As with most people, I realized this weekend that I wasn't doing what I needed to do to make my life more meaningful. Instead one is consciously being sidetracked from one’s true goal, a goal that makes one magically driven in life, like writing a book or being outdoors or making more sincere connections to one’s family, but instead one is watching movies, reading numerous books and what not. The weeks, months and years go by with missed opportunities; one does not realize one is lost, driving forward with another agenda that does not meet one true dreams or passions, instead just moving along with the rat race, mistaken in thinking that one is progressing to a better place, but just accepting new information and new realities while missing the boat. Tragically one realizes this mistake watching good movies like ‘Cedar Rapids’, making one think that watching movies is a worthwhile activity when one stumbles into a gem of cinema that transforms the viewer. Maybe cinema doesn’t waste one’s time, but like reading a book, good cinema can open one’s eyes.
Last week, one was given a chance to think about one’s career path, the future that one would like down the road, meeting a career planner, someone one has never had the privilege of meeting before, where one’s dreams are drawn as if one’s fate is in the hands of this specialist before you, wondering if one can indeed reach out and grasp the arc of your destiny and bend it towards the correct direction. Perhaps one’s life can be charted like one of those 5-year plans that countries in the developing world make, striving to undertake the tasks that would make one a better person, being on a path that will not only bring fame and fortune but enlightenment, serenity, freedom and better health, striving to make plans that will deliver the dream in some future time. But the road one has already traveled has been long, maybe it’s time to relax and smell the roses as someone said in my past; does one really need more challenges or new career plans, to work in distant lands, or just stay put and be part of your children’s life as they grow and go to college, starting their lives and one can only pray that you can be part of this new journey and contribute to its success. It is not the destination that matters but the journey, one had said.
What were the missed connections? A lost love, a different place or career, a new lover, quality time with family and friends, a different destiny that was missed; how did one ignore these cues, by not paying attention but maybe the current path is the right one? How does one know? Perhaps it is a feeling of emptiness, a realization that one is better off somewhere else, a remembrance of excellent food eaten in the past, visions of a twilight, the sun setting on an Asian landscape, perhaps the lost time in one’s youth, of a place long gone, of seeing old friends in Facebook, wondering how they have changed, not realizing that one has aged too, wondering where all the time has gone, thinking how one has spent his moments, time flying past like a whirlwind while one is engaged in trivia, reading books, watching movies, lost in the Internet, attending Toastmaster meetings; indeed submerging into different lands and places, the result of consuming media that alternate realities seem possible. The ability to imagine a different place in one’s mind, to see the insidious politics of Washington, the exotic lands of Iran, India and the Middle East, the culture of Japan, Thailand and China, ruminating that one can be there, done that like a global tourist.
Awakening one day and thinking what am I doing here, living in the American south, driving to work in lonely back roads, the Appalachian mountains and hills in the far horizon, the quiet neighborhoods, the dying light of dusk and the sunrise in early mornings, the light reaching the silent houses, the rural landscapes without the teeming multitudes of major cities, wondering who am I, why am I here; existential questions that suddenly comes after meeting the career professional, poised and ready to deliver you to the next great thing. In the evening of that meeting, one attended a Toastmaster assembly, the second gathering of the day, as the first one with one’s own club, listening to speeches, seeing people and speaking, working hard on the project that will go live next week in Chicago, Illinois. Perhaps it’s the trigger of one’s sudden yearning, experiencing the thrill and pressure of work, the chance to travel and work at another warehouse again, thinking of the stress and work that requires one to be here right now. One wonders if the pressure and stress is worth it, of the many hours spent toiling without vacation, fixing problems during weekends, alone during times of trouble, wracking one’s brain to identify the solution.
After all has been said and done with thoughts swirling about at night, of sleeping late due to the many diversions, of trying to achieve dreams in the midst of a full workload, unable to cut down on distraction and indulgence, wondering if all these new things are worth it, but instead dreaming of the wonderful days of tropical splendor and serenity with one’s friends. It’s time to move again you think, to discover new places and meet new people, discovering yourself even more and learn about the true value of time, maybe running away is the answer or travelling back where you came from and go full circle, perhaps that is the answer to reclaiming that which one has lost in one’s youth or travels, to reclaim the past (or is it innocence?). But old friends live here too, spread out the continent, in California or Canada or Chicago, maybe visiting old friends will return one to his roots and rediscover value, when one was sure about himself in his youth, without the doubt and uncertainty of today, without the bewildering array of choices that bring you to paths unknown with the hope of finding yourself but instead lost in a maze of broken mirrors and uncertainty. Perhaps heading to Chicago next week will clear one’s mind, followed thankfully, by a needed vacation in California.