In The Middle
Sometimes, when I look back at my times as a kid or as an adolescent, I have nothing but good memories. Life was simpler back then. All I had to do was go to school, get good grades, and go from there. My parents, my grandma, and my housekeeper would handle the rest.
They would take care of the nitty gritty of everyday life. Earning money. Paying the bills. Grocery shopping. Taking out the garbage. Cleaning the dishes. Mopping the floor. All the mundane stuff that I took for granted - they took care of.
Life was good. But, was life always good? Was it all peachy back then? The answer is definitely no. There were trials and tribulations as well. I got into ego battles with friends, that resulted in some unnecessary drama in high school. I was often stressed out about getting good grades and doing my homework.
Life was different - to put it nicely. It wasn’t necessarily good or bad. It was just different. And now, the adult life is a different monster in itself. There is no need to go to school. To worry about getting good grades. To worry about doing your homework.
Nowadays, there is more freedom. More ability to do what I want, whenever I want. It is nice to have. But, of course, now there are other worries that pop into my head. There’s the worry about making money. About paying the bills. About taking care of my parents. About life commitments.
The worry of homework has now been replaced by the worry of other things. Is one thing more important than the other? Again, no. It’s just a different phase of life that I’m at.
And I realize that within every phase of my life, I was doing okay. I wasn’t struggling to make ends meet. I wasn’t homeless. I wasn’t going through a tough family life. I was doing fine and dandy. Not the best. But, not the worst either.
Even now, I do have my own worries and battles to overcome. But, overall, life is still not bad. My parents are around. My girlfriend is around. My friends are around. I consider New York to be a good community to live in. It’s fine. I can live with it.
So, when I reminisce about the “good old days”, I have to ask myself: was it really that good? There were a lot of drawbacks that comes with being a kid as well. There are a lot of benefits that come with being an adult. It’s just different.
Different phases of life. Different struggles. Different dreams. Different commitments. Different goals. Everything is a bit different. That’s it.
When I think about my time at Cornell, I similarly mainly think of my struggle with social anxiety back then. When my grades suffered and my confidence lowered, and I began having trouble speaking in front of the general public. It was a tough time. And they were admittedly bad memories of college.
But then, on the other hand, I had also a lot of wonderful memories of college. Of hanging out with friends in the wee hours of the morning playing video games. Of playing basketball outdoors. Eating delicious food at Cornell dining. Going to the movies in Ithaca. A lot of good times had by all.
So, at the end of the day, was your life really better now than it was before? Or was it really worse off than it was before? Is there a set point that you can refer to?
It seems like everything is all perspective. If you want to see it as good, then it is good. If you want to see it as bad, then it is certainly bad. Perspective is in the eye of the beholder. At the end of the day, you control what you want to think and nobody else. That is up to you to interpret how you please.
So, life is just life. It is what it is. It can be boring at times, and exciting the next. It can be happy on one day, and tragic the next. Chances are, things aren’t necessarily that extreme one way or the other. Your memories can play tricks on you and make you think how everything was fine and dandy. Or how everything was absolutely tragic to no end.
But, perhaps, everything was just simply okay. Everything lied somewhere in the middle. Somewhere between the two opposite end points of bliss and misery. That’s how life seems to work. It’s a mixture and conglomeration of the good and the bad all rolled into one.
We are just interpreting the present and the past however we please. But, at the end of the day, it can be whatever we want it to be. That, in itself, is a wonderful beauty.