About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Listen and learn: The metaphorical hump

In my last post, Ignorance is bliss, I wrote: "I'd say that most people...[a majority of the time] are happy go lucky, but on down days, they sulk and get depressed about their lives, and in many cases, once a person takes that first step into deeper thought, along comes a so-called 'mid-life crisis,' where that individual wonders who they are. Ultimately, my realization gave a lot of credence to the saying: 'Ignorance is bliss.' Many people choose to ignore or cannot think so deeply, and by doing so, they 'fool' themselves into bliss."

In my conversation with 'Kevin', I delved deeper into this thought with him. We concluded, as I wrote earlier, that there are a number of people who choose to ignore deep thoughts, fearing what ultimate truths they may find buried within their minds. Most of the time, people in this "group" live life in a happy go lucky manner; however, they do have down and depressed days when life is not so good, bad things are happening, or, perhaps, they're just contemplating their lives and not liking what they see. From here, there are some who forget about the bad day and move on, and there are others who continue along that train of thought. Those who continue onward may reach a stage in life, which many refer to as a "mid-life crisis" (in my opinion, these crises happen multiple times at any point in one's life), where they will contemplate and criticize many aspects of their lives in an attempt to find self-assurance, confidence in their "path", and, finally, inner peace as they come to terms with their lives.

In reference to the title of this post: one's final inner peace comes once a person gets past what I call "the metaphorical hump." Imagine a mountain representing this "metaphorical hump". Each step upwards towards the peak takes effort, and as you get higher and higher, the trek becomes more and more difficult. However, when you reach the top, you feel accomplished, and the trek down the other side is a breeze.

Now, let's apply the same principle to deep thinking and finding inner peace. As you open your mind up to deeper thoughts about yourself and your life, you may find some truths, such as realizing that you don't like the way your life is going, that will hurt you at first and make your journey up "the hump" extremely stressful and painful. Just like climbing a mountain, each step you take delving deeper into your thoughts, the more difficult it will become. However, after a lot of hard work, you will begin to discover ways to make yourself happier. These ways can be anything from finding a good and helpful solution to your so-called "issues," learning to accept something that's happened, finding a purpose for yourself such as family, a new job you love, or a hobby, opening up to your friends and family, reconnecting with someone, etc, etc. There is no right answer nor is there a general solution for everybody. By thinking deeper about your life, what makes you happy, and what gives you purpose, you (and the people close to you) can find suitable ways to improve the way that you feel and look at your life. Through this process, which I have experienced first hand, I think that you will become more mature, more worldly and accepting, and an overall happier person.

For all you visual learners, here's a little illustration/graph I made for this point:
Note: Difficultly of Acceptance, Levels of Contemplation, and Stress are all positively correlated. I.e. as one increases, they all increase and vice versa.

This graph conveys that each process of getting over "the hump" truly is different for each individual. All the individuals start out young without any deep contemplation whatsoever, but they later deviate by quite a large amount.
Person A: A begins to contemplate his or her life very early on and is most likely very mature for his or her age. A works through this highly volatile mental stage in life and settles at a level of contemplation that he or she feels comfortable at for the time being. Then A finds him or herself at another crossroads where he or she again finds room for improvement. A further works on finding mental peace and stability and finally settles at a much lower level of stress.
Person B: B falls under the category of "ignorance is bliss." B either is incapable of such mature and deep thinking, or he or she chooses to ignore any such thoughts.
Person C: At first, C is reluctant to open up to his or her deep thoughts and contemplations. He or she continually represses those thoughts until much later in life. Then C works past his or her metaphorical hump and settles at a comfortable stress level.

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