They say life is a game; you win or lose. Money makes one smarter, skinnier,
younger. TV ads bomb with perfection and mindless entertainment. With prestige tipping the
scale in favor of competition versus cooperation, they give me a world of impersonal convenience,
guilt-ridden luxury and ruthless ambition. Too much, yet somehow not enough.

You say life is about duty, family, carefully determined intrinsic satisfaction.
You say life is not about any of the things they say it is. Relationships and caring trump
over the pursuit of worldly goods anytime. Sometimes they even trump over happiness. When you
say “fit in”, you do not mean “feel oppressed by convention” or “sacrifice
your personality”. You intend to communicate “be happy” since, in your eyes,
happiness is a concept forged and lived within a community. You love me, and for that I am
thankful. It takes character not to leave a child in a dumpster, and I say that without ironical
smirk. Yet, your love could be sloppily executed and oppressing at times. You made bad decisions
(just like everyone else does, at times), but somehow it is not okay to talk about it or see
it for what it is. Your life choices cost me a carefree childhood and blessed me with a burden
of constant reminiscing about human condition. Mom, I love your parents so much because they
gave me what you did not think important enough in times of practical concerns — undivided
attention and a little pampering. Dad, I know you thought it never too early for teaching life
lessons, but really, all I learned from working since I was 12 and that one time you made me
clean a drunk man’s vomit on the terrace is that I do not ever want to marry a drunkard,
and that vomit stinks. It was not worth it. Somehow I think I would have figured that one out
anyway. Yet, as I get older, I see what a splendid job you pulled off. Four children during
wartime did not make you close our home to over fifteen cousins to stay for as long as they
wanted because it made bombs a little less loud for them. Raising those same four children
in the aftermath of war was probably even harder. I will always respect you for staying good
in times when it was unusually hard to do so. I love you, but life has made you callous and
scared to peak out of the shell of eternally established truths. I admire you, yet I do not
want to be like you, and I do not want your life. And I will never tell you that, because I
know it would hurt. You give me a world of hard but poorly rewarded work, and sound sleep.
I need more.

We say we are excited by our options and oppressed by our freedom while confused
by tacitly inferred expectations of likes of them and you. Seeking a voice in the age of zeroes
is not a piece of cake. It is an entire cake, hard to swallow even for someone as sweet toothed
as I am. Identities formed between computers not crashing in 2000 and the world (should I be
so bold?) not ending in 2012. In a social climate that always feels like changing for worse.
Like there is always a little less jobs, a little less of Amazon, a little less ice for the
polar bears. Even our music is not about glam rocking or raging against the Man, but inquisitively
pondering questions of voice and identity. Helplessness blues. We create the world for younger
generations, and we have no consensus over what are we doing, what sort of picture we would
like to paint and what it takes to get the right colors.

He says he is everywhere, knows everything and loves everyone; He is just.
Let’s put gaunt children from Sudan aside for a bit, and point to a different, conceptual
sort of injustice involved with me writing these lines. I resent being created within a system
in which I need to accept love impossible to reciprocate. Furthermore, I resent having to accept
the mystery of it all. Yet, there’s no way out of it. Shaw, Hitchens, and Minchin invite
to a simpler reality and, as much as I would like to inhabit it, it always feels like a room
with interesting wallpaper. Cozy if you get a good spot but still only a room, a part of something
bigger. It is all connected, and all a mystery, and I have no clue as to what He gives me since
I’m told he gives me everything.

You say… Wait, you don’t say anything. Where the heck are you? Aren’t
we supposed to be a team or something? If you plan on sticking around in the future, it might
be easier if you showed up now so we can make joint plans that don’t make either of us
miserable. And, should we make kids, they are to have their own names and not something like
John Maximilian the Third.

And that leaves me. I don’t say much these days. I listen. To everybody
— them, you, Him, us, whomever has something to contribute. I know I want to say a lot one
day. And good, constructive words leading to deeds of positive. I am not quite sure what those
words will be. Sometimes I am scared, intimidated by harsh reality, less-than-stellar performance
and potentially unwise decisions. Would a month of a post-graduation hike in northern Spain
be considered a cop-out? Is my ambition to build my own guitar ambitious enough for, say, grad
school admissions committee in an unrelated field? I am not afraid of stepping but sometimes
get the chills from the thought of stepping down the direction from which I will see other
grasses as greener than my own. Closed doors are almost worse than no doors at all.