There are several ways I could take this post, each of them probably warrant their own post, but I think instead I’ll try combine them. I feel there’s a point to be made with them each in conjunction.
The first is political. For the first three years of my university career I lived with people with largely similar world views to me, very liberal, left wing politics. Though we differed on other political spectrums, we shared similar core beliefs. However two of the people I lived with this year had far more conservative views and this taught me things about myself that I wasn’t expecting. Firstly, that despite extremely differing beliefs you can still get along. In fact, its better for you to try to maintain those relationships. Isolating yourself from those people mean your views aren’t challenged and neither are theirs. I also learnt that so much of your world view, no matter how objectively right you feel it is, is so incredibly influenced by your experiences. People with different views to you are not inherently trying to be nasty people, they are defending what they have concluded is right. A conversation is far more constructive than the current shouting match we seem to have gotten ourselves into.
Secondly, yesterday I had a day of emotional extremes. I had my final submission due for my masters. My stress levels were high, but I was also experiencing mental fatigue. And as it always does, my life had taken a back seat in the buildup to this submission, and the cracks were starting to show. My skin was breaking out, I wasn’t eating or sleeping properly, I wasn’t socialising effective (which as a 90% extrovert is very damaging to mental state) and I’d lost the excitement I used to have for life. I was also in a mode of self-sabotage. With this last submission meant the effective end of my time in Cardiff which has been my home for the last four years. Though it meant freedom and less stress, it also signaled the end of so many things I’ve loved and have shaped me indefinitely. And that’s scary. So its fair to say my mood was rather fragile yesterday. I also had a momentary issue with work in the evening that meant I was going to miss having a final dinner with my house. I was not enjoying life.
Come submission I felt relaxed, freer to make the most of the time I have left in Cardiff. I had a healthy lunch. I resolved the issue with work, which turn out to be an incredibly lovely and productive session. My excitement for the next stage of my life was renewed and I was able to join my housemates at our last meal. We went back home, had some beers on the roof and chatted till the moon was high in the sky. I was on a high. The world seemed more beautiful, the saturation a little higher and the quality on full. I felt like I was seeing everything through different eyes. And yet this had been the same sun, and the same station platform and the same streets I’d seen just earlier that day. What had changed was how I was willing to see the world.
Finally, hindsight is a true blessing. This is probably the final time I’ll talk about the guy from the ‘Experience’ post, I hope. We’re now at the point in the year I’d been working towards the whole time, the point I’d been hoping it would all work out for. But I can see now the signs this was never going to come to fruition were there early on. Humans are ultimately hedonistic creatures. Its difficult to recognise that when you’re into someone that isn’t into you, because you’re happy to ignore these signs. But if contact is being avoided, or feels forced, even if they claim they do feel for you, its not actually the case. I’m not denying their ability to freely say how they feel, because we all kid ourselves when we’re semi-interested. But a connection worth fostering is far rarer than we’d hope, and having interim interests helps keep us optimistic. But ultimately I was cheating myself, blinding myself. And I can see that, now, I shouldn’t have invested the hope I did. As much as it was difficult to even conceive of that perspective, in the long run it would have saved us both from wasted effort.
Sometimes it can be useful to remind yourself that so much of how you see the world is defined by what your brain is telling you, not what the world is telling you. Like how different lyrics of a song can resonate with you depending on what is going on in your life. But its also important to not blame yourself for falling into this trap, because you can never truly escape it either.