I have the most reckless side when I try
I have the most beautiful darkside
I need to find some meaning
Something true to believe in
‘Cause left to my own devices
The beautiful darkside wins
Beautiful Darkside – The Classic Crime
28 years on my pilgrimage.
I guess you’d call it ‘life’, or the more clichéd ‘journey’. But more and more it does seem it’s a pilgrimage. Because it feels like I’m looking for something; looking for something more than just existence, more than just success… more than destiny? I’m looking for significance, I’m looking for meaning, I’m looking for the dots to join.
I’ve never been a ‘do it for the sake of doing it’ kinda person. Neither have I done anything with ‘reward’ or ‘result’ as the main goal. I’ve always felt that when doing something, it has to mean something first, and it has to be intentional. This ‘hard-wiring’ has got me through some ‘sticky’ situations other people usually succumb to; like I’ve never felt what you call ‘peer pressure’ or ‘desire to conform’ or ‘fit in’. I’m also very picky when it comes to friendships, or relationships in general, though not because I feel like you’d be wasting my time, rather I wouldn’t want to be wasting yours. This recipe does make for some interesting interactions and perceptions; like how people assume I’m shy when I just really don’t care for ‘in-the-moment’ conversations, or how I ‘never seem to talk’ but in reality if I did people wouldn’t know what to do with what my mouth would produce. Things that depress other people I can easily brush aside; but the things that put me in a hole are so ridiculously trivial that one would wonder what kind of mettle I’m made of.
See that’s the thing; you’d think that since we’re all human we share the same thoughts, and these thoughts should resonate among ourselves. Or even if the thoughts were different there would be some form of ‘accommodating mechanism’ that would merge all these different thoughts onto the same plane. But more and more it does feel that that doesn’t apply to me; almost as if I’m not human, almost as if I’m from another planet. It feels like I was on a journey from another inter-galactic community, and just made a stop here, at Earth, to search what I’m supposed to be looking for. And the differences aren’t just in terms of what I think would make for good conversation, or what (and who) should be remembered, or even what should be given priority. It goes beyond that; sometimes it’s in the ‘mundane’ stuff like respecting queues, or ‘doing the right thing’ without having to wonder ‘what’s in it for me’. Sometimes it’s in ‘carrying someone across the river’, because you’re ‘tall enough to wade through the water, while the other person would drown in it’. People are so focused on getting ahead; eyes front all the time, not even bothering to look those they are trampling over in their wake, or holding the hands of those who are looking for guidance, even though they’re heading in the same direction.
From my ‘journeyings’ it seems that when people want to do something it’s based on how they prioritize these three things: reward, convenience and necessity. The ‘ambitious’ prioritize ‘reward’, the laid-back (not lazy) prioritize ‘convenience’ and I (with probably most other INFPs) prioritize necessity. There’s nothing wrong with any of the three, only that people see someone doing something without ‘an agenda’ and they are quick to call it a ‘red flag’, a ‘ploy’; that something isn’t right. But I’ve never known any other way to live. Like I remember I was undercharged for some groceries, and when I reported the mistake I was ‘rewarded’ ? Interesting interesting world. And interestingly, the people who could be of least help to you when you need it are the most ambitious, and I’ve met some of the poorest people with the kindest souls. Maybe it’s because the ambitous credit their own strength for their success, and the poor know the feeling of having no one come to your aid when you need it most.
The sad part is that this is indeed a cruel world, and both good and bad people will always be looking for good people to use. No one uses bad people (why would you), and the good ones are in short supply – do the math. But surely all of it – yes, all of it has to mean something eventually.
Being selfless has its scars; you will move mountains, cross treacherous seas, because you felt it was the right thing to do, and in the end if you even ask for a drop of water to quench your thirst you may not get it. The worst response I’ve ever heard was ‘I never asked you in the first place’; how convenient. After all the only man who ever lived right was nailed to a Cross, by same people who were singing His praises a week before.
The thing with taking pieces of wood out of a fire to light paths for different people is that that fire begins to diminish, and if more wood isn’t added to it for replenishment, it could disappear altogether.
As I get closer to 30 I feel birthdays have become less of a celebration and more of ‘time-markers’ on this ‘great pilgrimage’. I’m beginning to ‘understand the locals’ and their patterns of behaviour. I’ve never been bothered about being different, but if birthday gifts are still a thing, it seems that the greatest gift I’ll ever receive from this world is the ‘gift of being understood’.