A Memo For Your Twentysomething Apathy

Wake up. Dress yourself in clothes that define you. Give yourself a definition. Mark yourself, so as to fit in, or fit out, or protect yourself by feigning indifference. It is of no consequence. You will be forgotten as time cycles onward, like that wrapper or cigarette carton you threw in the garbage today. You will decompose and your definition will become saturated with synonyms and lost in an etymological junkyard.

Present yourself in the world as an individual. Put on a guise. Convince yourself that your presentation is unique and worthy of notice. It is of no consequence. You will not be given the attention you seek. It is never enough. The eyes you meet will be primarily concerned with their own gaze, as are you. You will never be able to truly see from another’s perspective.

Say something interesting. Read as much as you can. Memorize poetry and paraphrase philosophers and understand world politics. Keep yourself relevant. Fascinate your companions with stories that are tersely told, punctuating the embellished moments, finding the perfect prosody for a concluding joke that will have your audience on their knees. It is of no consequence. The joke will fade in their minds. It will be another memory that they will rarely visit. Your balanced judgments and insightful opinions are minor: a single period within an epic, never-ending story. Don’t be distressed that your knowledge will only ever be a stroke of paint on a vast, borderless mural, one that remains mostly in shadows.

Pretend that you’re confident. Like you don’t care about what others are saying when you face the other way. Act as if you’re above the rest, as if you are special, as if death won’t grind you down into soil. Don’t acknowledge the insecurity that slowly rotates on the spit inside you. It is of no consequence. It is all just fiction, with players and voyeurs, with defenses and strategies: a game that you will play that will be overturned and shoved back into the box and one that will produce no profound meanings.

Construct a coherent system. Think linearly. Find logic where you can, and hang onto it. Let it keep you safe. Let it help you sleep when your room falls dark. Look for meaning and let yourself believe in something. Hope for anything. It is of no consequence. There is no way to articulate the inarticulate, no way to solve a problem that is in a language that no one can understand, no way to order and placate the pain of living in an unsolvable mystery.

Rest. Do not undervalue your work, your motivations and goals, your affections and your alliances. Treat yourself with kindness when you realize that you can’t achieve every damn thing you think will give your life some significance, when another year passes and you still find yourself absolutely alone, when you are struck by intangible emotions of purposelessness, when you have a moment of uncertainty, a moment that strikes you down and leaves you helpless and unable to move.

Wake up. Dress yourself in clothes that allow you to fit in somewhere, anywhere. Present yourself as you are, openly and expressively, without reservation and anxiety. Read every word that you can absorb and discuss those words with vigour. Play the part in the play that you desire, cast yourself in whatever role you like. Submit to a routine that satisfies you and provides a sense of safety. Rest and embrace the mystery that underlies every action and every thought of your whole life. Embrace it.

Embrace it because it is agony being paralyzed by a life lived in apostasy of not just religion, but everything you know, when everything you do is a chore, where nothing seems worth it, where everything is meaningless, where you couple every positive with a negative, where you experience every joy with the premonition of future sorrow, where you know everything will be lost and the memory of your life will shrink into millions of indistinguishable particles. It is of no consequence. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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