Doing what you’re supposed to

I often question the purpose of not doing the biggest and best possible one could do. I don’t want to call it a guiding philosophy of my life; it’s more of a feeling. I’ll walk into a store, and see maybe one or two people in it and question how or why the store even exists. Plenty of stores have tons of people in it at a time, make 100s of sales per hour, whilst this store is making maybe 5. I question if they make any money at all. Then I wonder about small stores in small towns, how do they even function? I find the notion genuinely confusing, despite the fact that empirical evidence suggests that it’s the default stance and crowded store are the exception. Maybe that feeling is an inner drive to be that exception.

At some point my life became a mission to do the biggest and best things I could possibly do. I think this reached a pinnacle when I first started my drive to go to university. I wanted to study physics (and I did for about a year before swapping programs) and in hindsight it’s very clear why. I viewed physics as the highest of all fields of studies, like somehow morally superior. I felt like studying physics would make me the best person I could be. It was about achieving a level of excellence that no one else could reach, it was about being that exception.

Eventually I realized I wasn’t an exception, then I kept changing programs until I found somewhere where I felt like I was. The thing is no one is ever an exception, or at least can’t be expected to be. The simple act of trying to be an exception makes you not one, because almost everyone is trying to be.

By trying to be rebellious and different we are actually just doing what we’re supposed to. Why do we feel such drive to go to university and succeed? An often used argument is an attempt to obtain happiness, but nothing intrinsically about those things suggest happiness. We’re told to be different, but when everyone is different we become the same it that regard. I’m surrounded by hundreds of people, just in my program and in my year, doing the same thing and maybe hundreds seems like a small number of the grand scheme of things however it’s still to large to be able to call ones situation unique.

At some point I decided to just do what I want to do (within reason of course) as one can’t logically deduce what’s worth doing in life and that ultimately must fall back onto your emotions. However it’s hard to separate what I truly want with what I think I should want and I this is where the ultimate issue lies. It’s impossible to separate what you want and what tertiary influences have made you want, and it’s not always in direct ways.

Now I don’t think being influenced or influencing are morally wrong things to do. Simply trying to not trying to influence someone influences them in it’s own way. In many ways we are what we’re influenced by and the most we can do is control what we let influence us and that is what I think is the most liberating part of adulthood; breaking free from blindly being influenced and controlling it. So I guess ultimately I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, doing anything else. I’ve ended up where I am I can’t change the past, I can only direct the future.

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