Birthdays, Stutters, and Difficulties; Knowing That We Are Not Alone

A few days ago I celebrated my birthday with a few friends and I came to the startling realization that I had no idea what I wanted as a present. I understand that saying something like that reveals a level of entitlement and ease that many don’t have the pleasure of experiencing, but that’s beside the point; I was unable to make a decision and, quite frankly, for the past few days I’ve been unable to make any decision with any sort of ease. Whether it involves meals, how to waste my time, what to write about, or even which movie to review, I’ve been unable to make up my mind.

Looking back and thinking about it further, I’ve also been noticing a trend with my speech; I’m unable to formulate proper sentences and, quite often, I’ll find myself stuttering or lacking the overall vocal ability that I once had (even a few years ago). Some might argue that my inability to vocalize my thoughts is a saving grace, as they are spared hearing the sound of my voice chiming in every few minutes and, while such a point of view is humourous (to say the least), the fact remains that I have been unable to make up my mind (and thus, have been unable to make a decision). Moving past my inability to make a decision, however, my occasional stuttering has also revealed a deeper problem; I’m unable to focus on a single topic.

I should explain, though, that my inability to focus does not manifest itself as an inability to remember events or dates but, rather, that I’m unable to pinpoint a single topic and tackle it fully. I’ll find that my conversations will veer from one point to another with each having very little correlation between breaks, all the while returning to the original topic at hand. Simply put, imagine discussing politics, but then quickly moving to cooking, then returning to politics, while jumping to movies and television, finally concluding with some quantum mechanics. I must confess that it’s because of my wild train of thought that I’ve been putting off writing anything for the longest amount of time. I’m scared that if I write something, it won’t live up to my expectations (let alone those of my imaginary audience), and I’ll enter a rut, not unlike the one I entered a few months ago.

Though, my real fear isn’t so much not writing, as it is writing something that won’t be read which is, ultimately hilarious considering my current set of beliefs. It’s more than that, however; I’m afraid of disappointing others and, most importantly, myself. I’m afraid of not being successful; whether in the eyes of those around me, or myself, I’m just afraid of not being good enough. This article, for example, has undergone twenty revisions and I’ve yet to actually make it past this paragraph. I’m not joking when I say that this is the 21st time I’ve written this one paragraph and I’m most likely going to rewrite it afterward (though I’ll keep this line because I like the way it sounds), not because I’m not pleased with it, but because I worry that my imaginary audience will not like it (I feel obligated to point out the irony in being afraid of an imaginary audience not reading your work, though I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a digression).

Interestingly enough, however, I’ve been smiling for the past few days more than I’ve ever smiled before, and they aren’t fake smiles either; I’m smiling genuine smiles and I’m actually quite happy. Some might suggest that the reason lies within my discoveries. I know what I’m afraid of and therefore I can work toward dealing with the problem. Others might suggest that I’m slowly losing my mind; descending into a state of calm oblivion. Some might even recommend that I’m at peace with my fears and insecurities and that I’ve come to terms with my future and indecision. Where does the correlation lie? What is the meaning? What is the point?

Allow me to reveal some minor details that I’ve also learned over the past few years. Life is difficult; so difficult, in fact, that at any given moment something bad can happen and we have absolutely no control over it. Yes, we may think we can control them, but we really can’t; they’ll happen and that’s the end of that. There will be no discussion and there will be no argument; no forms will be filled out to complain or to provide further detail and, most importantly, this spontaneous event might not even effect you. Therein lies the truth behind my discoveries over the course of my years (however young and eventful): life is 50% Universal Randomness and 50% Free will. This means that, no matter how hard we may try, the universe could still decide to be rude and bothersome and, under every circumstance, it could plot toward our downfall. It’s at precisely this moment that the entire human collective emits a loud groan and asks “So then why even bother?”

We bother because, despite the fact that half of it is random anyway, we have the ability to actively shape our own destinies (or fate, depending on the school of though you subscribe to). Under every conceivable circumstance, we are capable of determining our lives and the directions they may take and that, specifically, is why we “bother.” It’s because we’re capable of determining what is right and wrong and, more importantly, it’s because we’re actually capable of standing up to do something about it. Life is tough, yes, and there’s no doubt that genuine tragedy occurs far more often than comedy, but the one thing we often discover is that we are not as weak and ineffectual as we may believe and we are capable of learning, or adapting to suit our environments. I am afraid of failure and I have no idea what my future looks like and it’s because I know what my problem is that I’m capable of solving it. Not on my own, of course, because I certainly can’t do it all on my own, but I know that I can do something about it.

Though, allow me a final moment to point out a final universal truth: we are not alone. In fact, I can safely say that unless we force others away from us, we will never be alone. In poverty, sickness, heartache, and great devastation, we will always have someone else around us and, so long as we make an attempt, they will be there for us. That, hilariously enough, is the reason why I’ve been smiling so much. Even though I have no idea where I will go or what I will do, I know that I’m not alone.

As always, this has been the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!


  1. your best article by far. only one spelling error. you’ll find it by control f-ing “i t” ;P props out to you

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