Walking down the street on a day like today, with headphones on and music playing to drag summer on for a few more hours at least, with the sun shining warmly but no longer scorching, I detected a spring in my step. I lifted my arm and passed my fingers through the leaves of a tree whose branches were hanging lower than the rest. I got the urge to smile for no reason at all, for nobody in particular. And even though I’d gone through an argument about an hour earlier which still had my mind racing in about 10 different directions, the moment felt as close to perfect as I’d experienced in a very long while. It was a state as much akin to happiness as I’m able to fathom right now, the kind of simple joy that can only reveal itself when you let go of ruminations about the past and worries for the future, and allow yourself to just be.
I think (or maybe it’s more that I hope) that everyone reaches a point in their lives when they make a conscious decision to just be and stop trying so much. I’m not perfect. None of us is. So it’s a thing of absurdity to expect perfection from the one sitting in front of us, yet we still do and end up bruised in the process. Not perfect but enough, and that’s much more important.
How many times have you swallowed your words when in reality there were waves of feelings and thoughts demanding to be given form? And how many times have you pretended to be someone you’re not just to not shatter the image that people have of you?
Once you reach this watershed moment, when freedom to be true to yourself becomes more important than keeping up appearances for the sake of others, there will be disapproving frowns, stinging reproaches and particularly disappointed looks. The biggest difficulty lies in accepting the imperfection, as well as the fact that the presence of a shortcoming unseen thus far does not invalidate a person’s entire character, nor their goodness. Most of all, it is not a personal attack.
We get triggered too easily and too violently these days. From our grandparents’ generation, to our parents, to us and even down to children not old enough to go to school yet. Across all these generations, my guess is that we’re all finally fed up with trying to live up to the expectations of the generation before us and of society at large, and with pretending we don’t have our own dreams, needs, fears and anxieties. I just hope that we’re all also ready to put in the effort to work on the dysfunctional patterns we’ve so far accepted as normal, but have proven to be a hindrance to real emotional growth.