Present as Future and Past

I don’t know about other places, but in Romania there is a tendency to look back at the past and say ‘It was so much better then’. ‘Then’ being before the revolution of 1989 when the communist party ruled Romania. I feel that this is a reaction that comes from the unhappiness with today’s situation combined with confusion and a constant sense of hopelessness. The way that our country is working today is far from perfect, but I still feel fortunate when I think of how my parents grew up. People are having a difficult time navigating the complexity of the social and economic landscape that developed along with capitalism after ’89. From here you get the urge to go back, fleeing from the unknown towards the familiar and unsurprising. The former is a greater evil that the latter simply because it is new.

I always feel a lot of anger when I see young people leaning towards this way of thinking. I can understand older generations being frustrated and unable to adapt to a changing society and economy, as they grew up preparing for a completely different future than what they got. Younger people should know better.

We don’t have the memories of growing up communist, though the older generations still reminisce about those times. I’ve heard so much about life back then that if we were to go back tomorrow, it would not be that much of a culture shock. It would still be a nightmare. The simplicity of life back then is alluring to some. Depending on where and to what parents you were born, you knew where your place was. A job was supposedly guaranteed for you along with food rations and a roof over your head. For all of this people relinquished their rights to opinions, choice and individuality. Going against social norms or having an original thought was a dangerous aberration.

Why do people forget this price so easily?

Right now there might be too many differing opinions going around. The media is’t helping. Most TV channels are owned by politicians or people affiliated with them. Outside of the obvious media manipulation that is not so obvious to those following more than one news outlet (I follow none because I tried and it makes me want to yell) we also have the global epidemic of western media-propelled ideals of what a happy and successful life should look like. Each instagram picture you see, each movie you watch, facebook posts, tags, makeup tutorials, volgs, celebrity interviews and such, are all designed to illustrate what your life should look like. As much as you try, life never seems to match that narrow sum of specific traits it should.

We’ve been told that we can do anything,  be anything, that our opinions matter and our feelings matter, but everything happening outside of our personal conviction that this is reality, doesn’t match that truth. This is how frustrations are born along with anger and the aforementioned hopelessness. The ones who have the strength push back in whatever way fits them better. Some care more only about being right and validating their own feelings, some are trying to have a discussion or do something and some are too confused to even try anything because everything seems either wrong or futile.

I am part of the last category. I know that going back is not the answer. This is all I’ve come up with. Helpful, right? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything you need to know to make an informed decision and there doesn’t seem to be a beginning to all of it. In school we learned history only up to a point- that is when the communist party fell, as if that is all we needed to know. There was no discussion in any of my classes about the political climate today. They left out the conclusion to what they were teaching. That and almost everything else that is relevant to  what a good education should entail, like civic education, emotional awareness, soft skills and hard skills. Fresh out of high-school I received a voter’s card that I was more fit to use in 1848 than today (provided that I was allowed to do so, which isn’t the case, but that’s beside my point).

Informed partially, insufficiency or wrongly, we make our choices while trying to raise our voices so someone can hear them. Even those spending countless nights in the streets seem to be shouting in a void. If it feels like America is divided in two camps, I can only say that seems to be a mirror for the rest of the world, or at least Europe. Division is what we’re engaging in, instead of actively building our own futures. We’re kept distracted with social media and online petitions while behind closed doors decisions are made that will impact us and generations to come.

Information available on the internet from various sources can be a force to be reckoned with. This coupled with Orwell’s idea that hope… lies in the proles, meaning the sheer number of dissatisfied people, might equal change if enough of the population is willing to make the effort. They say that each people has the leaders that it deserves, but change in society logically spreads from leadership and rarely towards it. Can we expect things to get better as long as the people making the choices are the same ones that brought us in this situation or have been molded by them in their own image?

Comfort and safety are at an all time high for humans right now. We’re enjoying a sweet ride, but what will be the consequences that future generations will have to pay for our indifference and submission?

