Self Awareness Is a Curse

Being honest with yourself isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

By the time you’re 40, you’re basically done. You’re going to be stuck with who you are for the rest of your life, and chances are, you’re more rigid than you think.

If you’ve been single for over 10 years, you’re probably going to be single for the rest of your life.

Almost all of your friends will get married, and become too busy for any meaningful interactions. One by one, they’ll become acquaintances, then strangers, then ghosts.

Whatever job you have now (or don’t have), you’re probably stuck with. If you want to bail, do it now, before you turn 50.

The best times of your life are almost certainly over.

Unless you’re rich or willing to go to a prostitute, you aren’t going to be sleeping with any nubile 20-somethings, let alone having a serious relationship with one.

The aches and pains are going to get worse, and you’ll find yourself healing from injuries more slowly and slowly, if at all.

You’ll begin losing teeth, and your hair will turn grey and start to fall out.

Things you thought happened five years ago actually happened 15.

How can the days be so slow, and the years go so fast?

Even if you’re social, you’re probably less social now, and the pandemic isn’t just harmful in the moment. It’s been going on for long enough to produce life-changing habits, and there’s no end in sight.

Self examination can be helpful, and self honesty can be brutal. Sure there are exceptions out there, but the statistics are against you.

In 40 years, you haven’t figured out how to be in a relationship, and you’re going to suddenly figure it out now? Even if you know what you have to do, like actually putting yourself out there and talking to someone, you’ll find it almost impossible to change, and even if you do, you’ll discover that almost all of the good ones have already been taken.

The only ones left are people like you, and living with yourself is bad enough. Even if you manage to find someone and want to have kids, do you want to be raising them until you’re 60?

Remember those dreams you had? Of becoming an astronaut or a doctor? It’s too late.

It’s possible you’re going to live to be 90, and judging from the way things are going, you won’t be able to retire, ever. You’ll probably still be paying off your student loans.

As depressing as your life is, what’s coming next from the world is even worse.

The last time income inequality was this high, we had a Great Depression, about nine years after a previous pandemic, and it might not even matter.

Permafrost predicted to start melting in 2070 is already melting, and they’re going to be hundreds of millions of climate change refugees by 2050. And we all know how much America loves immigrants.

We’ve had the answer for over 70 years, and anyone who’s researched the issue thoroughly knows that nuclear power is the only feasible option. But people are irrationally afraid of it, so countries around the world are trying to close plants down.

I used to think that the most unrealistic part of Superman was the Kryptonians refusing to listen to their scientists. They had been warning everyone for decades, and everyone just sort of shrugged.

A questionable new pill to “cure” baldness, or help you lose weight? You have to jump on that shit, pronto.

Destroying the earth? Meh. I’ll work on it tomorrow. Or maybe next year.

Human beings are absolutely remarkable. When it comes to the petty, we’re idiot savants, but anything important, like our one and only life, we throw in the garbage, day after day, year after year.

A Vulcan in a similar position would kill himself. If each lousy day is the same as the one that preceded it, the only logical conclusion would be suicide.

We don’t live life, we endure it. And we do it to ourselves.

Modern technology has made all of us Cassandras, and we’re still in the same boat. We know what’s coming, yet it changes nothing. We become frustrated with the world and other people and most of all, ourselves, and still, we change nothing. We have more sympathy for cats and dogs, and sadly, probably rightfully so.

We can’t change ourselves into one of the blissfully oblivious, so we do the next best thing and just stop caring, or at least try to, but that growing disquiet inside just won’t shut up. Even if you manage to become apathetic, you’re miserable anyway.

We could solve almost every major problem on earth tomorrow, but it’s easier to tell ourselves that it’s impossible and do nothing. And so it is.

People who are happily in love don’t think about these things. If you want to meet a lot of single, angry people, go to a protest rally. It’s the only reason most of them are there.

We all know that we’re going to die. Whether you believe in God or not, our time here is pretty much meaningless. But unfortunately, we can still feel pain. The dangerous part of living each day as if it were your last is that it probably isn’t. Quitting your job and chasing your dreams sounds great in theory, but you’ve still got to eat.

Self awareness is a curse, but I’d still rather have it. As morbid as all of this sounds, knowing it and facing it at least gives us the chance to change, and it isn’t all or nothing. You don’t have to quit your job, you just have to chase whatever tenable dreams remain a little bit more slowly. Just because life is meaningless doesn’t mean you should live like a buffoon, but it might be helpful to remember when you’re hesitant to approach someone you find attractive.

Tomorrow, the mask and the pandemic be damned, I’m going to go out and talk to an actual human woman. If all goes well, I might even ask her out. I have scars that I’ll eventually have to explain, but I’ve been using that as an excuse for far too long.

It’s been years since I’ve approached anyone new, but I can’t live like this anymore. So tomorrow, I’m talking to someone. Maybe the cute girl who works at the bodega. But if I do and she shoots me down, I’ll never be able to buy bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll from there ever again. Still, there are plenty of women out there, so tomorrow it is.

Or maybe the day after.

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Writer, Recently Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Click here for books:

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