So This is Growing Up
I just arrived back in NYC from a two week trip to my hometown of Colorado Springs, CO. It’s good to be back in the city, but the trip home was necessary for my sanity after this grueling pandemia, which brought with it many new insights. Although insights seem to be all around these days. The longer I maintain my sobriety, and the longer I strive to live fully and honestly as I am - an evolving animal who must self-express, the more I’m able to get my footing on this planet. And that’s the trick really, you just need to steady yourself for this bumpy, doom fest we named life.
Stand in the place that you are, a wise band named REM once sang. Standing fully in who I am moment to moment, which is far from perfectly balanced, allows me to begin to understand myself better. When I understand myself better, I can understand the world better. And better is as good as it gets. There is no fully understanding the world, and there is no fully understanding ourselves, either. You could say life is beyond comprehension! With these big, yet small human brains, we can only perceive what we can perceive (which is always evolving). And while some of us refuse to explore our own perceptions, many of us do explore ourselves and the world and our role within it. This is an overwhelming thing to do, to confront ourselves and the reality we were thrown into so long ago. I understand why we avoid this at all costs. It seems the first chunk of life is just coping with the fact that we are, in fact, alive. But there is a hump, and once you get over this metaphorical hump, you can see all the other humps, and accept that they are doable humps. Yes, everyone I know and love will die. Yes, I too will die. Yes, I have no idea how or why. And okay Life, I will climb over your lovely lady lumps for the sake that I am here and what else is there to do, really, than exist as fully as I can?
And don’t let there be a pressure to being fully who you are. That can become a trap just like all things can become traps when we let them trap us. In response to this dilemma I have given myself a shortcut via mantra: “I exist in waves of contradictions, and will until I die, and in knowing this I free myself from ever having to fully know myself.” When I apply this to my own experience, perhaps it’s only fair to grant the same to other humans. Even the ones who refuse to explore themselves. Because in the end we are all the same, we are all human people.
This magical trip home presented me with an opportunity, which was to finally see my friends and family for what they really are: People. It’s been a slow realization for me, understanding that everybody else in the world is as complex and complicated as I am. That we all live rich, full, often messy and chaotic lives. Even those of us who seemingly have it together possess an entire ecosystem of thoughts and mechanisms raging under their skin, and rightfully so. I’ve been so obsessed with my own growth and my own trajectory that I’ve forgotten how we are each on this path in some form. I scour above from time to time, deeming who isn’t “doing the work” enough, and even who does it too much - but that’s all a game of moral charades which I no longer wish to perform in. We are each bringing something to this world, and that is our own individual lives. Each of us provides an insight to the inner workings of what it means to be human; our own little glimmer from the vantage point we occupy. Our very consciousness, one and all, a speck of dust falling, glittering in the rays of the sun before falling silently into nothingness.
Essentially, it isn’t only me who’s been living and changing and evolving. Turns out we've all been doing it all along, all of us! This changes things, because I thought the life I left behind stood still. I thought home was a place I could always return to. I thought home was a safety net. I thought home was a place where there is always a door open to me, that I can swiftly slip into, deep in the night should it ever get too cold and too dark. But this isn’t so. This recent trip home taught me that “home” no longer exists. Home is a memory; a place in time that belongs to my youth, not as a physical destination to which I can return. Because even if I did return, nothing would be as it was - that time has passed, and home isn’t a place other than my own two feet. And what a dizzyingly important realization to have, that I am grown now, and that my home is who I am, not necessarily where I reside.
So this is growing up. This is doing away with plan B and admitting I'm responsible for plan A. And plan A is whatever the hell I want it to be. There is no one left to blame, because they are just people, the same as I am, and you are, just people. And people don’t always get it right. The best thing we can do, truly the only thing we can do, is admit this. Admit when we get it wrong, which is often. Trust and believe that we can get it right-er/right-ish/more right/less wrong. Know that deep down we are all just particles humming. That the source that exists in me, allowing me to wake each day, also exists in you.
I guess going home after a year and a half of 0 vacation and 0 time spent with the people who raised me, friends and lovers included, showed me that I am already home. I am fucking home. And you are home, too. We are not aliens on this planet, we are of this planet. We are the fruit of the Universe, it grew us and gave us our existence here, even though we make a mess of things. So make a mess. But clean it up. May we make our damned glorious messes, and may we feel so inclined to clean them up, too. Happy homecoming.