It’s a big crazy world. The more experience in the world that I have, the bigger and stranger the world gets. We live in an age of technological magic where the lines between science-fiction and reality are mostly just a matter of time. One thousand years ago the human world was much simpler. It wasn’t a very fun time to live, by our modern day measures of fun. Children of the distant past were not burdened with silly day to day choices like “What do I want to be when I grow up?” That was an easy one, “I want to live that long.”
Identity crisis is a sign of the times. The huge number of possibilities that people can chase for life fulfillment is staggering. Each and every year new occupations and hobbies are created or reinvented, new paths on the trail of life that already seems to have infinite paths. It seems rare that someone actually knows what they want to do, what would fulfill them. Our modern lives are becoming a hunt for that one path, that one that is best suited to our skills, interests, and desires. What signs people are looking for on these paths differ greatly, but we all really want the same thing. We all want to be on the path that makes us happier to walk down. Limited by our short-sighted human wiring, not many people can really see more than a few years down a path, and even what we can see before we start on the path is not the same as feeling the path under your feet.
Most people don’t just try one path in life. They start a few paths and take a few turns, and often end up back where they started, with the wisdom and experience they collected walking in their circle. A mile walked should never be thought of as a mile wasted. We are the sum of our experiences. Each day we are forging ourselves, or allowing ourselves to be forged, into the person we will be tomorrow. Ultimately it is up to us to weigh our experiences and glean what we can from our failures and successes. The golden path that promises easy riches is probably a trap. People that don’t see that the first time, will usually recognize it the second time, but dang if it doesn’t look shiny still.
I often marvel at the amazing things that technology has given us. Humanity has created a second world, a digital world. Children of today are growing up in two worlds, and inherently accept the digital world as just as real as the real physical world. In many ways, it is just as real as the real world, and is becoming increasingly indistinguishable. People have “friends” they’ve never actually met and “followers” that live on the other side of the world. People seldom have a firm grasp on who they are themselves and the confusion of multiple identities only compounds this. This whole new world is full of brand new paths that are ever changing, and you need a digital identity to walk those paths.
Finding direction is the most important part of doing anything. Without direction, you’re left to be carried down whatever path the wind blows you down. Direction sounds easy, just pick a path that you want to walk before one is picked for you. It’s so easy, just look as far as you can see down these infinity paths and choose the one with the cheese at the end, but hurry up the timer is ticking. The paths people take tend to be following someone they trust or admire, watching the back of their mentor and not seeing the path ahead of them. Some team up to walk a path together side by side sharing the difficulties and rewards, good company can make a difficult trail seem easy. Some stomp forward with enough determination that it destroys any obstacles in their path. Most of us don’t have that super power, but the path behind those people can seem pretty clear. The best of us forge a path and plant flowers in our wake, making the path more pleasant for those that follow.
Obviously none of this applies to me as I have everything figured out and am walking the gem encrusted trail of happy warm times, with unicorns prancing by my sides, the sun on my face, and the wind at my back.