Recently I’ve been trying to figure out what motivates me. Sometimes, I’ll study/work for hours on end only for the feeling of success that comes at the end. Other times, that feeling means nothing to me, and I loaf around aimlessly. Yes, yes, this all lead to the ever present question of “Why are we here?”
It’s a boring question really. Anything without an answer is boring, unless you choose to make up answers, which can be quite fun. But if we want to know the truth, deceiving ourselves is pointless. And how exactly are we supposed to find the meaning of life if we can’t reliably see past our lives?
When we’re born, we’re little more than a heap of organic materials arranged in intricate patterns. Are we still only that much? Or is there something else, some other quality that makes life full, spicy, fun?
Babies are alive, but it doesn’t seem like they’re really conscious, or at least, I don’t remember being conscious when I was very little. The earliest memory that I have is from when I was about 3, setting up a Christmas tree and opening my presents shortly afterward (though probably not in the same day). As my mom puts it, that was probably when I first started becoming a ‘conscious person’. Perhaps the most tell-tale sign of that happening was me wondering why my brother had received a black toy truck while I received a pink one.
On a quick side note, my memories might be accurate, but then again, they might not be. I once read somewhere that memories are basically library books that we take out, but rewrite before returning them to the shelves. So every time I recall a memory, I’m probably modifying it a bit, though certainly not on purpose.
Anyway, it seems like that was when I first started questioning events in life. Why was my toy truck pink? Why did it smell like cherries? (if you rubbed the top of the truck, a smell was released) I was thrust into life, I began to question events in life, only to find that the answers and conclusions to which I arrived at were all merely based on conjecture in the first place. Of course, I found that out much later.
We’re all thrust into the same position, yet we still form societies. Yesterday, when I was leaving the parking lot for Andre Rieu’s concert, something interesting happened. Everyone at the lot was impatient to leave, yet they still followed an unspoken rule: organize into three separate lines and take turns to leave the lot. From a toddler who is impetulant at having received the wrong color truck, to a conscious person obeying of an unspoken rule, the changes one seems to go through are enormous.
Yet for all of this we are all still alone in the end. No one can make the decision to go to Princeton except for me. Despite the intricate web of society that we weave, we are, fundamentally, individuals. Yes, I enjoyed April Hosting and met countless amazing others there. But neither they, nor my family have that final say in my future.
I used to feel like everything in my life depended on the whims and actions of others. It doesn’t. My life, my successes, and my happiness all depend on my own actions.