Lunch time. We devoured skewers of the ever-popular Persian koobideh kabob while attempting to squeeze four months of news into a one hour lunch session. Lunch ended.We sat comfortably in his newly leased 2015 black Mercedes Benz and my dear elderly friend navigated his way to Highway 5 heading to the Qualcomm campus.
The car ride seemed to be our peak point. Meaning, my dear respected friend reached max comfort where he held nothing back and expressed his life frustrations. I sat there, like a sponge, soaking it all in while attempting to perhaps prepare a response. I appreciated my time with those older than I as they offer realness, zen and history (my favorite).
As we pulled into the Qualcomm parking lot, a man I dearly loved and respected as a friend and father figure, while turning his head clock wise, says to me … (this is a summary)
Bassil, I’m disappointed with life. I am no longer able to make sense of what is in front of me. I’ve invested countless energy and calories into preparing and planning for the future – investing in people and loved ones, and it has proved to be a failure; you create this beautiful painting in your head of what life, friends and family are intended to be, only to become disappointed. You once felt as if you had it all picture perfect in your head, ruling the world, only to feel rock bottom. I’m depressed, disappointed. And at my age, everything seems complicated. I go to get a haircut, they want my home address, name, phone number, and email address – why can’t I just get a hair cut? I am called weekly by businesses that invite me to dinners to assist me with where to invest my money. I’ve attended and there no longer exists transparency … these businesses are sharks, only wanting to drown you.
My response: dead silence. My silence stemmed from the fact that a lot of what he expressed seemed true. It also seemed close to home.
Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s as if you are running on a treadmill” – implying, you run, run and run, yet you seem to go nowhere. There is no true forward progress yet you burn countless calories.
Fast forward 5 months …
I now question my purpose in life. It is personal and spiritual and not fitted for a blog, but I question how I spend my time, energy and calories. What do I aim to accomplish? What footprint will I leave behind? As I reflect on the past 16 years post-graduation from university, I’ve realized that in many ways I have mastered the art of running on a stationary treadmill. I’ve been sucked into the visionary American dream, only to take on more and more, with the goal of building for the future – to construct a life that is picture perfect, a masterpiece unmatched.
Yet, I feel turbulence … uncomfortable turbulence; turbulence that comes and goes yet remains nearby and has somewhat misguided my sense of purpose and direction.
In fact, this visionary American dream that seemed so picture perfect (I was simply doing what everyone else seemed to be doing) and based on hard work and accumulating exponential responsibility, seems to have created 800 lbs. of stress, worry, headache and problem.
I’m a solider; I can withstand all this. Sixteen years later, it has come at the expense of things I love most: spending time with family, playing soccer, deep sleep without a single worry or concern, and waking in the AM only to ensure I pray and thank the lord before I set foot outside.
At the mere age of 36, I am thankful to feel turbulence and to realize that this turbulence represents what I am not. I am thankful to uncover that I am sailing in foreign waters, and that my sole desire is to be a man of simplicity.
The time has come to part ways with all that detracts me from simplicity and to set course on all that truly matters – health, family, and spirituality. I strive to only partake in functions that feed my priorities. Everything else can be placed on the back burner. My message is simple: don’t let the vacuum of success and American dream pull you away from what matters most. We are often times brainwashed by the distractions in life, which creates a blindfold. A blindfold we tend to ignore or push to the side, not realizing this blindfold may blur our vision.
Take it by the horns and live today as if it is your last – I tell my young brothers and sisters, learn from my journey and blessings; I don’t refer to them as ‘mistakes’, for it has created a spider web of goodness … I, I really … just miss your simplicity, life. God bless.