For some, changes in the calendar are seen as a means for renewal, regrouping, or otherwise regeneration of spirit, hope, faith, etc. For me, I have (as a general rule) rejected these passages of time as arbitrary measures, placed upon us by the powers that be, in an attempt to control our spirit, hope, faith, etc. This New Year, however, I have had a change of heart. In reality, this change has been coming for some time. Over the last 12 months or so, I have been making a conscious effort to reel in my protestant mentality in an attempt to better assimilate to this little mundane microcosm of which we are all a part. It’s not been easy, as I tend to be a bit abrupt in manner and defiant in belief.
I do not categorically reject all that is mainstream, as I am not that much a radical. I have, however, tended to reject what I considered to be the manipulation of humanity. Again, not an active, practical rejection; but more a passive, philosophical rejection. I argue, debate, push the metaphysical envelope, all while trying to maintain a viable existence in the mundane. At my apex, I had a mortgage, car payment, life insurance, 401(k), wife, two kids, a dog, and a cat, etc., all the while arguing against such a prosaic existence. Our lives are dictated by means beyond our control; they pull the strings, we simply act in accordance to their tugs; etc. I was religious about it. I believed to my core there was a better way to live. I believed to my core there are better ways to go through our existence on this planet. I believed there is more out there than what they say there is.
I believe there is more out there than what they say there is. I do believe they pull the strings and we simply act in accordance. However, I wonder if I can continue to believe one way, and attempt to act another. Can I continue to reject what is? Can I seek to live the life of our society while arguing, not only it’s merits, but it’s existence? I think perhaps not.
I was once given a piece of advice by a collegiate mentor, Dr. James Cid Seidelman. I was speaking with him about this very topic in 1997. He was the Dean of the Gore School of Business, at Westminster College. I told him I was confused as to how I could live my life with such discord. He told me I can do whatever I want in this life. I can believe what I want. I can act how I want. However, in order for my beliefs of the system to not get in the way of this life, I, “. . .cannot get religious about it.” That was the crux – maintain your beliefs, because if you do not, then you may lose yourself. However, do not allow your beliefs to overpower reality. Do not become religious about them. Do not become so devout in beliefs, they get in the way of what should be done to survive in this world.
I did not heed his advice. I tried. I’ve tried for the last 15 years. I’ve failed. I have been religious about my beliefs. I have been devout in my antagonism. I have been unable to reconcile my beliefs with the reality of the mundane. I wonder if I can continue to act in such discord and expect to be successful on this plane. I wonder if my beliefs can work for me, not against me. I wonder.