The first thing is: don’t be scared. You’re being flung into a world that’s running about as smoothly as a car with square wheels. It’s OK to be uncertain. You’re an adult in a time when the leaders of the world are behaving like children. Where the central image of the day is a terrorist one: humane concerns inhumanely expressed. And the only response to this is impotent fury. If you weren’t a little uncertain, I’d be nervous for you.
They say it all takes time. Time will heal all wounds. In fact; all time takes, is time…
As you get older, the only thing that speeds up is time. But if time is a thief, time also leaves something in exchange: experience. And with experience, at least in your own work you will be sure. Always love the ‘work’ you do. If you always put your heart into everything you do, you really can’t lose. Whether you wind up making a lot of money or not, you will have had a wonderful time, and no one will ever be able to take that away from you.
A Golden Rule for a tarnished age: be fair with others, but then keep after them until they’re fair with you.
It’s a complex world, and you have to learn to make distinctions. A peach is not its fuzz, a toad is not its warts, and a person is not his or her crankiness. If we can make distinctions, we can be tolerant, and we can get to the heart of our problems instead of wrestling endlessly with their gross exteriors. Once you make a habit of making distinctions, you’ll begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in. If you challenge your own, you won’t be so quick to accept the unchallenged assumptions of others. You’ll be a lot less likely to be caught up in bias or prejudice, or be influenced by people who ask you to hand over your brains, your soul or money because they have everything all worked out for you.
Be as clever as you can, but remember that it’s always better to be wise. And don’t be upset that it takes a long, long time to find wisdom. Like a rare virus, wisdom tends to break out at unexpected times, and it’s mostly people with compassion and understanding who are susceptible to it.
Life, for the most, is absurd and meaningless - unless you bring meaning to it, unless you make something of it. It is up to us to create our own existence. No matter how loving or loved we are, it eventually occurs to most of us that deep down inside, we’re all alone. When the moment comes for you to wrestle with that cold loneliness, which is every person’s private monster, you want to face the damn thing. You want you to see it for what it is and win.
No one much talks about nothingness any more; but the world itself is filled with it. Whenever that sense of absurdity hits you, be ready. It will have a hard time getting hold of you if you’re already in motion. You can use the skills of your profession and other skills you have learned to dig into the world and mould it into better shape. You may try to clean the air and water. Or you can try to make the justice system work. You could try and bring the day a little closer when the rich and privileged have to live by the same standards as the poor and the outcast. You can try to find out why people of every country and religion have at one time or another found it so easy to make other people suffer. (If you really want to grapple with absurdity, try understanding how people can be capable of both nurture and torture; can worry and fret over a little girl caught in a mine shaft; yet destroy a village and everyone in it, with hardly the blink of an eye.) You can try to stop the next war now, before it starts, to keep old men from sending children away to die.
Oh, how I pray you find your true meaning.
There’s plenty to keep you busy for the rest of your life; and there is no promise that this will ever completely reduce that sense of absurdity; but it may get it down to a manageable level. It will allow you once in a while to bask in the feeling that all things do seem to be moving forward…
(With gratitude and credit to Alan Alda)
"You think you can move further from Me when you are not listening, but how can you move further from your Self?"