While the minor differences are too many and too unimportant to count, I believe the one thing which separates me from what I remember myself as from a few years ago is the ability to be insignificant, to be unimportant, to be—in the most obvious sense of the word—happy. There was greatness in not intending to be great in the face of a world that runs on achievement. There was courage in the common person, in the nobodies, the people whose lives are rarely well-documented. Not all of us were conquerors, and those who conquered anything at all, did it arbitrarily, almost unintentionally.
It was easy to want some kind of worldly success but far difficult to exist without the subtext of elaborate dreams and impossible ambition. What was I on a random day without my pursuit for the picture-perfect life I could possibly never achieve? I reckon this understanding—or lack thereof—had prevented me from reaching this newfound levity earlier. The delay has only made me more shameless in embracing it. I am basking in the lighter days. I am not without ambition, of course. There are things I want from life. It is human to want. The trick is to not let it dictate your days. It is a dissonance, but it serves well to those like me—who held onto things too tightly.
I couldn’t be too sure about what changed or how I achieved this calm. But something did, and now I am happy, or at least, I have a sort of contentment I cannot put well into words. Words and language were a terrible proxy for our capacity to feel. The word smile pales in comparison to what you see when you see someone smiling, and if you’ll take my word for it, using the longer, more complex word for something is worse. In any case, I could not possibly tell you what I feel in my heart. I only know I have now given myself permission to exist, to breathe. I embrace the banality of life instead of making it larger than it has to be.
In a sentence, without wasting any more words, I’d say it only occurred to me for the first time a few months ago how I could not fail at creating a life that belonged only to me. I found relentless freedom tucked beneath that epiphany. It has not been the same since.