“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
I saw these sentences written somewhere. I don’t live as though I might die tomorrow (trying and failing to be more spontaneous), but I learn and experience – in a solitary way – constantly. There is no time that I am not trying to inject some kind of information.
A recent acquaintance, despite a surface-level tenor and brevity, gave me pause for in-depth self-reflection. There have been some rough things in my life that I’ve attempted to bury. The acquaintance, by launching into rapid-fire, almost interrogation-style questioning, prompted a lot of buried feelings to bubble up.
He didn’t really seem to care about the answers to these questions (which also makes me realize once more the value of active listening, being heard, detail and memory – and how much I do not relate to people who don’t care about these things). But I understood suddenly that I have to start to confront and deal with more of these rough things.
I also came to understand more acutely than ever what a serious person I am. That is not to say I don’t have fun, laugh, joke or have a sense of humor. It’s just that I am not the kind of person who feels the need to disconnect from heavy subjects or depressing ideas or concepts to decompress. In fact I seek out the heavier things purposely and immerse myself in them. I do not want to be distracted or distant from the inevitable pain of life.
It takes all kinds, of course, but I am going to spend my spare time studying Hungarian, reading about business psychology, devouring books about algae (and never shutting up about them afterwards), doing demanding degree programs that have almost no professional application whatsoever, and watching thought-provoking and often sad films and series in a host of other languages. I mean, I once longed to see a film about nomadic people trying to get one of their camels to lactate and accept its baby. I whined about missing its theatrical run for months before finally getting to see it.
My tastes are difficult to share and, for many, insufferable. I know this is not going to be for everyone – people are, for the most part, never going to share my unusual interests. But maybe I am finally accepting on a more finite level that they don’t have to – and I don’t have to share theirs.