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Approach

There’s always going to be difficult moments to face in life. The way most of us react to those moments is the way of the animal. That is, we instinctively succumb to the path of least resistance and let our emotions flood our consciousness. In short, we flip out. The harder way is usually a lot more productive, but energy consuming. We have the option of meeting hardships gracefully and composed, aware of the feelings they arose but in control.

This is, of course, extremely difficult.

via Daily Prompt: Elegance

The One(s)

Perfect symmetry. Two hands reaching for one goal, working together in harmony. You feel blessed and secure in a perpetual haze of happiness. There’s no need to explain yourself and everything flows in a soft, unperturbed rhythm as you’ve proven the whole world that they are wrong because you have found the one. You never thought that life will bring you here. This is the highest peak of happiness you’ve ever encountered and no matter what, you are not going back into the ugly world of before.

Reality hits, though. You’re right back where you started and ready to go through it all again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. If everything in life is a cycle why not relationships as well? Why do your best to actually get to know someone to their core and appreciate them for what they are? You can oscillate between fully blown limerence and desperate loneliness grasping for something new until it’s too late. Until all the good ones have seemingly gotten away and whoever is next in the chain is suddenly the best through the simple fact of their presence. Not that you’d actually get to actually know them. The version in your head is more than enough.

Until it isn’t. But that’s not your fault, is it now?

Repeat

Looking around I’ve been noticing the striking rhythm of society that everybody is engaged in and complacent with. I never noticed that while I was in school because my daily schedule was changing every four months or so. Being part of the workforce has introduced me to this constant beat of the city I live in. This incessant drum-roll of our lives seems as inescapable as the death that it leads us towards.

Morning- work- lunch- home- repeat.

Morning- work- lunch- home- repeat.

Morning- work- lunch- home- repeat.

Morning- work- lunch- home- repeat.

Morning- work- lunch- home- repeat.

Weekend fun and friends.

Weekend peace and quiet.

Repeat * n.

It has been drumming away on the edge of my psyche and it’s getting harder and harder to bear the realization that if left unchecked and undirected it has the power of rendering my life meaningless. The inertia it has gathered keeps the world hinged on the same track, going slowly towards nowhere. And we’re going the same way.

via Daily Prompt: Percussive

Its not relevant(?)

Think of that perfect moment on your vacation, looking out as the waves break on the beach. All you can hear is the water following its cycle and the seagulls crying their hunting songs in the sky. That moment goes by and you’ll be soon on the plane back home, back to the work- home- weekend routine.

Think of those summer nights when the weather was warm and the air had that dusty- cold smell from the soft breeze that traveled through the trees around town. You close your eyes to take in the quiet song of crickets and the cars driving by in the distance. Think, that you still have a few days left of summer vacation, of doing nothing much, but feel the changes of the season.

I was looking at the cable of my new headset sticking out of my phone on the way home from work. It had a stock photo aspect as the sun was peaking through the window while setting in the west, piercing the glass and giving everything a crisp aspect.  For no reason, the question popped into my mind- what are we made of? My memory retains these glimpses into my past that I can never reach again. They pile up in the back of my mind and slowly create parts of me. Little memories, like stretching on the carpet of my bedroom after being away for two weeks and feeling like everything was right with the world, then the first train ride to Cluj- Napoca to sign up for university and escaping the place that turned form home to prison. I can still put myself inside both of those experiences to process what led from one to the other.

I keep wondering about this, because we experience something, or even the same thing every day, and if these experiences repeated or unique, can shape who we are, how can we really say that we are the same person two days in a row? How do you keep a sense of self, how do you even know who you are when the person you were yesterday had never tasted sushi before, but who you are today absolutely loves it?

This brings me to two other questions, that I’m not sure if anybody has the answer to- if you can’t be sure of yourself, how can you get to know someone else or do you just have to accept them and figure out if you can deal with them or not?- and the second question, which for me creates more of an issue is, if you can’t really get to know someone else, can you trust them?

