This one’s a bit of a different post from the usual. But I post so infrequently here I can hardly tell you what ‘the usual’ is! I felt like writing about something that really interests me and trying to get a better idea of it through writing out my thoughts. Humanity in general is an almost terrifyingly broad topic to tackle, so I thought I’d write about people individually rather than collectively.
Being a person is a strange experience. There seems to be a simple, common formula to life - childhood education, university (optional), job, spouse, children, hard work at said job throughout middle-age, old age, death. That’s the crux of it: death. Funnily, life is a lot about death. There’s a time limit, a deadline, an end. And that freaks me out a bit. Not because I’m scared of what comes after life, but because my greatest fear is not accomplishing enough in life before my expiry date. And this is where it comes back to the common life formula - part of me wants to live that, and part of me doesn’t. The fact is, there’s a common procedure for a reason: it’s easy to follow, and it’s comfortable. And I don’t want to follow it. I feel like there are a lot of people that don’t want to follow it either. But how? What else am I supposed to do?
I have always known that I am here on the earth for a pretty good reason. I believe that everyone else on the earth also has a special and unique purpose, and we are all perfectly engineered to come here and live out that purpose. I have recently been worried about my future, as I’m sure a lot of 17-year-olds are. What I know I need to be content with for now is that it’s okay not to know just yet. If I really believe that we’re all here for our own important reasons, then my reason will make itself clear to me when the time is right.
The human mind is perfectly designed to connect to its creator. “Ask and you shall receive” is an undeniably true statement, it is the law and the way of the world. But what if we don’t know what we want?
Ultimately, I have faith that what I ask for will be given to me, and that’s the important thing. But if I don’t know my wishes in the first place, how can I achieve something? Some people know what they want, others don’t. From the 17 years of life experience I have, I’ve gathered that those who know what they want are far more likely to achieve it, succeed, and have positive outcomes, compared to those who are unsure. Because how will you know if you’ve received what you want when you never knew what you wanted in the first place?
I have always felt like a minority. In religion, education, political view, opinion, state of mind, values and a few more things that I don’t want to write, for fear of overly harsh judgement. The fact is, I care so much about trying to accept and respect others’ views, values and faults, but I forget there are nice people out there that will still like and respect me despite them not sharing my opinions. I’m usually fine with being a minority, since I’d describe myself as an independent individual and I’m not at all opposed to being unique. But sometimes it can be quite frustrating, to say the least. Finding someone who shares similar interests, values and opinions to me is a challenge. To be completely honest, I find small-talk mind-numbingly boring. I thrive on deeper discussions about the world, religion, politics, people, the mind, and conspiracy theories. This probably scares some people off a bit, since I go straight from talking about the weather to talking about the meaning of life! But I am slowly coming to accept that nobody is ever going to share all of my opinions. Of course I have friends that share certain aspects of my personality, friends that share my religion, and home educated friends that share my distaste for school. But I am accepting that one person is not going to tick all the boxes, so I must connect with the positives about everyone I know and just let people be who they are.
Interestingly, a website has had a lot to say about my personality that I’ve found quite accurate. (Also, I am well aware that I’m rambling a bit, but bear with me!) You may have heard of the website: it’s called 16 Personalities. On it you can take a test that labels you as one of sixteen different personality types. Obviously it’s just a test and doesn’t dictate anyone’s entire personality, but it is an interesting thing to look into. I’ve done the test about ten times, and I’ve got somewhat inconsistent results ranging from the Logician to the Virtuoso. But on at least three occasions, I’ve got INFP, the Mediator. Two things that strike me most about this personality type are that Mediators often feel misunderstood, and that they usually closely associate with only a small number of people. I relate very well to these two traits. Mediators are also very idealistic and place a lot of importance on their values. All these things combined, I think, make me not so great at big social events, but much better at interactions with fewer people. I find it so interesting how one person can be so intricately detailed, but then so is everybody else in the big world. It’s absolutely true that no two people are ever the same, and I find that fascinating in the best way possible.
People have always connected over food. Since the beginning of time.
Maybe we catch up over a coffee or over dinner because we’re trying to find a commonality to share. A friend of mine recently mentioned that we normally make friends or connections based on an activity or commonality that we bond over, however significant or insignificant. For example, a movie we like or a mutual friend or a common interest in something. And we always go back to food. Just think of Christmas lunch or a birthday dinner. Something interesting to think about, however random it is.
Another thing I’ve found a lot of love for is music’s way of connecting people. Attending my first music camp this year made me open my mind up to all the genres of music and musical instruments there are, but also to all the ways we can play music together. This is another thing people have been connecting over for millions of years, and for a good reason, too. I enjoy playing music by myself, but there’s nothing like playing in an orchestra and hearing the group play together for the first time, or learning a song with your mate that plays the double bass, giving that beautiful low tone to a song… Even the classic campfire sing-along or even the school band is an example. Making music with other people, no matter what people or what music, is, and always has been, a very meaningful way to connect.
One thing I do know is that connection is fun! Even for a more introverted person like me, I really enjoy a good conversation or chat with a friend. It reminds you that you’re not alone, which for some people could be all they need in that moment. Often I think about the incredible extent of life we have here on the earth. Every single person here has a different story. And the most beautiful thing is, each of our stories is intertwined like one giant, beautiful, multicoloured tapestry, creating the most magnificent masterpiece that is life. Just being here is a privilege. This is something I need to constantly remind myself, because otherwise I get caught up in the small and frivolous details of day-to-day life, and these details lead me down a spiral of meaninglessness, giving me nothing but worry. It does us so much good to step back, take a breath and remember that we all came from the same place, we are all connected, and we all share the most wonderful experience together: life.
Something that I have only realised very recently is that I connect through words. I had just scrawled a whole lot of my current thoughts onto paper when I made the connection. I love words; I love sharing them, speaking them, writing them, typing them. And stories. It’s all about stories; spoken, written, typed, sung. And through my love of words and stories comes connection; connection with the people I speak to and who speak to me, connection with whoever is reading these words right now, connection with an author as I read the words in their book, connection with a song that tells something very real. Maybe we all have different ways of connecting.
This post has been in the works for a while. I think I started writing it in May, which seems like years ago already. I didn’t publish it right away because I wasn’t sure if I’d want to write more, then it got pushed to the back of my priorities list as I got busier with university. But now I’ve had time to sit back down and write my heart out a little, I think these words are ready to be sent out into the world as I press ‘publish’.
Thanks for reading my thoughts and words. I communicate much better when I write, because I have time to contemplate what I really want to say. Maybe it’s an introvert thing. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I hope I might’ve given you something interesting to think about or maybe a bit more admiration for the world.