What chapter are you on?· 1 min read
If you know me, you know that I love talking about myself. During my three months stay at the Monastic Academy in Vermont, I was surrounded by people who were very good at listening. After some time, I realized I was bored by my voice reiterating the same story: difficult childhood, school, college, immigration, marriage, divorce, burnout, boo-hoo, so sad. Annoyed, I took a week of Noble Silence – intentionally abstaining from any form of communication. This experiment showed me that 90% of everything I say is entirely unnecessary. Read Things I learned at the Monastic Academy for more insights.
We, humans, love stories. It's our favorite pastime—stories about ourselves, others, countries, and imaginary worlds fuel entire industries. Anything I can put into words is part of a narrative I already subscribe to. Denying myself my personal story is denying my humanity. And yet drowning in my victimhood is no way to live, either.
During the following months, I discovered a different story. It felt like one chapter of my life was over, and another chapter had just begun. Today when I need to introduce myself, the story goes like this: New York, burnout, quitting my job, monastery, travel, travel, travel, new job, Austin, aspire to become a therapist. A large portion of prior events all squished together, and many recent events gained more relevancy and importance.
I discovered that I can structure and reinterpret the events in my past to arrive at any arbitrary conclusion about who I am now. I have even more freedom to say what I plan on doing next. It's inevitable that I'm the main character in my autobiography. However, I must also remember that I am responsible for writing it.
I want to leave you with one question: If your autobiography was written one day, what would be the title of the chapter you are living in today?