Sometimes I wonder why I even pursue a path. I don’t want this to be some nihilistic, self-deprecating, diahrrea-of-the-mouth, stereotypical teen “wah my life is shit” type post, but it will become what I make of it. I know damn well I have privilege on a global scale, and sure, I am, that millions would do anything short of suicide to take the position I have in the global pecking order. I know I have it good, and I know millions around me in the west share in prosperity.
But I can’t help but resent it, somewhat. This idea that you must be x, or you must be y, the rest of the alphabet is out of the question. My family isn’t this way, but I am. And I don’t know why. I have this urge that I don’t quite fully understand that brings me to labor. Even when I hate staying up until 1 in the morning to highlight 30 pages for biology, I do it anyway. Studying for hours on end is no problem, I just do it. I got up at 5 am over the summer and outlined a 300 page book for one class. It took me 5 hours a day, 50 pages in total daily. I did it in a week. It took the rest of the people in the class took months. I don’t understand this imperative, nor will I ever. It’s not even something I consciously practice, but rather as enrooted in my viscera as my most fundamental constructions of self.
But I’m not happy. I don’t know why I have a predisposition to not be that which it is human nature to be, but I simply cannot. If I take a break from schoolwork that I know I cannot finish at a later time, I’ll have terrible anxiety. I cannot enjoy right now, for constant fear of a terrible then. But I say, what good is then if i cannot have now? What good is it when all thens will transmutate into nows with the turn of time? How can “then” ever be good if it is merely a “now” that will become? So if now is then and then will become now, then it will never be now that I will be happy. So if not now, when? The only answer I can seem to find, is never.
If I spend hours of my time shut away in my room performing work that I care less about than I care about the price of eggs in Tamil Nadu, then what good is it for me? Sure I’ll get knowledge and grades, but what good? I cannot speak to people, sure I use social media, but it’s here and there. I don’t have long conversations, I don’t go out, I don’t do anything not school related besides YouTube and piano. So I ask again, what good? Now one may say “oh well you will have good then, it will culminate in a healthy life as an adult,” but I say again, if not now, when? Then will be now, and if now is always striving for then, then there can be no then because now and then are two sides of an ever spinning coin, each side trading face for the other at speeds faster than the mind may fully understand. What good may there be even if I am prosperous then? I’ve not talked to anyone. I’ve not loved anyone. I’ve simply not. All I have is been. And what good may come out of simply being when no good end may then be? Why should I dedicate my life to prosperity then if I cannot be happy now so as to ensure that my prosperity will not only be monetary, but mentally or socially?
This isn’t a case of “society is shit I want to do my own thing,” teen angst. This is a case of how can we demonstrate that constant laborious action is the best course, when the ill fruits that may come out of it are so large that they cannot help but cause an over boiling of that which we hoped to be a sugary syrup? Instead the sticky goo has gone all over the floor and the stove, while the fire that drove that saccharine substance to be has been snuffed out its own creation, dying as it burns and caramelizes those small drops that have fallen into its grasp.