INDIVIDUALS

Individuals

I think that we can sometimes forget that we are truly individuals.

How could I forget that? Right? What else are we? And of course we’re selfish all the time. But that doesn’t really mean that we are remembering that we are individuals separate from social media and separate from our daily responsibilities.

This may be a difficult idea for me to express to you. How often? Or how long has it been since you spent time with yourself really thinking about yourself? I mean this in any capacity. The key I’m referring to is that you were alone, not distracted, or connected and really had free time to think about yourself. Now I don’t mean just thinking about the next time you are going to take the boat out to the lake, or that you would really like to do a Caribbean vacation this winter. I mean thinking about your life. What you’ve done, and where you’re headed. Not just your career though or your future vacation goals. I mean thinking about how you have become who you are - the combination of your environment, your existing body, and your efforts to shape your life.

Recently I’ve had some opportunities to do this on my long runs and bike rides. These aren’t the perfect situations but I’ve also spent a lot of time in the past with these mental exercises too. Right now I’m pretty satisfied with myself and my life. I have achieved some decent lifelong goals to this point, I’m working towards accomplishing a couple more major goals soon, and I’m happy with my life’s philosophy.  While considering all of this also considered some choices I’ve made and traits I have that aren’t always up to other people’s expectations. One area that I’ve always been a little different in is my interactions with other people. I can be short, abrupt, unfriendly, antisocial, all of those labels. I also have never had a Facebook page.

I’ve never seen a benefit to having a Facebook account. I see people scrolling through their Facebook literally all day. I mean how many videos of cats playing ping pong do you need to see? I’ve never really valued superficial friendships. Therefore I don’t make an effort to be fake to every person I walk by every day. Therefore people think I’m an asshole. The truth is that I really value my few true friendships. I’m also very compassionate to friends and strangers alike. I think people close to me would agree that I’m an above average friend. I also truly enjoy helping people in certain circumstances. People don’t know that about me because I don’t tell Facebook that I give to 472 charities and fly to Haiti to build homes. I don’t smile at every idiot I see. I don’t tell every mom her baby is the cutest thing ever. That’s just not what I do.

While I’ve been considering this about myself along with other things, I affirmed that I’m not only comfortable with who I am, including the aspects that some others may think I need to change, but that I’m thankful for who I am and would prefer to be me the ways I am if given a choice. I think one benefit to me being the way that I am socially is that people know I’m real. If I give a compliment to someone, I like to take the time to really explain what and why I am complimenting them. When I show compassion I try to do so in a meaningful way and in a way that truly benefits the person I’m trying to help. In my view these things may be a little more rare coming from me but infinitely more meaningful and valuable than 3500 likes on Facebook.

 

Well that was a little more about me personally than about the topic I intended to write on.

I wanted to share my personal thoughts but more importantly to help you think about yourself as an individual in a clear and concise way. Maybe I’m an old man because one thing I value about the good ol days is that we had time to be alone. To think for ourselves. Now you have to make a conscious effort to get that opportunity. My most valuable beliefs about everything were developed with a lot of alone time. I value this foundation that I’ve built my life on and would like to help others achieve the same satisfaction.

It seems to me that everyone is happy all the time for no reason. Sure you went on vacation with your family, and you’re going to buy a new SUV next month, and you’re kids are happy, but does that equal your happiness or is it just societies happiness? Sure those are great things, but I feel like we live in an age of complete convenience. I’m obviously referring to a well off or upper middle class or even a middle class person in the United States. But really. It seems like everyone has everything or can get everything, or can at least access everything imaginable on their phone.

We have made great progress as a people but truthfully I feel like we should be doing way better. I feel like a tiny tiny portion of our population is doing well at advancing the quality and meaning of humanity. The downside is that some of these advancements have allowed the rest of us to become unimaginably lazy.. physically, but more importantly mentally. This I think is also expressing itself through the more and more skewed income distribution as well.

All these advancements that should make society better are in fact hurting us in some ways. Sure we can crowd source some problems now, but because we live so easily and are so connected, the mind of the crowd has just become one big lazy dumb mind. I see this with us moving backwards rather than forwards on some social issues. Crowd sourcing is great when you can access numerous different minds and views to come to a solution. But when everyone is just thinking the same thing it loses value.

I may not have made my point very well but I’m trying to challenge you do define yourself. Think for yourself. Be proud of your principles and embrace your differences.

I’m also trying to connect this to my service as well. I would like to help you with this task. I would also like you to pursue my service. not because it would be cool to post on Facebook, but because it’s something you would like to experience for yourself.. even if other people may not understand it. I think the absolute freedom you can experience and express with me is a truly enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

08.17

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