“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
2012, five years ago. I had just hung out with my college crush who I kind of sporadically dated over our ten year history. We shared a bed after. After we all woke up, she began groping a friend of hers, who was on another bed. After just kind of watching them for a bit, I went over to the fridge to finish a leftover sub I bought before the night began.
Then, tears. Tears because I couldn’t sleep, because my crush had no romantic interest in me, and tears because them groping each other brought me back to a particularly nasty event in my life, that you can learn about here.
But those weren’t the real source of my tears. By 2012, I had lost seemingly everything that provided any kind of momentum in my life: I was living (more or less) alone, the good friends who I lived with both leaving me. The student loan debt bills costing me tens of thousands of dollars were staring a hole through my soul whenever I got them, as if they were laughing at me for not being able to finish college and having to take time off. It had also been five years since I dated anyone, much less been intimate with them, a weird combination of too much time off dating and my “date rust” that I developed. My cat, Blackjack, literally died in my arms just months before. I halted contact with my father’s side of the family because of how much of a failure I had become.
When you feel like you are sinking, you don’t know that you are sinking and more tragically so, you don’t care. That’s when the survival instinct comes into play, and that’s when you regain your innocence and rediscover the curiosity that makes most humans pure. I felt like I lost everything, but because of that, I felt the need to create. So I created things that I cared about. I started naming things constantly, which is a sign of free innocence. I became curious about my love life again and treated it like a game instead of a job. I started making fun of my own depression.
And most important of all, I separated my ego from my values and became even more a minimalist than I have ever been. As of the current day, the most expensive thing I own is my car, which I will have owned for a decade this summer. The most expensive thing in my room is my bedset, which I received for free since one of my buddies works for a hotel. My student loans and a credit card represent all the debt I have. I don’t rent or own a home, I “pay to squat” at one of my buddy’s houses and have done this for the last two years of my life. I am attempting to become what they call a “digital nomad” where I can move wherever I want while making money that is location independent.
There was no funeral for Blackjack. Its similar for most losses I have endured where if there is a funeral, it isn’t heavily populated. No one really cared when he died. And that didn’t upset me. It was something I had known for a long time, since before high school, that the world does not stop when you stop. For the longest time, it troubled me. “If I died tomorrow, no one would care,” I would say. Unfortunately (AND fortunately), I was right. But different from back then, I don’t fight it. I’ve accepted it.
It reminded me of a dream I had when I was a teenager: Myself and a few of my classmates were doing a wall climbing exercise somewhere. I remember letting myself fall to the ground where I began sinking. I started screaming for help but nobody came. As I sank completely, I woke up, heart pounding and sweating. I had no idea what just happened.
Nearly 15 years after I had that dream, I finally knew what it meant. We are all climbing a mountain. We have the choice to climb at whatever pace we want. But we don’t have a choice in climbing. The ground will be waiting there to swallow you, and you also have a choice to let it. But it’s not a real choice. Those around you may stop for a moment to watch your final moments. But because they don’t want to sink, they will keep climbing and you eventually be forgotten. The losses I had to endure in my life have cemented that this observation is true and not disputable. For me, at least.
This blog will cover nearly every aspect of my life from past to present, and the epiphanies, reflections, experiences and lessons I learned I feel need to be told to a grand audience. I still learn new things to this day, and this blog will be dedicated to my own process of learning in whatever craft I attempt.
Life is a mountain. To fully enjoy it, you should keep climbing forever.