The Dangers of a Fragmented Life, Part 1

In grade school, I used to be deathly afraid when my parents would pick me up from school. For some reason I couldn’t understand, I was ashamed of them. I didn’t want my friends to see me with them.

One funny result of this was when people would call me at home (yup, we used the landline to chat then) and look for “Peter,” the people at home thought they were calling the wrong number. You see, at home I was called “Pitpol” or “Popo.”

I was deathly ashamed of these nicknames.

It sounds funny in retrospect, but perhaps the funnier thing is, it turns out I wasn’t the only one who was like this! Turns out a lot of people hide their “home” names, in an effort to separate family life from school life.

Perhaps its not that surprising.  After all, weren’t we all trained and raised to separate the different “areas” in our lives?

Aren’t we so used to saying things like:

“how’s your love life?”

“trabaho lang yan”

“my spiritual life’s been dry”

The connotation is telling. A lot of us live our lives in silos and fragments.

So fast forward to 2005-2006, and upon analysis, my life consisted of these very defined circles:

So, wait…

You know what? Part of me actually liked this set-up. It’s additive. I could check stuff off. I could even mathematically deduce how happy I was in my life!

This month I’m 5/6 happy!

But I’d so hate it when my worlds collided.

When my wife went to a corporate function with me, or when my family would ask me how work was, or when the people in my different circles would meet in a party , I’d feel like my grade school self. There was this weird, uneasy feeling of something like “being discovered.”

The thing was, I DID have something to hide. When I think about it, I was a slightly different person in each world. 

I think this is dangerous because:

1) The anonymity results in lack of accountability, which results in the temptation to be “someone else” in each circle. This lack of accountability can lead to awful choices.

2) Existential angst is created because the question, “who am I” suddenly is difficult to answer

3) There is an uneasiness, a heavy restlessness when the other parts of our life are not in conjunction

Is life truly meant to be lived in such fragmented fashion?

Do we really mean what we say when we say things like:

“I’m really happy. Work really is depressing and demotivating, but, you know, that’s just work! So I’m really happy.”

I think not.

We need to get rid of our horcruxes.

(Continue on to part 2!)

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