>Figured Out

>When I used to look at this day from the past, I imagined that by the time I hit 20, I would have all of this... stuff figured out. I saw 20 as a milestone of sorts, as that top of the hill after the battle of the teens and a kind of plateau before another climb towards middle age. I understood that I'd have issues to work through in High School and all through those awkward teen years, but I saw myself emerging at the end of the tunnel a different person than I walked in as. A man who understands things and has that general adult-esque knowledge of how the world works and how to fix problems.

I can honestly say that this is not how life works. Life is not dissected into stages, but rather it is one long stage that is timultuous and ever-changing. But I've been doing a lot of changing through the past year or so, and have managed to scrape together some semblance of a list of how I have "figured it out."

1.

2.

3.

4.....

notice a pattern?

I honestly don't think that we're supposed to figure out everything the first go-around. If we figured out all of this mess without much of a fuss, what would be the point of celebrating old age or getting excited about birthdays or rejoicing in making it one more day?

Some things I have noticed, though, is that there are certain patterns that keep popping up that drive home the facts of life, and if we can grasp these, I think that the rest might come a little easier to our weary minds.

Love exists. It is the most perfect of all things we humans are capable of feeling. It can drive us to extents that were previously unreachable by our normal standards and cause us to behave in ways that our status quo would never allow. Love is what distinguishes the mundane from the sublime and is what takes the ordinary and makes it beautiful.

Another thing that I've noticed/learned is that nothing is as big a deal to anybody else as it is to you. Sympathy is a word that encapsulates what we have invented to use in situations where we need people to think we care just as much as they do. We may feel strongly about another person's situation, but nothing is ever as big a deal to somebody else as it is to that person, really no matter what the situation. The other side of this is that we think that everybody cares about all of our issues just as much as we do...

Segway into point number three: we act not for others, but for ourselves. This is why it surprises us and touches us so much when we see somebody legitimately act out of love not for himself but for others. We splotch up our selflessness and feel better about ourselves because we spent a week among the less fortunate, but turn our heads when a homeless man asks for money on the street, validating ourselves by whispering to our conscience, "he'll just buy booze with it."

I am not saying that I am exempt from anything I have said, and I am not trying to preach or even guilt trip anybody to do anything differently with their lives than they're doing now. I've just been thinking lately about how there's more to this game than people realize most of the time, myself included.

Ha, I've never taken so long to write one of these things, so it's probably all over the place. Perhaps one person will get something out of it though. Goodnight friends :)

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.