On Tragedy

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The last twenty years of my life have been so overwhelming. I’ve seen a lot and from a very young age. Looking back at the time that has gone by, I can see that I am walking the same route I had planned for my future. Granted, I didn’t see myself still having a regular job at thirty-five, but I’ve got to say, this life I have works just fine for my writing endeavors; where else do you think I get my ideas from? And not just that, I also met many people who have molded me into a better person.

As the wise men of the world said (and no, I am not counting myself along with them), everything happens for a reason. When I was a wee lad, I didn’t care much for believing those words, but the older I get, the more I am beginning to accept their merit, even in the face of tragedy.

I finally accept that everything is connected. Every page destiny writes it’s teaching us something. Even though I was born in a tiny city south of Mexico City, I witnessed as the towers went down. President Bush did likewise after he was informed. What was he doing at the time? If memory serves, he was at a school, talking to some students. You know what they say: you will never forget what you were doing on 9/11.

Three years after 9/11, I packed a bag and made my way north, as described in my fictional memoirs. The idea of ‘being someone’ has always taken hold of my mind. Being comfortable is almost sinful to me. Once I was on American Soil, I went through the Great Recession of 2008, and many other people did, too. There was a war somewhere in the Middle East (isn’t there always?), talks of ‘the next big pandemic’ started to flood the newspapers. And now? The never-ending problems with the police, and an oblivious president who is clearly more concerned with sharing his next tweet than trying to solve the crisis.

Months feel like years.

I need to take a breather.

Well, after thirty-five years of living on this planet, I think I should be used to it, right?

Those who know me well have listened to me talk endlessly about Stoicism, and how it has helped me see the world differently. I think that the current and chaotic world we live in right now offers me a fascinating opportunity to thrive and take the high road when dealing with anything destiny shoves in my face. Trying to understand the tragedies above mentioned, I only need to take a closer look at the past and see that times like this, hard and unpredictable times, have always existed.

I’ve been thinking of Seneca, one of my favorite Stoics. He went through some much (good and bad) and continued being the great philosopher he had always been. He lost his father, got married, lost his first son, and then was banished from Rome, not once, but twice. Another great philosopher was Marcus Aurelius, aka the philosopher emperor, a man who went through a plague, faced betrayals from closer friends and allies, lost five children, and… and… do you really want me to continue?

What I am trying to say is that we all go through a lot. Everyday. The problems we have do not antedate anybody. We are the next generation, going through our own hell and trying to get out with a smile and do the best we can with what we have. And it is hard, but we just have to keep going. People we love are going to leave us. and yes, that will hurt, but it will also teach us not to take them for granted while we have them in our lives. We have to love as much as we can, so the day we leave, they will always remember us for the good we did.

All through my 20’s I was an obstinate and stubborn man, trying to get ahead, but unable to see beyond my own nose and realized there were things I needed to change and thus become the person I always wanted to be. I feel more centered now, ready to continue pursuing my dreams.

Until next time.

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