I guess there comes a time in everybody's life when they realized their pacing for the maturity race petered off to more of a sluggish crawl. And when you think you're leaps and bounds better than you were just years ago, you look back at your life and realize that you've actually hit a low point, you were just too drunk to notice.
No, this is not my admission to being a raging alcoholic, I'm not (alcoholics go to meetings). And no, this isn't me confessing that I had no reason to start or maintain my position on some of the arguments in my life. But this is an admission that things went horribly, horribly sour.. and I haven't really understood why. Well, that is until recently.
No, this isn't a funny piece, but I think my audience here will respect what I've got to say. A majority of you don't like me for at least one of the many reasons I'm about to list. This is going to be whiny and dumb, and I hate to give you the satisfaction of reading my admissions, but alas- it's therapeutic for me, and I just love posting private things in public places. Call it a fault.
I'm a software engineer, and work in computer diagnostics. I'm an analytical person who sees problems in his life, and looks for root causes. I like to solve problems, and so I take apart problems piece by piece until I understand the parts. I treat almost all of my problems this way, and I've always believed it to be superior, (the most optimal) way to solve life's problems. I have had little regard for the emotional ramifications of my decisions. I was raised in a family where thinking quickly was required, I would quickly trace through the chain of possible events during each decision, and I expected the same from all participants in my unfortunate story, but it's not really how the mind usually works, but color me clueless. Maybe it's true after all, perhaps my social skills lacked.
When I saw somebody cross me, I had every right to be upset. I don't think I was unfair in determining when I had been crossed. There were some times with good friends, girlfriends, or family, where a line was crossed and I found it necessary to take appropriate action for myself. The problem was determining an appropriate action.
I spend a good portion of arguments dedicated to communication. I spent a good portion of relationships dedicated to communication. Perhaps what I had to say wasn't the brightest, or the right thing to say, but I was always open about communication. I always spoke my mind, without really considering the emotional fallout it would cause with the people around me. I treat problems very analytically, you see- I imagined others would follow suit. My complaints would brush by their logical sensors, and they'd agree or disagree. I never considered they'd be hurt. I still have no empathy for others. I don't know why I can't feel empathy. I wonder what it is.
I found situations unworkable when I found that people would stop considering logical argument and instead either shut off, or leave. It's a blessing and a curse, my ability to debate. I get so unreasonably angry when the conversation turned to incoherent crap. I could argue for days, and I felt the only resolution was for one person to have a better point.
Don't get me wrong, my position isn't that I held a correct point of view my entire life- and others around me would have to bend to it or get bent. Though most of you reading this probably think just this about me.
I had a dedication- to a fault- to reason. To rationality. And when presented with a better argument, one that refuted my position, I would yield. You don't think I'm open minded, but I try to be.
But I didn't see emotion as a coherent argument. And it will never have a place at a proper debate. My mind marks problems solved or pending, and I cannot find rest to settle it unless it's dealt with accordingly.
It became a very exaggerated way of life. A life of extremes. Perhaps I held people emotionally hostage, threatening to cut off all contact with those that refused to apply rationality.
I'm not a tyrant. I wasn't blasting away on my human-targeting lasers with little regard for life on this planet. My goal was ambitious, and had virtue. I am a very logical and consistent person, and if you've got a brilliant point that I just didn't see, I will accept it! The problem is how I went about this. Most people saw me as an attack- which I probably was. Nobody deals with life like this.. and it doesn't mesh well with reality, does it? I'm sure I've said to myself on more than one occasion- "Look at me, I'm so fucking logical that I've got LITERALLY no friends!"
My approach was just shit, wasn't it? People were not problems that could be solved like computer programs. And there's just nothing genuinely good about somebody who does that. I'm not sure if I had ever found a balance before- but it seems to me I certainly didn't have one for most of my adult life.
This was the fundamental problem I faced. I am an extremely logical person, and not very forgiving, and not very nice.
I donít want some of you reading this to think, oh look, Robbieís taking the blame for everything that ever happened. But you were there too. I am not directly responsible for how anybody in my life acted, and this is not me taking responsibility wholesale for things that went wrong. But I can see why this attitude of mine became a burden to those around me. And I can see why there was an emotional reaction. And whatís worse, I can see how I missed the reaction each and every time. I just donít expect people to think differently than I do. Why canít people see things my way? If they did, they wouldnít get so emotionally invested Ė and so emotionally detached from me, right? Right? The fact that I considered this line of reasoning is just to demonstrate how absolutely out of touch with people I truly was.
All you can do is identify and grow. Thatís all I can do. I want to say that one of my best qualities is to be able to change when I identify a problem. I can turn on a dime. And thatís because I live my life by the code of logic- and when something makes sense (or doesnít), my mind becomes restless until I fix that portion of my life.
