What Am I Doing Here?
It’s 10:54 pm on a chilly Thursday night and it’s just me, myself, and I in this room.
The laptop is staring back at me, waiting for the next move. My mind goes blank and I catch myself staring at the walls, then back to the laptop, walls, laptop, and so on.
Then, out of thin air, a weird question enters my mind. “Why am I doing this?”
This led to the follow-up question, “What am I doing here?”
After letting the questions sink in for a few minutes, I laid back on my bed, gazed up at the ceiling, and pondered if I had any legit answers.
The truth is both of these are really complex questions when you begin to dig into and unpack them. Out of the 8 billion people walking the Earth how is it that I’m right here roaming amongst them? Is my purpose of being here simply to roll over at 8 am, shut off my alarm, hop out of bed, sign in to my laptop, and begin my day-to-day work-from-home duties (i.e. taking calls and responding to emails for 8-10 hours). Work is followed up with an hour-long workout, maybe a dinner date with someone special or possibly link up with one of my regular kick-it buddies for tacos, and end the night by making plans with another group of friends for bites and brews over the weekend.
Add to this the few trips a year to Instagram-trendy locales like LA, New York, and Las Vegas while squeezing in some quality time with the family over the holidays. When the New Years hits, it’s rinse and repeat. To the average person on the outside looking in this is a pretty decent life I have.
But is it really?
As I continue to lay here, lost in thought watching the ceiling fan spin, something tells me there has to be more to it. I think we do a great job lying to ourselves, pretending that this yearly routine is fulfilling. Deep down we know we should be doing more with the limited amount of time that we have left on planet Earth. However, we spend so much of it on the mundaneness of our day job and escaping mindless tasks by indulging in activities that will give us a quick hit of instant gratification, in essence distracting us from taking the time to discover what really makes us tick.
For example, why are we waking up every day to go to a job we may not necessarily hate but we definitely don’t enjoy? Why, once we get tired of the politics, lack of opportunities, and/or pay at the job we’ve been at for 3-4 years do we turn around and search for another similar job only to find ourselves in the same circumstances after the honeymoon (i.e. probation) period is over? Why do we find ourselves hanging with the same people week after week, going to the same local spots, complaining about the same things? We commiserate with others on how much we hate our coworkers, how we never have enough money, how bad our relationships suck, how much we hate dating, or how our families work our nerves. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
Truth be told we will be right back at that local hangout joint next week, same bat time same bat channel, crying over the same drama.
This can’t be life, can it? There has to be more to it.
It feels like as we get older we are all washed up and stuck on the spin cycle. So, I wonder what we are really doing besides wasting valuable time. What happened to our dreams? What happened to the plans we had for our lives? Why are we pretending to be satisfied with this kind of life?
A life that is filled with less real achievements and more regrets.
A life where we choose to play it safe and remain in our comfort zone and never stretch out to explore the unknown.
A life that is filled with the same familiar faces and places versus meeting new people and filling up new spaces.
What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of being talked about by our family and friends for branching out and doing something new rather than the same ol same ol? Or maybe we are afraid that we may actually benefit from taking a risk and abandon the unfulfilled life we are so determined to hold onto even though it’s only gotten us this far.
Maybe we are so accustomed to buying into the excuses that we’ve made about why life is the way it is that we have given up on putting in the work needed to change it. It could very well be a combination of all of the above.
I don’t really know what the factors are that ring true to you so I can only speak for myself and honestly I find myself in transition. I feel myself in a tug-a-war. I feel myself being pulled in two directions, a battle between who I’ve always been and who I am becoming.
However, the sobering fact of this transitional period is that I find myself getting stuck, having one foot on both sides of the battleground. The longer I keep one foot in the past it feels like I’m gradually losing my footing in the future. So, I remain unbalanced as I move back and forth. But I know at some point I need to go all-in on the future and say goodbye to the past. When this shift comes up in conversation with my regular kick-it buds I find that quite a few of us are in the same predicament.
It can be terrifying for us to destroy and rebuild ideologies that have been embedded into us and let go of that way of life. But, if we don’t make a change soon and challenge ourselves to figure out what we want out of this one life we have then what we’ve have now is probably all we will ever have.
There’s a whole new world on the other side of our own backyards just waiting for us to explore but it’s going to require faith, it’s going to require courage to believe in ourselves, and it’s going to require a level of work we are not accustomed to. The reason why we are where we are in life is that we are complacent and that complacency has numbed us to a point of laziness.
At this point in the game of life, we damn near have our roles in both personal and professional lives practically automated. All we have is hop out of bed, show up to the job, and do the bare minimum with a few tweaks here and there.
But living life on autopilot is not life to me.
Life is a challenge. It’s a journey we embark on. We are not meant to just stop right here and hit cruise control until we’re 90. This is the reason why we feel unfulfilled. We are not really living, only existing. We are nothing more than a cog in society’s one size fits all machine, yet we question ourselves ever so often on why are we really here. When we don’t have an answer, that small voice calls out louder and louder, even if we are scared to answer. It is that voice that will demand us to take action and figure out our calling and define our purpose. Answering will shake up the world as we know it, but maybe it’s time to shake things up. Aren’t you tired of just the same shit different day lifestyle?
So, I guess the question remains: do we continue to settle for a life that is mediocre and comfortable at best? Or, do we have the balls to go after the life we know deep down in our guts we are capable of living?
The choice is ours. I know what I’m choosing, do you?
I’m not sure what to make of my relationship with The Bay after all these years. I wake up every morning loving how the velvet sun caresses my face, but feel disgusted as I pass makeshift shacks constructed out of discarded pallets. What happened to the place I call home?
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