The one thing I fear as an adult
Author's Note: I did absolutely nothing today except for writing this blog post today. (Also working on a "special" story coming out later next week. *wink*)
What do I fear as an adult?
Responsibility? I fulfill them.
Bills? I pay them.
Kids? I lack them.
Then what is it that I fear?
What is inertia? There are two definitions according to the Oxford Dictionary:
a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
It doesn't make sense to fear the second definition, so we're going with the first.
If you read my last blog post, you remember I talked about having a boring, yet stable routine. A reminder below:
I wake up. I work. I play video games. I eat. I write. I sleep.
Can't go wrong with that, can we?
Wrong! You can.
See, the issue is not with the routine itself. It's a matter of choice. That is, is this the routine that you deliberately choose for yourself, or is it one shaped by forces outside of your control?
This is where the second Oxford definition of inertia comes in hand - it's Newton's First Law.
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
What's the object we are concerned about here? Life. (My life in particular!)
What are the forces acting on my life? Family, friends, school, work, etc. All the major things that put my life on a particular, unique trajectory.
These forces are more or less constant, notwithstanding major life events.
However, the key issue is it is very easy to be lulled into a state of "going through the motions." You do the same thing every day, every day starts to look the same.
Every day looking the same means the weeks, months, and years start to blend together.
Before you know it, a decade passes. You're 35 with a house in a location you never liked, a job that you merely tolerate, a wife you struggle to please, and kids you never wish you had (just kidding!).
This is how you get a mid-life crisis.
Before you (I) go drop five-figures on a new car, a gym membership, dating apps, and divorce lawyer fees, remember, things don't have to end like this.
There is another way. Another way, you say?
Yes. This is the way!
This fella gets it!
Coronavirus has shown the failure (and logical conclusion, not end) of America as a nation. The moment when our society needed to act collectively, we could only bicker among ourselves individually.
The social, economic, and cultural forces guiding our typical lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus. Our life trajectories have been shifted, for better or worse.
Crisis provides clarity. Clarity acts as a force to overcome the inertia that has left your life on autopilot. Crises naturally make us cling to what we already have out of safety, instead of motivating us to take the risk to get what we really want.
(Even though my last post was well-received, I suspect some people think I was being overly pessimistic. That's wrong. To be clear, if you're still able to meet your basic needs during this pandemic, and you have the right skills, there is plenty of opportunities to still craft your life how you want it in America. There's still hope for the individual.)
I've been asking myself a lot of questions about whether I can achieve my personal goals in the midst of a pandemic.
The answer is yes.
In a strange way, I haven't felt more optimistic about my future for a long time. The pandemic how little I am in control over in life, but the few things I am in control of are what ultimately matter.
It's somewhat freeing to understand that. That you're not personally responsible for what happens to the country since you have no real, meaningful control over it in the first place.
You only have control over yourself. Your life. Your trajectory.
I won't wake up at 35 wondering why I didn't do more at 25. I'm taking the risks now make sure my best years are still ahead of me.
Inertia is what I fear. But I have the courage to force myself in a different, better direction.