Identity is so much part of our culture today, but the more I focus on it, the more it eludes me to the point where I’m starting to wonder if identity isn’t society’s own version of the Emperor’s new clothes and everybody is just pretending to know who they are because everybody else is doing the same and nobody has the guts to say that they are just lost. Then I start thinking of the things that have been constant for such a long time- I love Harry Potter and The Beatles, I don’t like sweets with lemon or cheese, but I also used to hate tea and now I love tea. I look in the mirror sometimes and wonder if I talked to myself from 2 or 3 years ago, what would she think of present me? What will I think of myself in 2, 5, 30 years form now?

Fight-or-Flight

The question that rules our lives and our evolution as society is fight or flight? Which one do you choose? Each one of these will lead you to a different result. Each time you make the choice it piles up with the rest of experiences and decisions that make up who you are.

You pick one, you get a result and analyse it. If you got what you wanted or needed, you’ll probably use this structure again. Instant gratification comes and lets you know that the result was what you want, at least short term. And this is where things can go wrong. Sometimes, the immediate result is to our linking and solves the issue, but what if the issue is not resolved, but only delayed. Maybe you won’t have to deal with it yourself, but someone else might have to and their choices might be limited by yours.

What happens next is that your brain registers that decision as having had a successful result and the next time you find yourself in the same situation, you react the same way because your personal history says that that is the way to go. You might become aware, at some point that your are not choosing well, but the moment has passed and you find yourself facing another choice.

The cycle repeats itself over and over as your reflexes take root and overpower the other possible you who might have gone a different way. They fade out of your conscience and lie dormant for ever.

 

Daily prompt- Dormant

Feminism vs Females

On the bus today, during rush hour traffic when children are going home from school and most people are in the middle of Christmas shopping. The buss is obviously crowded. After I successfully punch my ticket I move around to find enough standing space, like most of the people around me.

As I look around I notice a pretty young lady, all made up in the face with curly hair sitting down on one of the chairs and womenspreading her luggage on the seat next to her. I give her the stink-eye and 2 seconds later I hear the lady behind me asking: ‘Who’s bag might that be?’ to which the womanspreader has nothing left to do but reply but ‘Mine.’ I look behind me at the lady as she goes ‘Then ca I please take a seat?’ My Hero.

Please note how easily my little story passes the Bechdel Test showing that women base their interactions on things other than men- like calling each other on our bull shit. Of course the whole ting might be deemed worthless proof of this as the whole time I was thinking of how amused my boyfriend would be by the scene.

Working on it

I think about the future in fragments and I never see it as a complete picture. I like to think of how I’ll have a job doing something or how I’ll live in a certain city or how I’ll have a beer with someone at some bar but these things never really connect. It goes like this: if the weather is too hot around here I’ll think of how I’ll be living in a city where it rains a lot and they don’t get that much sun or high temperatures. I’ll imagine myself buying waterproof boots and big umbrellas and cozy sweaters. I imagine myself people watching in the window of a coffee place, struggling to find parking spaces in the morning and the air in the parks always smelling like wet trees. Or I think about my nondescript future job that happens in an office with so many people that I wouldn’t interact with normally so I always struggle to keep my calm like I’m such a delight to deal with.

I like to daydream about these things, but what it always comes down to is that I don’t really have a plan to deal with life and I have to come up with one. I’ll probably end up improvising anyway because plans, or my plans at least, have a way of being sidetracked, altered or completely shattered all the time. I’ve learned not to try to make long term plans anymore because life just doesn’t follow along unless you really really force it’s hand and I’m not the forceful type. I see these people trying so hard to bend the world to their version of how it should be and it makes me sad. I can imagine the sort of tension and pressure that strains your every nerve and waking second, pushing back against your waning will, making your nerves snap and killing your capacity to enjoy life. I’ve seen this. I don’t want to do this to myself and to the people I love. I’m learning to give breathing space and find peace in it. I’m dreaming happily. I am letting things go.