Our outlook on life are something that’s constantly changing, even if we don’t notice it. It’s why we often look back at who we were years ago and wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?” I know I do (almost all the time). For a long time, my approach to life has been according to my ideals. I’m lost in my imagination for most of my days, wishing the world would match up to what I dream it to be. It’s been hard to say the least.
So I’ve been doing some soul searching (but you already knew that), and I think I’ve found the solution to my jarred approach to living.
Where it started
Years ago, a friend of mine was struggling with her romantic partner. We were sitting down on the bench when she told me her theory on lovers. She thought that, in life, you will never find someone who is exactly what you want. At best, the people you meet might be 80% what you dream of finding in a person and the remaining 20% will never fit your ideals.
At the time, I remember thinking that’s such a nihilistic way of looking at things. I mean, all those love songs and tragedies have to be based off something true, right?
Years later, I still don’t have the answer to that question, but my outlook has definitely evolved.
A part of me was digesting my friend’s theory for years. Maybe it was in the back of my mind, or maybe it was actively affecting how I see the people I meet. Either way, somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I’ve been thinking about it.
And I’ve transformed it into something a bit broader.
According to my friend, there is no such thing as an ideal partner.I’ve explained it the way I understand it in this doodle:
Although we are, more often than not, made up of a complex fabric, I’ve simplified it down to two or three colors. Let’s say you’re mostly green and blue. You’re going to go your whole life, hoping for someone who’s either green and blue, or at least the complete opposite, like purple and yellow.
The truth is, you’re never going to find someone like that. People are made of complicated formulas, and no matter how hard we try, we’ll never match up perfectly. We each have our own colors that have been changing and evolving inside us our whole lives. It doesn’t matter how much we try, no two people will ever be the same.
How It Applies
For a long time, I thought of this philosophy in a nihilistic way. “I’m never going to find anyone that fits me, so why bother?” With time though, my mind started chewing that up and spitting it out in a different way.
Everyone in life experiences things their own way. Your fabric influences how you absorb and perceive what happens to you. Whether it’s your emotional scars, or your fears and passions, the things that have made you who you are almost dictate how you see things.
For (a very basic) example, my bad experience with the educational system makes me believe all educational systems are bad. Rationally, I know that’s not true, but it doesn’t change my apprehension towards academia.
Your psychological makeup also affects how you imagine things and what you want.
Another basic example, I grew up reading a lot of fiction. My mind is trained to think only in adventure and drama. Whenever I think of a future occurrence, I’m hoping for thrills with it.
The world doesn’t work that way.
That’s why my friend’s theory holds. We are made of very unique things, and our mind internalized and manifested them in ways that no one can mimic. That’s why when we look for a partner, no one will ever fit because we are each dreaming and becoming people that react to their own circumstances.
No two people have the exact same circumstances.
And that’s not a bad thing.
How I stopped feeling discouraged about it
For the longest time, I was constantly disappointed by how people and the world never embodied, or at least matched, the things I envisioned. It use to slow me down, and make me doubt myself. What’s the point of trying so hard if it’ll never be the way I want it to be?
Slowly, I came back to this idea I was introduced to, and it started making sense.
The world was never going to be how I want it to be. That’s plain facts.
We live on a planet made of 7 billion people. Each one of them has their own makeup that is formed by everything they’ve gone through. My mind and heart can only react and imagine things the way they learned over the years. Based on my experiences, I have conditioned my body to live a certain way.
And that’s the trick. Based on my experiences.
Realistically, my outlook on life is informed, at best, by 10% of the world. There are countries I’ve never seen and stories I’ve never heard. There are colors I don’t even know and flavors I have never even imagined. Whatever I wish for, or dream of, is also based off that 10% that I know, but the world is so much more than that fraction.
Logically, it’s impossible to ever get exactly what I wish for, but that’s the best part.
If life remains limited only by what you know, you’ll never experience anything new.
If the world handed you everything exactly the way you dreamed it up, whether it’s in love or work, you’ll never get to experience anything new. With time, it’ll start to feel dull. Why should you go through the effort of getting what you want, if it will only feel exactly the way you expect it to?
For the longest time, all I ever wanted was to get everything I ever wished for. A job that felt like it fit me, a partner that understood me fundamentally, constant love and support from my family, and friends who appreciated me.
But when I think back to that fantasy, it doesn’t feel as special anymore. Sure, I definitely want all of those things, but I would prefer getting them in ways I don’t imagine.
Life is already long and hard. I can’t imagine going through it, knowing what was waiting for me at the end of it.
So what’s the gist of it?
Life is hard, and most times, it’ll be an utter disappointment, but I guess what I’m trying to say is, that’s normal. It’s normal to feel let down because in the end you only hope for what you know. What you know isn’t much, and there’s a lot more out there.
So maybe this is morbid and nihilistic. I can’t even tell anymore. All I know is for the time being, I’m approaching life curiously, not because I’m excited to get something, but because it’s impossible for me to know what’s coming.
It hurts, and it’s scary, but in the end, there’s more to gain than lose.
Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m blue.