I exist in two spaces. One of them values progress of the self towards a more enterprising individual, someone with great business savvy that knows how to turn a profit and entice consumers. The other world values the individual who follows their passion, uninhibited by what society has conditioned them against.
These spaces have been present all my life, both mainstream and against the grain. Do I do what I want or do I do what I am told? As I grew up, I found myself facing this problem in almost every aspect of my life. I had friends who followed the social hierarchy, and I had friends who were outcasts. I spent Saturday mornings in math competitions and Saturday evenings wasting away at a friend’s house.
Now that I have walked both roads for so long, I feel as if they together have intertwined to define my existence. Like yin and yang, I can’t have one without the other. I ride my bike to save money and gas only to turn around and spend it on a new pair of shoes.
The other day I had an experience that helped me realize what a strong juxtaposition it was. I met with one friend to discuss marketing strategies about a project of his that has the potential to be very successful and be worth millions. His goal is to sell it and make his fortune off of it. Later that afternoon I sat down and had a very similar conversation with a friend who is graduating and moving to Africa to start a non-profit company. Both of these ideas have so much potential and could be very significant to the people that they affect, and I felt very fortunate to be consulted with by both individuals, but I couldn’t help but feel torn. One side of me knows the world where my friends drive a Mercedes-Benz and have a credit card, but the other side of me wants to live in a studio space where I can walk to work and only need to drive a car on weekends.
I’ve been having difficulty lately identifying with my peers on a lot of levels. I am a pretty open person and can definitely related to them in a number of ways, but it never seems that more than one thing aligns. I attribute this a lot to the fact that I grew up very privileged and have already experienced what it is to have, and to have in excess. Because of this, I am working to have less, to live with the minimum and be satisfied. I’ve spent too many years not only yearning for things, but also having them, and that time is over. I went through a similar thing with drinking in high school. I partied with my friends way more than I should have, but was able to get it out of my system. Now I’ve moved on and don’t feel the desire to go and get trashed on weekends.
I’m hoping that as I am able to clear my head and see that everyone has valuable gifts to bring to the table, I will become more aware of the ways I can reduce my consumption and my desires, and instead channel that hunger and creative energy into something that will benefit those around me.