For a while now, probably the past couple of years or so, I have made it known to myself and others that if I were to ever do heroin “I’d end up dead in a ditch.” This is not something that I bring up out of the blue, by any means, but it is a conversational topic that I have delved upon with some of those people that I am close to. Though it is a statement accompanied with a cloud of gaiety, it is nevertheless a thing I state with genuine conviction. I honestly believe it is true — at least for the most part.
As you grow older, gradually falling out of adolescence and into adulthood, you begin to grow familiar with yourself. Anyone who is remotely conscious of their self will know what I mean. Given the fact that we spend so much time with ourselves on a daily basis, it’s obvious that we would be forced to recognize our personhood. Though reality can be avoided a bulk of the time, it’s not possible to turn a blind eye to everything all the time.
We cannot ignore reality for all of our lives, especially when it is too late. There comes a time in each human being’s life where they, as an individual, are forced to take a look in the mirror and recognize their existence as a person. For some, this is an ongoing experience that arises as to the result of intentional living. For others, this phenomenon does not take place until just before death. For everyone else, their experience would be somewhere in between.
Regardless of which side of the pendulum we swing, it’s clear that we are all within that process. Whether it be a conscious or unconscious drive, this aspect of life is present within us. It is a fundamental component of the human condition. This cannot really be denied. After all, it is a part of what separates us from other living organisms.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”-Socrates
I used to place a large emphasis upon living an intentional life, one filled with virtue and the like. I attempted to apply myself to worthwhile pursuits, for the sake of fulfillment and meaning. Without elaborating much, I will just say that I was compelled to transform myself into an authentic person within my limited time on this planet. This was within a spiritual/religious context, for the most part, but it was translated across the board into every scope of my being.
Needless to say, I more or less lost the drive that once carried me. My aforementioned ability and desire to pursue the intentional life came from a place deep within. At the time, I probably thought that it was Providence guiding me. Looking back on it now, it appears to be largely thanks to my addictive personality.
For as long as I can remember, I seem to have become easily fixated upon different things. Regardless of the stage or period in my life, there has always been consistency — specifically in how there has been an interest, hobby, habit, etc. that has; in a sense; driven me throughout that course of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that this is true.
These fixations of mine have fallen on both sides of the spectrum: some good, some bad. I don’t mean “good” and “bad” in an ethical or moral sense; I use them for the sake of establishing the impact it has upon one’s own health (in this case, my health obviously). If our habits do not affect or bring about harm to others, then the best way to assess their quality is to examine how they impact our own well-being — mental, physical, spiritual, etc.
What I aim to say with this post is that fixations are replaceable. Speaking from experience, they do not have to last. I am not so sure that the desire to become attached to something ever withers away, but I do know that the object of our affection (if one can call it that) is changeable. Probably the most rational solution is to grow interested in something that is healthy. For example, trade an addiction to alcohol and sugar with an addiction to exercise and water.
Exchanging the good for the bad is easier said than done, but it is nevertheless a worthwhile pursuit. Life is a perpetual ebbing and flowing, driven by an evolving process that guides us throughout our course. It’s easy to fall into despair, under the impression that we will never again be the person that we used to be or never become the person that we want to be. In these moments, it’s important for us to take a step back and breathe.
In my unsolicited opinion, there’s no measurement for living life. Each person is either trying to do their best, or they’re not. I am also of the opinion that most people are trying their best each and every day to live their life sincerely. I hope that this belief of mine translates across the areas of my daily living, as it may allow me to assess the validity of the fixations in my life currently.
If you read this, I appreciate it. I am not sure that it made much sense, but I am just illustrating my thoughts fueled by gas station coffee at 5 am. Hope all is well.