I don’t know why I feel so calm about it. About how soon everything is going to change. About how I have only a few short months to make my future certain. I can’t afford to let fatigue take hold now, but I’m so tired. Unbelievably exhausted. It’s been years of damn near constant tests and forms and essays and mocks and revision. If I said that a part of me doesn’t want to give up and do anything else, I’d be lying to you. A part of me is questioning whether this is even worth it any more – but, I know it’s too late to ask that. I’m too far in already.
I’m exhausted beyond belief, and I want to give in. A sick part of me wants to throw it all away. But I can’t. I’ve come too far now. I’ve already committed myself to my own ambitions. If I quit now, I’d set a precedent to myself that cowardice is acceptable. I already did that before. I won’t do that again. I need to leave here.
I’ve been here for over eighteen years. A change is long overdue, at this point. I’ve done everything I want to do in this city. I’ve grow up here, this city has made me who I am right now – but it won’t ever make me who I want to be. If I give in, I condemn myself to being trapped here. The city that swallows up the lost and the broken and the dregs. This isn’t a city for a man to make a living or a name for himself, or at least not a decent one. The idea of living and dying within the same ten mile radius sounds horrifying to me. Why would I ever want to, when there’s the entire world out there?
I know, rationally, that my life may not go how I want it to go, but if I don’t at least struggle to make my dreams and ambitions a reality, then they’ll never come true. So long as I struggle and push on, there is a glimmer of hope that I might one day find what I’m searching for.
I know that the way ahead isn’t clear. For the longest time, this has been the endgame. This has been the victory, but I know that isn’t true. This is just unlocking the door to a whole new, more arduous path. And I know that, for the most part, I’ll have to face the future alone. At least for a while. Fuck the lone wolf attitude. Being a lone wolf is an excuse for the immature and those unwilling to attempt to reach out of their self-condemned isolation. Being a lone wolf is for the coward that can’t handle pushing the boundaries of isolation and run the risk of external rejection. I can’t let myself close off like that, to shut the world out. That’s not what this is about. Isolation is an armour. You can retreat to isolation at times, but to purposefully shut out the world is to admit weakness. That you can’t handle the idea of someone rejecting your ego, or risk opening up to others.
The reality is, as alluring as the appeal of being a “lone wolf” is, when I think to some of my most complete moments, they haven’t been the ones I spent sequestered away, trying to act stoic and isolationist. They’ve come in the moments of human connection forged in the most unlikely of people. Speaking to the crying girl in the corridor, and making her smile. Talking to the boy that hated himself, and letting him see light again. Helping a stranger on the bus pick up his shopping. Talking to a fellow traveller during a bus delay about her life. Moments I risked the safety of isolation, and let myself be open to other people about who I am as a person.
Of course, some people didn’t like who I was, or who I am, for various reasons, and that’s fine. Because they can. Hating me isn’t an incorrect opinion. It’s just an opinion. But I don’t live for the people that hate me. I don’t give all my best to those that hate me. I save the best parts of myself to those that accept me for what I am. And what I am to each person is slightly different, but they are all subtle reflections of who I really am.
For years I always struggled with the question of whether or not I’m a good person, but now I’ve realised that’s a facile argument. The real world is more complicated that just good people and bad people. Some people may think I’m a bad person. Some may think I’m a good person. But all I am, is a person trying to do his best with the information and means available to him. I try, wherever possible, to reduce suffering and share joy. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. But what matters is that I keep trying, I keep struggling to be the best person I can be. Being a good person or a bad person isn’t a static definition. It’s a variable. People have different ideas about what good or bad are, and where the line gets draw differs from person to person.
What matters is that I try, in and of myself, to be the best person I can be, and that I keep struggling to be a good person by my own definition.