The past few months have been great. Things have been moving at a slower pace, allowing me to be more reflective about my actions. Stressors that once existed in Auckland no longer apply - I can take my time, avoid rushing, and still have energy left at the end of the day. Now, I have the opportunity to think about the kind of person I want to be.
When I left university, I felt desperate to do something meaningful with my life. I had spent four years at art school developing a practice, only to realise it wasn’t what I wanted. I needed something to identify with. My idea of a meaningful life was outward-facing, where I sought something to help those around me. Teaching seemed like a logical choice, especially after gaining some experience while in university under my mentor’s guidance.
Teaching went well for a while. I felt that my life had real purpose and a defined practice. I had these young people to help, and we worked together to achieve their goals. It was incredibly rewarding because we celebrated every success, no matter how big or small.
It is only since leaving teaching that I’ve realised a meaningful life should always start with the individual. Teaching was good to me, but it was a mistake to place so much personal value and worth into what is ultimately just a job. I had a glimpse of this when I first met my wife, but it has become clearer in recent months. What matters most are the people who mean a lot to me, my family, my friends, my ancestry - these are significant aspects contributing to a meaningful life. They are what will last even after everything and everyone else has left.
I might have mentioned this in a previous blog post, but that same mentor once told me, “You come into this world with nothing, and after no time at all, you leave it with nothing but the connections you made along the way.” To me, it emphasises the importance of finding your people and how temporary everything else is. In the end, none of that other stuff really matters.
I’m not exactly sure why I decided to write a post like this. If I look at the analytics for this site, there are still a decent number of people who visit and go through different pages (300-400 visitors a week), so I assume that some of those people would also be reading these posts. But I can imagine someone like my past self from a few years ago, struggling through life, trying everything to find some meaning and purpose. If I could speak to that past version of myself now, I would tell them to stop getting stuck on things that don’t matter. Instead, I would suggest looking to family and friends, but also to their birthplace (Japan, in my case), and learn more about its culture and mythology.
I would tell myself, “Stop treating your life as an island - you will feel much better for it.”