I will always be analytical, and Iíll always believe in the superiority of logic. Rationality allows me to make smart decisions- and even lead me to realize the problems in my life caused by it! I will never abandon this form of reasoning- it is who I am. It is what I am. But clearly there were some adjustments that I needed to make. Frankly, even I was getting sick of me.
In 2008ish, I entered into a perpetual state of existential crisis. This caused more problems than it solved. I had just recently realized the fallacious nature of religion, and having grown up in a Christian home, I found myself re-evaluating the basis for my values and morals.
Unfortunately, I couldnít tell what morals or values I wanted to keep, and which were because I was raised that way. I guess this is the ďfind yourselfĒ adventure everybody talks about. The complete bullshit I thought it was, turned out to be pretty much true. I stripped away all my preconceived notions, and questioned the very basis of reality. What are we? What is consciousness? What is life? Who am I? What makes myself me?
At this time I dropped anything that made me who I was. I dropped the very qualities that I liked about myself. I was so interested in finding an optimal solution, my mind wouldnít rest until it determined the most logical basis for living life, for having values, for making decisions.
Many of you probably caught the problem here. If I donít believe in god- then I understand the relativity of morality. And if thatís true, there is little reason to have a set of morals, except for ones you prefer. Preference was a slippery topic to which I was unable to grasp. I love optimal solutions. I love logic and rationality. But preference, preference was a decision. All else being even (or close thereto), I could choose chocolate or vanilla, with perhaps unforeseen consequences- but no way to look back and consider I had made the appropriate decision based on the information I had at the time- only a way to regret.
My indecision was a bigger regret than any decision I couldíve made back then. But I was so paralyzed by the fact that I had to now think for myself. All the adages I grew up with, false- the world was a cold bitter place, and I knew less then than I did at ten years old! My face wasnít going to get stuck if I made a funny face, swear words donít send you to hell, and there is no universal law of marriage. People were just here, on this planet, making the best of it. And I was a lost puppy.
Most of the few people who stuck with me this far started to leave. I was depressed, confused, and simply didnít know what direction my life should take from that point. I was unsettled, with no solution. I was disconnected, and drunk more than I shouldíve been. And although I was completely honest with the people around me, my problems were impossible to bear, for me, and for them. It was emotionally abusive, and unfair to everybody I knew. For this, Iím truly sorry.
I have, however, recently gotten through the depression, a new man- even! And in the place where my lack of values sat loudly like taxi running the stop sign of my life, I now have a working set of values. I have decided that what I need to be in life, is a genuinely good person: The one component thatís been missing from my life since a point that I can recall vividly.
It was a breakup, and I was young. I felt so damaged that indeed I saw the public as the enemy. I did what a good engineer does. I identified the system, and started building rules to encounter various forms of damage that may occur in the future. But the damage I wanted to avoid was emotional hurt towards me. I had never known so much pain from somebody so close to me; I wanted to avoid that like it was death itself.
And the problem was that I brought that baggage with me to every show. And you-know-who-you-are, I apologize for entering into a relationship on the defensive. I saw you as potential love, but I saw you as the enemy. The one who might some-day have the power to break my heart, to cause that pain again. Oh, yes, my defense: The rules that I had constructed, the life that I had planned out, the intricate ways I thought to interact with my surroundings. I was the king of the fortress, ready for battle. Thatís right, ladies, take a stab. You would never reach close enough to puncture my heart!
Lot of good that did, my defense. Because it didnít do one bit of good. If anything, it did nothing but damage. Damage to everybody.
And the one thing missing, was me actually trying to be a genuinely good person. I didnít have that. And it wasnít fair to anybody.
Donít get me wrong, I wasnít evil either. It wasnít all bad times, my life. But the things that did go wrong, I can identify them here. And with this I can plan to grow. I can continue to grow. And I can be a good person to everybody I encounter. I will get hurt, and hurt is part of life. But spending all my energy avoiding it hasnít done a lick of good, but itís kept me from doing good.
So, to those who faithfully stuck with me through this crisis, I am so glad that you did. I needed you there more then, than any other time in my life. To those who didnít stay with me- I understand. Boy howdy, I understand. I donít hold it against you. I hope you donít hold it against me.
If you were somebody who thinks I hate them, or somebody who hates meÖ if this message reached you and you understand, or if you just want to say hi, I encourage you to contact me. Text me, call me, message me on facebook, or leave a comment here. If you want to know more about the values Iíve taken on, or who Iíve become- contact me. I think youíll discover Iím a different person. Existential Crisis: Over. Life Begins.
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||FredFredrickson @ 05/10/11
"You can contact me here:
||SpIkE @ 05/10/11
"Bravo, I'm proud of you."
||FredFredrickson @ 05/12/11
"Also- I'd like to thank all the people who read this and contacted me. It means a lot thanks."
||JC_OOD @ 05/19/11
"Glad to hear you're self-healing. It's hard, I know that first hand. But, it's worth it. Keep in touch, I like having you as a friend. We all do."
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