The search for meaning
I’ve sort of been in a state of artistic melancholia lately (perhaps because of hopelessly dark hours of the year, which I’m spending behind my computer screen, sipping cold coffee). Because of my current life situation, the existential emptiness has really hit me with a triple force this time. It has never been easy going through some life altering changes, and being in between cultures, countries and jobs made it even more difficult, but the recent events of my life have avalanched like a rockslide, crumbling all at once: my family left abroad, I finished uni, moved of out my favorite town and ended up in a horrific, ghetto place, which I called “meth-lab” because of the meth guy who used to live there before me (see my other post). Writing my book for these many long months, being pretty much on my own, without a community to support me or even a desire to do anything was an up-hill battle kind of experience. I often wondered what it means to be human, how much an environment has to do with who we become, and who I am as a person. The isolation from the outer world has come with a price of continuous mental breakdowns, flip outs, depression and what not, but at least I have learned some valuable lessons in life, such as gratitude, acceptance, persistence and finally, following your dreams. I have realized that life is precious and of course, it is very fragile. It is the moments of solitude which often force us to confront our fears and worries, and after I finished uni and ended up in a vacuum of my silverfish infested flat, without going out or talking to anyоне for days, I was suddenly confronted with this heavy as lead, horrible question, “What is the purpose of my life?”
We all very often find ourselves stuck in a rut. In fact, most peoples lives pass by in a sort of semi-automatic mode, consisting of following social norms, and instincts. Life passes by until the day it stops. And I wondered, how many people on their death bed have felt that they were perfectly satisfied with the life they had led? How many even gave it a thought? Was their life just a string of coincidences and random events, just a journey of going with the flow, like a paper ship in an oceans currents??
I, for one, don’t like that idea – I know that my time here is precious, and since the clock is always ticking, I need to be able to everything I came here to do. So I thought really hard about what that was. And I realized that there is no ultimate right answer. Everyone’s purpose is different. Viktor E. Frankl hit the nail on the head, when he said that, “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
I guess, this is what it comes down to. AWARENESS. Realizing what YOUR purpose is and following it. It took me some months of suicidal emptiness, where I have contemplated, perhaps even enjoyed thinking about ending it all, until creativity woke up in me. Death was raw, brutal and just despairingly sad, but I found inspiration in it – so much that I (along with my partner) made a video about a girl addict, living a empty, gray world. She is searching for humanity – but instead she finds poison. It translated all my pain and all the emptiness in my soul so well. But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like -BAM!- and the video materialized. No, I worked hard, many days, many hours, filming in the rain, filming in the winter cold (yes, even getting hypothermia on the way) filming when I had no desire to.. And I have finished it. From all the unsightly, and ungodly things, an artwork was born. (I havent published it yet) That was when I realized once again that I’m an artist and that this is my road. This is my purpose. I need to follow its calling. I don’t want to waste my life on all the things I have to do because society tells me I should, or because I’m scared or because I feel like I’m obliged to. I alone is responsible for my life, and it’s up to me to fight for what I believe in.
I’ve always been an avid proponent of following your heart and dreams, because I think they will take you further than fears of failure. Its always best to try and fail rather than not try at all, because regret might haunt you till the day you die. Understand the importance of time. Follow your dreams. You only have one life, and one opportunity, so use it wisely.