I am and where I fit in this world. Maybe you don’t know what you want either and we can feel a little less alone as we try to figure out what our successful existences are together. I may not know what I want, but I do know that nobody likes feeling alone- so maybe this helps you feel a little more understood and a little more seen.

Because, no matter what anyone tells you, it is ok to be 21 and still trying to figure out who you are.

 

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Hashtagged Hoaxes

One of my favorite quotes is “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth is still putting on its shoes.” by Mark Twain. I think this perfectly sums up our current age of technology with frightening accuracy, considering Twain died almost 7 decades before the internet was invented.

In the Western world, we live in a society that is entirely dominated by viral content and television screens. We find new products to buy, people to befriend, and ideas to believe all through our various illuminated screens. Information is instantaneously accessible.

Through tools such as Facebook’s trending topics and Twitter’s hashtags, we can tap into popular belief systems and see what topics people from all over the world find important.
While the age of information can help curb curiosity and draw immediate attention to current events, the internet is renowned for spreading false information at rates never experienced before.  

A quick google search for “biggest internet hoaxes” will result in dozens of hits showing people believing stories, only to later find out that they have been completely duped. This is a regular occurrence- so why does it surprise when we realize that our political, sociological, and philosophical beliefs can be based on lies, as well?

We accept lies in advertisements. We accept lies when it comes to products and what we’ll be receiving. Not only do we accept the lies of our politicians, we have been conditioned to expect it.

We, as Christians, accept lies about tolerance and other religions.

I see this trend of tolerating and even loving lies as something very concerning in our culture.  Better yet, I see this trend as something that needs to be fought against.

That is the point of this blog. It will be anything but perfect. I’m sure that at some point I will accidentally put forth a lie and call it the truth and I hope that my readers will hold me accountable of this. I might be critical of a belief you hold dear. I might be critical of a belief hold dear.

Regardless, I hope truth inspires you as much as it does me.