Swimming Upstream

It’s the counter-intuitiveness of that statement that resonates with my experiences in life, in general. Similar to the salmon, it seems to be driven by the belief that at the top of that stream lies fulfilment and purpose. But pushing against the tide is tiresome.

Purpose doesn’t always bring fulfilment. It’s a stark reality that dawned on me today when I considered the potential outcome of my life if I continue to be driven by the principles and values that I subscribe to now. It is generally accepted that those that change the world are rarely part of the crowd because it stands to reason that to be able to determine what the cause of the chaos in the crowd is, one would have to extract themselves from those surrounds in order to obtain a clearer view. But people don’t like it when you have a clear view of their shortcomings or their fears. It makes them vulnerable, and in the absence of trust, that vulnerability becomes something that either needs to be disguised cleverly, or defended fiercely.

I usually find myself on the receiving end of the latter, and it is this realisation that has caused me to contemplate whether or not I will achieve a sense of fulfilment before the end of my time. I’m convinced that I won’t. Explaining or rationalising this is proving difficult.

I see myself on the outside looking in surrounded by people that are more intent on maintaining the peace than dealing with the rot, but simultaneously lamenting the gravity of life in those moments when the stench of that rot permeates their idyllic make-believe world. Rather than deal with the rot, we invest in disguises to convince us that it’s either not so bad, or that it doesn’t even exist. I’m the fool that comes along, scoops up a handful of that decaying matter, and brandishes it about in people’s faces until they acknowledge that their disguises are bullshit and that their supposed progress is in fact a lie.

People tend to despise the one that disrupts their slumber but instead embraces the one that sings them the lullaby. It’s ironic then that the success that they later achieve as a result of being stirred from their stupor is celebrated with the one that made their sleep as peaceful as possible, instead of appreciating the one that unsettled their existence. Those that disrupt force us to break the inane cycles that trap us into the ruts of our lives. Unfortunately too many are comfortable despising the rut while defending it fiercely, believing that they’re protecting themselves while flirting with dreams that only they know exists.

Dreams of greatness, of purpose, and of celebration. They dream of being celebrated for amazing contributions, but they rarely if ever share that dream with others because of the fear of ridicule or failure. They’re the ones that swim in the calm waters away from the rapids. They’re the ones that are convinced that maintaining the order and revering the system is what is best for society, while forgetting that the system that they revere was in fact established by those they despise.

Swimming upstream is an exercise in futility laced with a hint of greatness, but it’s that greatness that drives those that are born restless. Those that spurn complacency and mediocrity. It’s not the greatness associated with recognition or affirmation, because that is merely slavery embellished with hollow accolades. It is the greatness that is felt with the knowledge that there are lives that have been nudged at just the right time to get a timid soul to change course from one that was entrenched in pain and servitude, to one that offered fulfilment and mastery.


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