You could be anything

October 28, 2017

The first half hour of every day are the most difficult. I sort of have to remind myself who I am and what I’m doing. It’s a lot of work when you think about it. Every day, you choose to renew your commitment to be yourself. You choose to live a day similar to the one you lived yesterday. Really, there are no days. Yesterday is separated only by sleep and the eerie parallel universe of dreams.

For the first 30 seconds after I awake, I am completely dumbfounded.

But it starts coming back to me. I see my bed, and I remember my home. I see my wife, and I remember my love. I see my room and walls, and remember where I am. This process happens so seamlessly, it’s as if nothing happened in between. But I’m on to you world. I know I’m loaded up every morning.

We choose to live the same life we lived yesterday. If there is no free will, there is most certainly the decision to abide by our definition of reality. Because it could very easily be different. You could very easily go off-track, on an adventure that might instantly change your life. You could awake and decide that instead of going to the office today, you’re going to drive hours away from home without a destination. You could decide to walk out of your house and not stop walking until the sun sets. You could decide to travel to another state or country. You could change your entire life, if you wanted to. But you won’t. Fear holds you back.

I’m mostly convinced that fear is an illusion. I’m often reminded of Emerson’s observation that fear and grief are only terrifying in thought:

In the death of my son, now more than two years ago, I seem to have lost a beautiful estate,—no more. I cannot get it nearer to me. If tomorrow I should be informed of the bankruptcy of my principal debtors, the loss of my property would be a great inconvenience to me, perhaps, for many years; but it would leave me as it found me,—neither better nor worse. So is it with this calamity: it does not touch me: some thing which I fancied was a part of me, which could not be torn away without tearing me, nor enlarged without enriching me, falls off from me, and leaves no scar. It was caducous. I grieve that grief can teach me nothing, nor carry me one step into real nature.

I think thinking about something scary is is scarier than actually experiencing that scary thing. You decide who you are every morning, but fearful thoughts keep you in check.

“I can’t just not show up to work—that’s madness!” Perhaps it is. But, what’s the worst that could happen? An awkward conversation with your boss? Or maybe you get fired from a job you probably hate and end up finding one you love? Scary.

Inconvenience is adventure misinterpreted.

I’m no thrill-seeker. But I retrospectively love where inconvenience or rash decisions place me. If every morning you choose to live the same life you lived yesterday, then sameness will be all you ever know. Switch it up. Decide on something new. You are defined by your adventures and the challenges you’ve faced. I like sprinkling a touch of uncertainty on life. It really brings out the flavor.

Every morning, you decide to be you, thinking that’s who you really are. But there is no you. There’s just a body of consciousness deciding to do the same things and feel the same way they felt the day before. You is just a really bad habit.

Don’t mistake repetition for permanence. You could be anything.