The table of contents add another chapter to their pages. This time has come at last. Evolution may not be the way mankind came into existence, but I can assure you it happens in our lives on a day-to-day basis. Naturally, evolution is unnatural; we are given the choice to morph our lives into better versions of ourselves with each passing day. With each day we pass the opportunity to do this, we narrow the distance between our impending death rather than fill the days with something that really mattered. It’s the question of whether or not we want to make our lives matter. I mean, really matter.
A life of significance doesn’t mean that everybody who reads a newspaper knows who you are, or that every woman who picks up Vogue magazine wishes her body were as good as yours.
Truth be told, there’s no surefire way to define what it means to lead a life of significance. It’s something that ought to be individualized in every sense of the game, as no life path is perfect for every person to tread the earth.
Today, I met my goal of making my 100th Kiva.org loan. Kiva is an organization that uses your money to lend to 3rd-world entrepreneurs who are looking to start or add on to their existing business. You can loan between $50-500 and are guaranteed to get your money back within 6-12 months of lending it. I’ve been active in Kiva for quite some time now, and I use it as an ‘active’ bank account where I can keep money that would do little for me in a bank other. At the start of the year, I wanted to have made at least 100 loans by this July/August. For me, this is a bit of a significant moment as I’m realizing the benefits money can provide others, rather than just selfishly using it for myself and the overpriced coffee I’m drinking at the moment.
That being said, I’m learning a lot about what it means to grow up. I’m learning a lot about what it means to be a self-employed 23 year-old guy; the ups, downs, and everyday battles that occur in the world of client appeasement while meeting/beating deadlines.
I’m also learning it’s important to honor your word, while also being responsible for your word even when others are responsible for making that word happen. A good example of this was a project I recently completed for a client, where I had a friend of mine help me complete some of the work. Well, he ended up taking several days longer on the site than originally planned, and I was the one who was left on the hook for the project. Fortunately, the situation was happily resolved, but it taught me the cost of leadership; you must not only know the consequences of your own action, but be able to manage and prepare for the consequences of those under you.
In the past, I thought the idea of starting a business was something that everybody ought to do, or consider. As I’ve grown older, I’m realizing why very few people ought to do it, or why the idea of doing so is completely unattractive to many. There are significant perks to having your own company, but also many costs that nobody ever considers. Unfortunately, I won’t get much sleep tonight as I’m finishing some final work for two people. However, in a world where others judge based on the 0.002% of your life they see, that often goes without mention.
And I’m ok with that.
The biggest thing I’m realizing is that many steps of my life have been taken for nothing other than personal enjoyment/fulfillment. I would still want my Lamborghini even if I knew nobody in the world would ever see it. However, I’m also learning that our lives are also quite complicated. A recent YouTube video reminded me that everybody around us (or we, ourselves) are dealing with issues, inner pain, and the secret desire to be loved. There was no place where this was more evident than New York City. A business partner of mine described NYC as “millions of lonely people in one city” and I believe he is right.
During my time in New York, I remember just how lonely of a place it is. Socially, it was akin to eating large pieces of styrofoam, or inhaling stale air; it would fill your stomach/lungs, but it would not nourish you. Socially, you felt as if you were always being somewhat social, as you encountered tens of thousands of people every single day. However, when not a single friendly smile was returned, or passing glance exchanged, you return to your apartment feeling just as lonely as when you had left.
Such a metaphor for our lives.
Things come – things go. We love – we grieve. We laugh – we cry. We worship – we sin. We grow – we die. Every step of our life is met by opposite reactions that cannot be denied, ignored, or minimized.
“You may soar in the mountains – but the fruit grows in the valleys”
This is where I am coming to appreciate King David much more. David, for all intensive purposes, was manic-depressive in his writing. This is blatantly evident in the stark contrast between Psalm 22 and 23. On one hand, he is wondering why G-d has forsaken him – on the other, he is remembering the good provision of the LORD. Our lives are no different.
The highs are always accompanied by the lows. The lows will soon give way to the highs. Don’t ignore the journey because you don’t like where you are at – appreciate the fact that you, friend, are on a wonderful ride.
Take a leap.