Life’s Ellipses: Creating Your Own Meaning
Expectations. Duties. Happiness. Fulfillment. Love. Lust.
Each of these words has their own place in the scheme of things. But, society tells us that, for some reason or another, at any given moment they are oxymoronic. None of these six words have the pleasure of peacefully cohabitating in a sentence that isn’t marred with a grammatical symbol meant to separate and delineate.
I’m sure you’re asking, “Where are you going with this, Keith?” The real answer is, “I have no idea.” When I was younger, I remember being on the playground, going for long walks with my cousin, and choosing a book over throwing a football. However, it wasn’t until I opened the pages of a book that I found the courage to be whatever I wanted to be. I found a similar escape in movies and people-watching. Being only 9 or 10 years old, I would always stare in amazement at how people could be so content with their surroundings. They would experience lust, love, and fulfillment in a glance, and in the blink of an eye, renounce their duties to this newfound happiness based on a miscommunication of expectations – that’s certainly a mouthful.
Herein lies the problem: why can’t these six words seem to be in a sentence without seemingly juxtaposing one another? I guess, if I had the answer I’d be in a long, fulfilling relationship that is care free and I’d be living the American Dream. But, despite the prodding of my peers and the benevolence of my mother, I never really had much of a childhood. By that I mean a childhood defined as the ability to be naïve and carefree, blissfully dependent and living in the moment.
Allow me to bring this to close as I know you’re anxiously awaiting the point of this post. In the moments where you find yourself pensive, try this: think about everything that you were raised to believe about happiness; the expectations that you had for yourself and how they might have changed over the years; how you defined happiness when you were 10 versus now; and think deeply about your current duties and how love and lust have colored them differently over the years. As you sit and reminisce on the good and bad and your heart is filled with happiness or regret, say these words: Damn, that was interesting. It doesn’t make any sense.
When we’re younger, we are like sponges and we are bombarded with and absorb societal notions of love, our familial and lifelong duties, our pursuit of happiness, how we should shun lust, and fully and wholeheartedly embrace love. But, never have we actually been taught how to do any of this. Rarely, unless you have lived more than one life and believe in reincarnation, have you had the opportunity to sit down and figure out where you fit in the equation. But, that’s my point. At any moment, memories can come flooding in and we’re able to be nostalgic, regretful, hopeful, and reluctant to take things as they are.
We have all been dealt a deck of cards and as we play this game of spades with life, even our best tactics prevent us from playing brilliantly. For anyone that has played spades or any card game with a seasoned elder, you know that a game can be won with any hand; it’s all about patience, being one step ahead, and allowing experience to inform each and every move. I encourage you to try this in your own approach to challenges that may arise.
Now, write your own sentence of six words that you never thought could make sense together and separate them with ellipses (…). Moving forward, when you find yourself staring out of the window, blanking out at work, reminiscing on the train, or longing for the love and happy ending you’ve dreamed of, remember this:
Promise yourself to keep it interesting and always accept the fact that none of us really know what the hell we’re doing. But, if you sit still enough, remain quiet enough, and remain open to this simple fact, things will not only get better, but you’ll be able to make sense of things we’ve been raised to think are opposites, for even opposites have a purpose.
Instead of thinking in grammatical periods, use ellipses. Life’s ellipses allow each of these words to play off of one another, inform each other, and color any situation. Live by ellipses, not periods; you’ll have more room to say you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but will have just enough time to realize how you feel and change whatever isn’t working.
Take that with you.
Cheers to movies, tears, popcorn, and great books,