“There seems to be a kind of order in the universe, in the movement of the stars and the turning of the earth and the changing of the seasons, and even in the cycle of human life. But human life itself is almost pure chaos. Everyone takes his stance, asserts his own rights and feelings, mistaking the motives of others, and his own.” — Katherine Ann Porter
I love to think of human life this way, as one entity rebellious against the order of the universe; the fearless lot of us that dare to defy the perfection of everything around us. It is a wonderful thought, isn’t it? One that makes us want to beat on our chests and exclaim that we are the proud owners of our chaos, mistakes, and our differences. Look at us, the rulers of Kingdom Animalia, hear us roar. However, this is not the case. We are not exposing our flaws as the insurgents of the vast empire of the universe. We are not pounding on our chests prideful in our chaotic way of life. We are hiding under hunched shoulders in cubicles fearful that one more mistake will move us from our office chair back to our parent’s loveseats. The universe is so unfaltering and we are envious of that, because the reality is that we spend our entire existence trying to mimic its order.
There is a chasm that separates the early 20-somethings from the rest of the world. It is the moment in life where it is time to grow up, yet to still be treated as though we are too young to do so. We have been told for all the majority of our small number of years that we can be anything we want to be. There are an infinite number of paths, and we can take any of them. We can be poets, artists, dancers, musicians, innovative imaginators. We are six years old again with that unbelievably beautiful passion in our lit up eyes, with hunger in the very depth of our souls that rises from us when we hear the words, “What do you want to be?” The possibilities are endless! There are so many things to be, to do, to become. Then slowly, as we fight to make our lives as perfect as the order around us, our eyes glaze over and the light is diminished. For we learn that the head nods that are received when we announce that we aspire to be painters and poets are the same nods we receive after the telling of story that requires the listener to be sympathetic. Society looks at those dreamers as if lamenting them.
It is at this point in our lives, most of us fight to be exactly like the universe. We want perfection, equilibrium, balance. We toss away our musical instruments, paintbrushes, and ballet slippers. We trade them in for black and white attire, corporations, and office chairs. We become professionals in the art of telephone calls, Excel spreadsheets, and forty hours of pushing papers, all with the hopes that one day our desks may expand in direct correlation with our paychecks. We become a labor force for jobs that we have never heard of before, and once we learn what they require of us, we detest them. We become a group of worker ants, making society operate so that when we run into old friends, past professors, ex lovers we can fake that light in our eyes and explain how we are adding to the perfect order society expects of us. Take that universe! Take that Katherine Anne Porter! We are making money, starting careers, and following the path we were pushed upon when the world decided to close off the rest of our roads. We want so badly to not be flawed, to not fail, to never disappoint societal order that both our journeys and destinations feel disappointing to us.
I believe it is time we take ownership of the chaos, take pride in our mistakes, and applaud those who swim opposite of the way the current takes them. It is time for our eyes to light up again, for that hunger to take over us again. Societal rules demand we be perfect, as if it is abnormal if we do not become corporate America after college, then marry and reproduce. This is the cyclic order of human life. Break the cycle. Be six years old all over again. Let us be the courageous generation that goes after what we want because we are passionate to our very cores about it, not just because it guarantees us money. Let us fall in love with what we do and who we are, not for bragging rights, but for the fact that we are truly happy! Let us be the chaotic children who grew up to be the ambitious adults who are not doing a job just to prove that we can follow life’s rules, but instead because we can rule our lives.
Eventually we will grow up and as we do the earth will continue to complete orbit in 365 days, four seasons will continue to pass during this time, and over seven billion humans will continue to put on ties they feel constricted by and heels that feel impossible to walk in, to try and prove that the universe is not the only thing in control of chaos.