Drinking Bitter Waters

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I’ve never been much of a fan of coffee and other bitter drinks. Something about having to acclimate to the taste doesn’t agree with me. Why would I go out of my way to learn to like something that has such a negatively visceral effect on my tastebuds? People do it every day though, guzzle down these bitter drinks, learning to love the taste that can from the outset be so unpleasant. Maybe it’s in growing up that we learn that bitter in some ways can be just as good as sweet. Maybe it’s in growing up that we can understand that just because it’s bitter doesn’t mean it’s bad.

We spend our whole lives in a flow, a flow that seems to spin around and around, making us confront our past and future at the same time.  It’s when these to points cross that I understand that I’ve grown, mature in these years of unending experience pushing me forward into the unknown.  It’s when confronted by these seeming repeated events that I understand where I am and who I am.  That these cycles we pass through in our lives show how we can take another path, a better way than the one we had before.  It’s only having gone down that path that I can understand the road that lays before me and choose perhaps a higher one than before.  These cycles though are painful, and maybe I can avoid them outright but to do so would be asking myself to stop genuinely living.
It’s in this unwillingness to deviate from that pain that I know I am stronger. It’s in this statement, one which I don’t know who taught me, the places you won’t go are the ones that ultimately control your life. It’s in strength that I persist forward, it’s in learning that I take the other path. If I were to lay down before these forces and events that call my name and make me remember past wounds and scars than I would give too much power to those forces that are indifferent to my destruction.

It is now that I am willing to drink these bittered waters, ones that before would give me so much anguish to consume.  It’s not that I take pleasure in them, but I don’t avoid them knowing now that drinking them can set me free. I know it’s not the failings of my emotions or callousness of my approach that I am unable to taste the bitterness of my life anymore. No, it’s a change in perspective, an understanding that life though indifferent at times to my wants and desire, is not an outright malicious force. Life is just a tangled web of lives, and stories passed between all the people we meet.  Though they sometimes weave together in ways that we wish, it’s not anyone’s fault when these lives don’t seem to match up. It’s understanding that there may be a better way that requires us to be uncomfortable at times and feel pain when served these bitter waters, but as long as we don’t shy away from it, everything will turn out okay.  It’s then that we can decide what we want to do with these moments, do we build upon them accepting the blood and tears, or destroy them hoping that the memories of our hurt go away along with it. I can tell you that destroying has never left a good taste in my mouth.

Life has a way of serving us these lessons in ways that may not be pleasant. I don’t regret drinking these bittered waters or the path the lead me to do so, my only regret is that I never learned to do so sooner.

An Inevitable Change That Comes With Growing Up

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When we are younger we always dream about the possibilities of what age will bring, the idea that growing up was kind of a mystical force that allowed for us the possibility of infinite things and the attainability of more than we could know. Looking back I don’t feel jaded or pity for my younger self, I don’t think it’s wrong to dream that way, or that my life is so terrible with bills, loans, school, and work that I should think to dash those dreams of a younger self. No, I just think the reality is quite strange you actually experience those things, experience these wonders just dreamed about, a lot of which are more overwhelming in practice but underwhelming in scope.

I think most of this feeling derives itself with cultivated expectations that are never substantiated because of the unrealistic outcome that everything would feel entirely different and new because of the milestone or event having occurred in the first place. I mean, it’s kind of naive to think that we would become substantially different people each time we cross some sort of threshold, change is a slow and meticulous thing that grows with time. Before we know it, everything has changed, but unless we are constantly self-aware, we never notice these small minute influences shifting our lives. That’s not to say that things can’t be amazing, or beyond what we expected, I am in no way advocating for getting rid of expectations, I think moreso what I want to say is that for most things we won’t know how we feel until we get there.

Let me explain it this way, in could weeks from now my sister is getting married, which is very exciting, but ultimately isn’t really strange as she been with here soon-to-be-husband for about 9 years now. It’s almost strange that it hadn’t happened sooner. Now she will be the first of my siblings to get married, though I am sure that my oldest sister would have liked that honor (her turn will come, probably sooner than we all will expect), the feelings toward it are a bit muddled. It’s weird to think that in a few weeks her last name will change, she will be legally bound to another person, she will be moving away, and that who life will inherently be different. But with how are you supposed to feel about that like it’s doesn’t really change who she is in the moment, or how will act. Sure over time I think these things will set in, but I don’t imagine that when the kiss at the alter some mystical force will come down and give them some sort of power up. Or all of us in the crowd will suddenly have this feeling of acknowledgment but I’m sure a couple weeks from then I will have a sense about how weird it is that my sister is now married.

It’s the same for this, in a couple short weeks I’m going to be walking on stage to receive a degree that marks me a master of psychology. I’ll get a ceremonial hood and short speech and lots of pictures, but when I wake up the next day I won’t be feeling like a master, I won’t make breakfast as a master, or even think just like a master just because of it. It’s more because of this two-year process that has already made given me this sense of expertise and accomplishment. A process that has made me understand things I didn’t even know existed and put me through experiences I never thought possible. The hooding itself is just a representation of that, an acknowledgment to everyone else that something has happened. A proof or verification of that effort and time, just as a marriage just ceremonial coalesce and public promise of love between two people.

My point is being that we never really know, life changes in unexpected ways, with experiences never really going exactly as we planned but I think that’s the whole point of dreaming. It’s a desire put out there in the universe, a curiosity wanting to be filled. We chase these things because they’re new and exciting, and though things like graduation won’t make me feel like any different, the experience as a whole has gone far beyond my wildest expectations. So just keep dreaming.