The Designs of Humanity

Sometimes I think about who we are.

Left Out

left out

You know that awful, helpless feeling of knowing that everyone thought of you, but thought twice? These chaps probably spent their lives wishing they could be part of the “normal” crowd.

Now, not many of us have troubles as evident as these fellows, but in a dog-eat-dog world it’s pretty easy to find faults. It could be that you have a funny habit, that you need to comb your hair, or maybe that you’re (forbid the thought) unique.

So, what are you supposed to do when you’re the odd one out? You don’t want to be a tag-along, or a complainer, and the natural response is to seclude yourself and stew. But when it comes down to it, stewing only makes you less personable, stressing the problem.

When I was a kid I learned a trick that helped me to stay positive: I thought about my most loyal friend. While it was natural to say “I don’t have a friend in the world”, this thought allowed me to add an “except…” to the sentence. Even though that friend was seldom around when I felt down, just remembering that there was someone who was still my friend made me feel better—still not great—but better.

Filed under: friendship, independence, interaction, loneliness, strength

Encounters

Have you ever thought about how much you’re influenced by those you meet? It’s easy to see in someone else, when they pick up common phrases their friends use. While we see it in those around us, we often don’t realize that we’re just the same way. However, it’s not just as simple as what phrases we pick up, or even what bigger habits we form. It’s a behind-the-scenes life-changing matter.

Imagine for a minute that you’re a drop of rain rolling down a window pane (pardon the thought that we are mostly water). The window is already covered in droplets, some moving faster than others, and some not bothering to move an inch an hour. As you pass a small droplet, you join with it (minds out of the rain gutter, please). You receive something from it, and you leave a little bit of yourself with it when you go. You’re also diverted at least a little bit. This is how it works with the people we meet.

Now take a step back from the window. As you watch the drop find its way down the window it’s fairly easy to see that the path it takes is far from a straight line. In fact, it’s downright crazy. It could start on one side of the window and end up on the other—or make it half way there and decide to come back. My point is, we can’t just shrug off the things we glean from encounters. One way or another, they make us who we are.

Filed under: droplets, friendship, influence, interaction, metaphor, rain, water, window

Mind-stripping

It is my latest epiphany that the only thing worth living for is giving. Allow me to exemplify this with a little tale.

One night I awoke from my slumber to a voice in the next room. I quickly remembered that my grandfather was sleeping in the next room for a few nights while recovering from medical difficulties. At first it was hard to make out what he was saying, but I soon realized that he was talking to no one but himself, even in his dreams. He became more audible as he continued, mumbling phrases like “music was my life… I used to be so great at it. And now I can’t even play my instruments.” He continued on, his mind dealing with other things he’s lost with his age. “I used to play tennis every day, and now I can barely hold a racket.” I was aghast with the thought that someday I too will be in his position.

What will I say in my sleep? What things will my subconscious take upon itself to unload from my mind as I waste away in my sleep?

Then it hit me. The only things that my subconscious will never have to handle in such a way are those things which I’ve given away. What things in life are so important that we really need to attend to more than giving? After all, we’ll all grow old, and all our joys will be stripped from us… save for one—observing the fruits of our efforts in generosity.

Filed under: change, comfort, decisions, dream, friendship, generosity, helping, importance, interaction, loneliness, losing, loss, priorities, sleep, Uncategorized