A few years ago, I had this boss, who became a mentor and a friend. He was a super cool guy, that everyone loved, and he and I just connected on so many different levels. He passed away in 2013 and I still think about him time-to-time, like recently, when I thought about much I’d love to hear his thoughts on this whole pandemic. He was always full of good ideas, interesting perspectives, and he had an ability to calm people in any situation. That was as long as he wasn’t flipping out, because he had a temper too and when he got pissed off, there was not calming him down.
Recently, on my quest to be more peaceful, I remembered a conversation we had. We were sitting in the office at work, and he was just chatting with me about some plans that I had. I told him how I wanted to get out from behind the TV and the computer and see what was out there, implying getting outside more or exploring the world. I went on and on about this “out there” because well… that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to feel guilty for watching TV or playing video games and you’re supposed to want to go outside and explore like they show you in all the commercials, magazines, books, and movies. I needed to start living my “real life” and I had to go find this magical happiness that exists somewhere “out there.”
I thought about all the friends I would make, and the good times I’d have socializing, despite not really caring for the company of people all that much nor do I enjoy socializing for extended periods of time. I thought about how I’d love to hike all the state parks, despite being high allergic to a wide assortment of bugs and living in the very humid South. I thought about all the traveling I’d do, despite not having any money to actually do that. I wanted that life that society told me I should want, and well, I was too young and too naïve to know better.
My boss, who was sixteen years my senior, knew better. He’d lived long enough and gone on enough paths of self-discovery to know there was nothing really “out there.” And being the upfront guy that he was, he told me so. He flat outside: “You know, there really isn’t anything out there, right?” I nodded, but deep down I painted him as a bitter cynic who just didn’t know any better. Boy was I wrong.
I realize now there isn’t anything else out there. The only thing that truly exists and matters is what is going on now and that occurs whenever and wherever you are: inside or outside, in front of a screen or not, etc. Everyone has to find their own balance and in that their own happiness.