I am a walking paradox.  My whole life I have never felt like I fit in, I’ve never felt like I “made sense.”  I’ve never liked the same type of music or movies that everyone else liked.  I was watching South Korean cinema when I was in high school, listening to obscure heavy-metal, folk, and progressive music.  I considered myself an atheist at around age 14, a time when most kids probably didn’t even know what the word meant, let alone had they ever taken the time to really think about it.  At around the same age, I helped start a protest to attempt to get improved food for our school lunch.  I also backed a friend of mine in an attempt to push prayer out of school.  I wasn’t willing to just accept whatever I was handed.  All of these things may sound kind of…”cool,” but in reality what it means is that I’ve pigeon-holed myself socially, and I have rarely had any true friends throughout my entire life. No one to share my views and beliefs with.  I live in a very small town, so pickings are slim to begin with.  And a small town mindset besets small town values, and those small town values are simply not for me.  I need something more in my life.

I’m still not sure yet what exactly it is that I want to do just yet.  I really don’t think there’s any one thing, that just sounds monotonous.  I want to offer my help to the people of the world in any way I can.  Money has never meant much to me, and I am about as far from materialistic as it gets.  I recently started to minimize things in my life, to eliminate clutter and focus on what’s important.  As American’s, we’ve been so caught up in commercialism and consumerism, we feel like we have to have all these little amenities that are truly meaningless.  “This isn’t life, this is just stuff.”  Why not spend the money you would waste on expensive furniture and decorations, on doing something awesome?  You have a $4,000 couch?  Awesome, have you ever watched the sun set on the beaches of Guam?  Ever ate dinner underwater at the Ithaa in Maldives?  Have you stood at the base of the pyramids in Egypt?  No, OK well that’s cool, enjoy your couch.

I plan to start my journey soon, I have small things currently planned to help get my foot in the door.  I’ve also been changing many things about my current lifestyle in order to strengthen myself mentally and physically.  Every day my body gets a little harder, and every day my mind becomes that much sharper.  It is now past the point of being a just a fantasy, and is approaching reality.  It won’t be easy, and it isn’t supposed to be.  It will be a fight, it will require sacrifice.  But one of the most terrifying things I can imagine, is lying on your death bed, old and decrepit, full of regret.  I want to know that no matter what I do, or where I go.  I lived.

I’ve been challenging myself with mental and physical tests recently.  I have been completely sugar free for a full week now(doesn’t sound like much, but I dare you to try it.)  I’ve attempted meditation on a couple of occasions, including an eerie trek through the woods at night, alone and without light to guide me.  My attempts so far have been somewhat  futile, my brain is a tough one to corral, but I will get it eventually.  I’ve been taking a cold shower every day for the past 5 days, and when I say cold, I mean cold.  This next one may sound comical, but I read about a challenge for single males, to go 2 full weeks without masturbation.  Sounds easy enough, but we’ll see how that one goes.  Either way, I’m pushing myself to new limits, doing things I never thought I could do.

Each day that passes I feel something stirring inside me, welling up to the point that I feel ready to burst.  I feel like a bird who’s been caged his whole life, he knows he was meant to fly, but has never had the opportunity to do so.  Well, the cage door is open and it’s up to me to make the leap.  It’s a tough one, and the fear of falling is very real, but I have to be strong and I know the fear will subside.  And love for the whole world will follow that fear.