Journal, November 2, 2022

Reflecting back on my life, I tend to think in terms of where I want to be, rather than where I came from.  This seems like a good idea in theory - keep your eyes on the prize, as it were.  In practice, it leads to a constant sense of inadequacy.  Consider, if you will, the prototypical American Dream: I want a partner, a house, health and wealth.  On this longitudinal study of life, I'm not where I want to be.  I'm never where I want to be.  This leads me to experience the occasional sense of dread - "shit," I think, "I'm failing to succeed."  The dichotomous irony is not lost on me.

In all fairness, the issue with this mindset seems fairly straightforward.  Throughout my life, I've grown and evolved and improved.  As I've progressed, I've set and accomplished goals.  As goals are passed, the goalpost moves further and further out.  I know that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind towards - that has never been up for debate.  I'm not where I want to be because, quite simply, that destination is fluid: it evolves into an ever-more-polished version of where I was heading before.

Why, then, not look back towards the path I traveled to get here?  Why not acknowledge when a destination has been reached?  It seems so silly and inefficient, I think.  That's the past, and dwelling on it isn't going to propel me towards the future.  I've got places to go, mind you, and I can't be bothered to wallow in the history of where I was and who I used to be.  I've come too far and worked too hard to slip back into the past.  Perhaps I'm averse to what came before, or perhaps I'm too focused on where I'm going.  One constant is certain - history repeats.  One hope is clear - repeat the success and learn from the failure.  I've come a long way and overcome many struggles.  For all the challenges in life, I've been blessed with opportunities.  There's always a balance; one that tends to tip in my favor, and that has my best interests in mind.  As my mom used to say, the universe provides.

Despite the history of overcoming obstacles, I still sit here wondering if perhaps it's all gone wrong.  Small stresses, anxiety, worries, and tribulations can weigh down like a heavy blanket that suffocates tranquility with concern.  Is it two steps forward, one step back?  Is that step backwards going to drop me off a crag into an endless pit of despair?  It's not likely - historically speaking, I've overcome all odds - but that weight is difficult to ignore.  The struggle is real.

This brings me to the idea of righteousness.

My sense of spirituality can get pretty out there, but one thing I hold as an absolute.  I'm going to do what I think is right.  I don't hold ill will for others - I want the best for everyone.  I want the best for myself.  I don't want to hurt people to get there - I want to help others succeed with me. In no way do I believe that my right is the same as anyone else's - in fact, I can only assert that my right is right for me and me alone, and I don't expect anyone else to adopt what I think is right for themselves.  With that, I believe that so long as I'm doing the right thing, the universe is going to provide.  Doors will open along the way to help me get to where I'm headed.  Do the right thing and everything will work out in the end.  Yes, it's ethereal nonsense and yes, it doesn't have to make sense and yes, it's been working for me.

I suppose these concerns are the checks and balances that keep me on the right path.  Nothing comes easy, nor should it.  One cannot learn and grow without challenge.  A brief glance back to where I came from is enough to remind me that I can handle it.