Life has been something of a red carpet ride over the last couple months. No, I haven’t been binge-watching Aladdin. I’m talking about the red carpet that stars walk down, the one where all the flashes of light are happening to the point where you almost go blind.
I’ve been having these flashes lately – no, not hot flashes. I’m talking about flashes of clarity, flashes of brilliance, and downright profundity.
Why, oh why doesn’t all of this happen earlier in life? It’s been so freeing, these flashes. Suddenly, new perspectives about life and its meaning are manifested, and I’ve been able to come to the realization that I’ve wasted a hell of a lot of time trying to fix others and convince them that they should see the world as I see it.
What a total waste of time. It’s not entirely my fault, though. Since we were all kids, we’ve been put into boxes so that we think we share some kind of magical DNA with others because of our proclivities. You know the boxes we are grouped in: the jocks, the popular kids, the dweebs, the parking lotters, the braniacs, etc.
So why wouldn’t we assume that life is like that?
As a result, I would try to point out the error of the ways of others, trying to elevate them a bit in their station in life. Maybe it was just a poor choice made along the way or some bad information they acted upon, or even a momentary disconnect from reality.
My reality. Not theirs.
I guess that’s what happens when we’re younger. We want everyone to have the same ride we’re having. But then, somewhere down the line, you come to realize that they can’t possibly go on your journey as they have their own journey to complete. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that we aren’t all in those convenient boxes our teachers, parents and society used put us in.
But then this day of reckoning arrives. You don’t ask for it. It just comes to you. It’s the day you finally realize that you can’t help everyone. Hell, you can’t even help those closest to you sometimes. You’re own sage wisdom and insights don’t mean diddly-squat to someone else because they can’t possibly see the world through your eyes.
There were times over the years when I tried to get people better jobs, jobs that were actually better than them. On many occasions, I tried to convince others that my view on politics, religion, relationships, and literally hundreds of other topics was the correct one and that their own views were based on some sort of flawed logic.
Mind you, the only flaw in the logic was that it wasn’t my logic.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that I don’t know jack-shit about much. As I’ve said to others, I know a lot about a little, but and very little about a lot.
I know very little about the life of others. I can’t possibly know. No one has the same journey. Everyone has different demons to face, mountains to climb and dreams to aspire to, and most important, everyone has their own reality.
On Facebook I see so many people telling others, “well, they don’t really know the truth.”.
Really? Whose truth? Yours? Or the real truth we hear so much about. The one that doesn’t exist.
When I first started out in my career in corporate communications, I had a sign on my office door that had three rules.
- If it sounds good it must be true.
- Perception is reality.
- Truth is relative.
I’ve come to understand that the first two rules are still pretty valid, but the last one, well, I think we’re blurring what is true with what we perceive to be reality.
Stay with me now…
Facts are things that happen. They don’t have a positive or negative charge. They just are. These are things like the sky is blue, man walked on the moon and Tuesday follows Monday. Simple stuff. Facts create truth because they are verifiable and observable.
But reality? You have yours and I have mine. Rain falls, thunder claps. When I was a kid, I actually believed the angels were crying and God was angry. That was my reality. No one, not even my parents could convince me otherwise.
As I got older, the facts changed this belief and many others. That’s the fun part of reality – it can change over time. Now, your interpretation of facts forms your opinions and belief system about relationships, politics, religion and (fill in the blank here) and everything else in your world. The facts are still there, but every person on earth has added their own emotions, experiences, knowledge, morality and beliefs to create their own reality.
The facts are all the same here, but your reality may and probably will not match mine on everything. We are, after all, unique. In the history of mankind, there has never been another you or another me. We are a one-off, not a mass production. We are a party of one.
All the many facts in our world, along with the various views of others about those facts, end up in our Mental Cuisinart, whirring around to create our view of the world. For example, some people maintain we never landed on the moon. Yet, astronuats left mirrors on the moon that scientists could bounce a laser off of to measure the moon’s distance with tremendous accuracy. The mirrors are still there. They can still bounce a laser beam back to the earth.
That reality, that fact, isn’t going to change some people’s views about landing on the moon. So why do you think your opinion, or your version of what’s real, is going to magically sway them about something else?
As I surf the Internet these days, I see so much of the world trying to convince one side or the other that they are the only ones who are right.
Really? How full of yourself can you be to think that you’re the one who’s right? Well, truth be told – and in the interest of full disclosure this is from my perspective, my reality – you are the one who’s always right… but only right for you!
Eventually, you come to the stark realization that all that energy you’re expending, all those false lines in the sand that you’re drawing, all that “truth” you’re sharing, is for naught.
Few people want that flimflam elixir of “truth” you’re peddling from the back of your wagon. What they really want is your understanding, your compassion and empathy, and the recognition and appreciation that they aren’t you and never be you. They are, just as we all are, a party of one.
In the Emerald City, waiting for that table for one back by the kitchen,