2. What are you most grateful for?
Honestly I don’t think I get enough time to think of this kind of question. Probably because the city I live in is so fast-paced that to even sit down and consider life seems a waste of time (irony). I I don’t think it necessarily does not make me grateful for the people and objects around me, but I just never really make it as explicit as I probably should that I am thankful for their presence and impact.
This question is so difficult for me to answer because when I examine the possible things I may be grateful for, I don’t necessarily consider that one has entire precedents over another – because it is an amalgamation of factors that has led me to become the person I am. Yes, I am thankful for family – but that does not make me any less thankful for friends who are there when there seems to be no family member to turn to. Yes, I am thankful for God – but that does not make me any less grateful for the moments in which trials were given to me that made me question my faith.
Because of this, I suppose the one thing I am most grateful for comes in two parts:
First, it is being grateful for dichotomies, i.e. not only the moments of blissful abundance – my Christmases – but also the moments of vacuous chaos. I believe it is something important to learn as a child – what is and what is not – and something we therefore learn very early in life in books, movies, illustrations and television shows. After all, how will we know what is good without the evil? How will we know the nice from the selfish, the poor from the rich, the ignorant from the informed? It happens in a lot of children’s books and it helps us categorise the world – sometimes too simply.
“Dichotomies are most mischevious when they arbitrarily separate parts of a highly interrelated and complex system.”
― David W. Ehrenfeld
But, additionally, I am also grateful for the awareness that dichotomies are imaginary as well. And this is something I had to painfully learn later on in life in several different lessons. We create these categories and stereotypes for function – to be able to slowly understand the world around us – but to be able to progress we must see beyond the labels. We have darkness and we have light but we also have varying degrees of it and in varying moderations. These shades may not have names, but it does not make their presence less important. I am thankful for the grey areas – the so many degrees of them.
I am grateful for the in-between of dichotomies. If there is any reason for me to keep on living and discover more about myself and the world around me, it is because of this. It is what keeps me writing and reading – and what I love about literature. I’m grateful for how simply complex the world is.
“Life is such unutterable hell, solely because it is sometimes beautiful. If we could only be miserable all the time, if there could be no such things as love or beauty or faith or hope, if I could be absolutely certain that my love would never be returned: how much more simple life would be. One could plod through the Siberian salt mines of existence without being bothered about happiness.”
― T.H. White, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories That Scared Even Me
My favourite books, movies, music and television shows reveal and further complicate the way we compartmentalise the world into its neat categories, and force us to consider the abject, the in-between, the outliers, the hybrids. My life is filled with dichotomies and rejections of dichotomies, and it is this lens of discovery that I am thankful for.
Till next time,