I’ll be turning 25 in a few days. And I found a shiny silver curl in my beard one morning, coinciding my ‘silver’ jubilee birthday.
For a moment it was an overwhelmingly humbling reminder of my mortal and frail life. It was as if I could already hear the first faint mocking cries of old age and death from the distant future. 25 long years of innocence, anguish, happiness, beauty, and suffering have passed. I’ve indeed learned a lot in all these years. But I have not the faintest idea of what I have yet to know and learn.
Soon, the existential questions surfaced- Where did all those years go? What have I accomplished in these years?
I reflected back on the years I’ve wasted. Wait a minute, wasted? How do I define life being “useful” and life being “wasted”? I realized I bought into the idea I often get advised by people around me, who say that if I’m not working a 9–5 job, I’m “wasting my life”.
But how does working for someone not count as wasting my time? What actions in my life would make it worthwhile to be called useful? What would give meaning to my life?
The actions that made me feel like I’ve wasted my time are the things I didn’t really care about but did nevertheless for pleasing my teachers, parents and the society in general.
Most of it was a complete waste of time, including college. I would have learned a lot in those 4 years of my graduate studies if only I had taken the road less traveled, doing the things I really care and am passionate about.
The only times I wasn’t true to myself are things I regret the most.
Those are the only times i felt like I’ve wasted my time/life on.
The pursuit of purpose: Defining success for myself.
Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it.
But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy.
“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…”
“I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves — this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty.
The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.
Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts — possessions, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me …. contemptible. Continue reading “The world as I see it- Albert Einstien”