It is the mark of an educated mind to acknowledge a thought without necessarily accepting it.
Things that DON’T make you special or unique in anyway:
- Liking classic rock.
- Drinking tea.
- Watching classic movies.
- Taking “artistic” photos.
- Preferring old rockstars over guys your own age.
- Preferring skinny pale guys over muscular tan guys.
- Being shy, “awkward” or “socially anxious”.
- Not wanting to be feminine.
- Preferring to be indoors.
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary (via 13neighbors)
This is your 19-year old mother speaking. I have always had a theory that the values one establishes from 18 up to one’s 20’s are the most crucial—after 30, these values leave barely spare room for alterations. I know this because it appears to be a recurring theme with almost all the adults I know. Adults are hard headed; after acquiring a specialization in their chosen craft and after through such linear thought, it just goes down to show that the importance of alleviating loneliness and seclusion of thought. For fear of this (memory failure and the natural hardheadedness as one ages) happening to me, I have made this letter for you. If, in the future I seem as cold and rigid as my father was, this letter will serve as a minor compensation for the things that I have missed out on teaching you. I predict that my career-minded self might not abide by the framework of mind that I am living up to as of the moment, which is why you need this letter—to show you how I would like you to perceive the world and how to conquer life day by day.
So here, I provide you to a window to my sacred psyche, a passageway to the rationale of my ideals. I hope you realize the weight of making this letter is for me, because I have always had a slight fear of transparency—this certain aversion for being readable. To be known inside and out so much so that people’s predictions of how you becomes a reflex, does not at all seem appealing to me.
But for you, my daughter, I will take on the liberty of carrying out this task—Just as Machiavelli lead a generation of Princes. Here, I shall provide you with a series of letters expounding on what I deem to be the most important things to remember as you live your life. This first letter is focused on a small scale of influence first: YOURSELF.
There are times I wish I had been born from between the pages of books, from the leaves of some ingenious prose written in some forgotten magical attic. I longed to own an asteroid constructed from the mind of Antoine De Saint-Exupery, despite how ephemeral. Do you remember the days of your earlier youth when you would fall in love countless times? In my younger days I remember falling in love for fictional characters. Oh, those glory days when the fabric of reality was neatly intertwined with the strings of my imagination, more than most kids. An insignificant portion of my care went to passing my grades from my elementary days. I just couldn’t care less—I was fully content with my self-constructed alternate reality. I read and read to contend with what was real.
I didn’t understand the implications of being introverted and extroverted, back then. As I grew, this imaginative side of me became less prominent. During my adolescent years, it more and more appeared that society left the introverted behind and placed the extroverted at the forefront of what life had to offer. They were “the cream of the crop”, so to speak. I, myself aspired to be at the heights of being extroverted. I admired a certain type of people. Charm became their capital, and these were my favorite capitalists. There will be something in doing everything for the first time. The freshness of an experience acts as the chlorophyll to an event, the way it gives every new escapade a dash of color. Everything will see in the lens of excitement. Routine becomes your only opponent, and when it comes, you must prepare yourself.
At the peak of this height, you will feel absolutely nothing. The thrill of being extroverted will be nothing but a tiring vortex of parties and a black hole of two dimensional friendships. Slowly in your life you will realize how this swamp of nothingness will creep up on you if you fail to decorate your life with purpose and reason, the way some introverted people seem to do so strategically. It might take a while for this epiphany to develop. Wake-up calls come in handy here. You will begin to realize that side by side with extraversion, the need to constantly need to revisit your psyche. Do your rounds, check your wires. Decide where you stand in this world and where you intend to go.
Alongside this quest, you should pursue a side mission of being different.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel precisely lived this way. Her rise as a fashion avatar was a final goodbye to the corseted female silhouette. The excess frills, fuss and constraints so cherished by earlier generation of women were now passé. Her style aesthetic sharply reflected parts of her personality as well. She was a classic smoker, a habit so condemned by the context of her time era. Her adherence to simplicity in terms of how she carried herself was unperturbed by the shocked stares of the elite. She did not seek to be an unforgettable iconic figure, but from the way she refused to frame herself within the boundaries of society, you could see feminism give color to the skin tone of her cheeks. She furnished Chanel no. 5 with a tinge of empowerment.
It becomes clear, therefore, that man was born free, yet everywhere he is in chains. Let not the chains of society constrain you. Consistently push for beyond what is average and take the initiative to embrace learning. Don’t think only when you are confronted with problems. Illuminate yourself with the new and the radical. Never close yourself up to selected perspectives.
The ideal Renaissance man during the Victorian era had this theme for his life during your age. It’s a pity we encounter less and less of their kind as we move further into the future. They attempted to learn and question everything—traits that became less desirable at the onset of the industrial age. I’m not necessarily requiring you to learn everything, or even a little bit about everything, but I want you to inherit this flaming passion for learning itself. This passion will increase your willingness to look at and listen to the finer details of life.
By wanting to learn, we begin to consider most, if not all events as necessary, thus shedding light on the purpose of history. We begin to yield a cosmic view of all the events that had to transpire for certain defining moments in history to take place. The ability to stand atop of this view is to be worldly, and I invite you to see this view. What is the central purpose of seeing this view? Why do you have to want to learn? Simple. Practical application.
Getting hurt will begin to feel less painful when you see the necessity behind it. You will begin to understand the opportunity cost of bigger living. When you see the worth of learning from day to day events, from people of all ages, races and languages, a sense of purpose inside of you swells. It revamps your idea of how life should be, of how your actions could cause a paradox in the lives of others.
This whole outlook alone is the first step towards life but wait for my next letter.