The Biggest Secret Of Life

Benjamin Combs
Benjamin Combs

A month ago I was a university student. I woke up at 11 pm, sometimes 2, and I never slept until it was bright outside. 3 am moments were countless and under my desk was a bottle of vodka (Well, that vodka wasn’t mine and never finished but for the purpose of this story, you get the picture.) I bragged about coming home from library at 6 o’clock in the morning on the day my assignment was due and I couldn’t care less about sleep. My fridge never had anything since I didn’t cook. I ate food bought from convenience store and strawberry yogurt used to be my favourite dinner for a week.

And now, I open my eyes at half 5 every day even before my alarms go off and I would hate myself if I didn’t make sure I have a good sleep. I cook my own food because I’m sick of shit food that I know would take a toll on my body. I started to care so much about my body. I work out. My forehead could actually touch my knee again and I could see those two glorious lines where the stomach abs should be. Today I even found myself queuing for coffee in early morning, not for leisure but because I needed it. I needed coffee. Do you hear that? I’d never drank coffee before because it made me feel sick but I need it to stay awake these days.

How typical.

I could already imagine any working person would pat my shoulder with this understanding, sympathetic look on their face and then it would soon be my turn to pat some kid’s shoulder a month on their first office job. That being said, for me, it’s not just about a switch in lifestyle and habits. Life transitions are inevitable and predictable – nothing new to say here. It’s more about watching me change in a way that I’d never thought would be possible and surprised by all the little things I’d never known about myself. It’s about practically getting closer to the version of me that I’d always wanted to become and a life I’d always aspired to lead.

I have seen many people falling short of their own expectations and being delusional about who they are, then the people who float around without any direction, ambition or sense of achievement. They waste their time doing things they don’t really care about and make the same mistakes again and again without even knowing why, how to change, or how different they would like it to be. By the time they realize something – hopefully, they’re already half way through their life, feeling nothing but pointlessness and detachment from whatever they have done, have achieved till that point.

I’m not one of those people. Self-awareness is power and I would say I’m blessed enough to have that power. I know who I’m and I know exactly what I’m doing. I know all too well that sometimes I can’t even lie to myself if I want to. All my actions are intentional and if not intentional, they would be for efficiency purpose. I’m straight to the point because I’m clear about what I’m looking for. However, this level of self-awareness surely didn’t just happen. I have come a long way from confused and conflicted to having my actions finally match my thinking, from doing shit knowing I was doing shit to not doing shit any more.

There were cliché heartbreaks, stupid mistakes, shame, humiliation, regrets, suicidal thoughts and attempts. There were things I couldn’t let anyone know because they got way too personal and cut way too deep. And there are parts of me that I don’t ever expect anyone to understand or love because it’s been 21 years and at times I still struggle to. In a way, I suppose this is the price of self-awareness. It forces me to face my fear, my weaknesses, the reality of who I could be and never be, the meaninglessness of my existence, or at least, forces me to constantly question it. I suffer because I know. I suffer because I couldn’t hide from myself.

Certainly I wouldn’t say I know everything because that’d be silly. Being well-aware of myself doesn’t equate to knowing everything about myself. Not yet. Not now yet. On many occasions I’d wished I could see myself as a stranger, to be an outsider observing me and my interactions with the world so I could have a better judgment of what’s going on without being clouded by my emotions and wishful thinking. I’d wished I knew what to do with this power, with all this knowledge — of who I’m, of others, apart from smirking quietly when I could see through so much ridiculousness at one glance.

At this stage, it is no longer a question of what I want. It’s a question of where to best invest my resources and how to get more out of my potentials. It’s a question of what’s next. I don’t want to be a stupid woman. I don’t want to get stuck with people and at places that don’t see or add more to my value. Though, maybe, on the other hand, it doesn’t really matter where I go because I believe, If I’m good enough, I will shine no matter what, and there will always be something to learn anyway: big things, small things — learn from good people the way to be, from bad people the way to not be.

Recently, I have been struggling to write about my experiences even though I have learned so much. It suddenly hit me that I wasn’t able to write or always ended up sounding pretentious because it’s actually nothing new. Like, love yourself. Or, give yourself the permission to be you. They are all the things that are so easy and common to say, yet you wouldn’t truly get it until you learn it yourself – usually the hard way, then when you could finally adopt it as part of your being, into your daily life, you start to realize how brilliantly simple they all are and how wrong or silly you had been.

I figure that’s the biggest secret of life, the only truth of greatness. I might be wrong but till I could prove myself wrong, for now, I have this strong feeling that it has never been about the big moments, the grand plans, the destinations. It’s all in such simplicity that’s all so brilliant. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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