Unsatisfied, empty, lost, alone, confused...all words that have been floating around my mind over this past year whenever I've found myself in quiet moments contemplating my life. And it's not that I feel sad or depressed, just different, but I don't know if this is a good different or a bad different.

By all accounts everything is going well. I've got a great job, I'm independent, I've re-connected with friends and developed some great new friendships, and I have the ability to explore my interests. My life has awarded me the freedom to play Magic every weekend, to continue on with my graphic design certificate, and I may even take a jiu jitsu class come this spring. I'm working out at the gym, spending more time outside, and meeting new people all the time...but something still feels off. What happens when you have everything you wanted, but you still feel unsatisfied?

Somewhere along the way I lost the connection to my soul, or at least some part of that connection changed. The values that I once held dear seem less important. The purpose that once drove my being into the future feels distant and forgotten. I don't feel like taking risks and being vulnerable anymore. I don't feel like being emotionally available and open to others. I guess you could say that I've lost my leadership qualities. But maybe I was lying to myself all along about the man I thought I was.

I always thought that someone had to carry the burden to make this civilization thing work, so why not me? The belief that I could be a net-positive contributor, someone that could give more than he received, laid at the foundation of who I was. But now I think that I may have never really wanted the responsibility, because if I really did I'd probably be stronger and more capable to handle difficult situations. If I really cared, wouldn't I have been more committed? I would have dedicated more time to others, and I wouldn't have let barriers stop me from becoming who I wanted to be. But the fact is that I have, and I still do.

You know that movie Whiplash? It's exactly like that. I once thought I was Andrew, with dreams of making it to the big stage of human contribution. Now, I feel like I've just failed and am about to walk off to be forgotten.

And maybe that's okay. I feel like I've taken the weight of the world from my shoulders and begun focusing more on myself. Is this a good thing? Maybe? I'm doing what I need to be happy, and not worrying so much about the lives of others. But at the same time that's who I've always been, and I cherished the part of myself that gave a shit about the state of the world, and how I contributed to it. So I'm both unhappy, and happy. Fulfilled and unfulfilled. Does that make any sense?

Now, my inclination is to be more private, to value myself first and foremost, to just live by what comes natural. But what happens when you stop pushing and fighting for something different, for that which is challenging, for positive change? I've always seen stagnation as the enemy of meaningful progress, and I now worry that my spirit has found itself in a moment of stagnation that it may not come out of. On one hand this might be a natural humbling experience, as I look to reconcile my place in the world...perhaps I was immature and foolish to think I could be someone who could make a difference, to be someone that could help others. But perhaps I'm taking the cowards way out by giving up and admitting defeat. I honestly couldn't tell you up from down, as all options seem equally plausible.

As I move forward I want to be at peace in my life. I want to take the time to take care of myself and pursue selfish interests.

As I move forward I want to be growing. I want to make a difference by working hard and making an impact through my work and volunteering.

My soul needs both to feel full, but neither seem enough on their own, and both together makes it feel like I'm not doing enough of either.

How do I reconcile the two? How do I feel like I am moving forward and growing, while at the same time finding peace and connection within my soul? Can one be enlightened, and expansionary?