Thursday, July 2, 2015

This story that leads nowhere: #1 - Him

He has suffered identity crisis his whole life. At least, that is how he felt. All 24 years of his life. Which is not long, by the way, in our eyes, especially to those who are older than him. What is 24 years of existence as compared to 50 years of sweat and toil? Or 75?

"You are still young," they would always tell him whenever he complains about his life. "Still so much to experience." As if that would make him feel any better.

Still, if you look at him in comparison with others, you would be forgiven to question if what he is going through can truly qualify as "suffering". There are those who clearly have a fate worse than his. Much, much worse. Those who fear for their lives every day. Those without access to basic water and food. Those who do not have the luxury to question their identity because each day is a struggle to survive.

According to Maslow, a relatively famous psychologist, only those who have their basic needs met, such as food, water and shelter will have the opportunity to question their own purpose in life. Questioning your existence is a form of privilege, not a necessity. A person would not have the time to think about their purpose in life when the stomach is empty and the throat is parched. You will be too busy trying to survive than to think of questions that do not feed you.

By that token alone, he is clearly not "suffering". He clearly has a better life than a significant portion of people around the world. He has a job. He has access to clean water and food. He can sleep soundly at night in an air-conditioned room. He knows this too. He was taught of this in school.

So why then does he feel so burdened and bothered by this issue? That every day and night, the worry will find a way to creep into his mind, like a persistent bug? That no matter how much he tells himself that his life is good, no matter how much he is reminded to be thankful, his mind will stray back to this question?

The question of whether he is living a fulfilling life?

(To be continued...)

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