Breaking the Rules of Being Human


I am breaking the rules of being human and pausing the game for a moment to talk about something. The rule I am breaking is to talk about the game. I’m fairly sure that one of the rules is to never talk about the game. A friend of mine once had a lucid dream where she turned to the fellow next to her and told him she was dreaming, and that he was part of her dream. He stared at her stunned and blank then slightly horrified.

Why not talk about the experience of being human? Maybe we would all have an easier time if we discussed wtf is going on here more often. I’ll go first by saying this:

We don’t have a manual for the human experience.

We are winging it.

Some people like to pretend they have a manual for being human, that’s their style of improvising.

There’s no training session, at least not one I can recall, and I don’t think childhood qualifies. If anything, a manual would be even more useful in middle school. Before I had enough experience and adult sense to navigate the waters with an inner compass and authenticity.

And so we all make mistakes at this game of humaning.

I stumble, I brush myself off, I keep walking and wonder for a moment if anyone noticed. I say the wrong thing or I don’t know what to say. There’s the feeling of deviating from the script, yet there is no written script for being human.

I can spend my time and energy creating or acquiring resources or exploring connection or none of the above. I can choose roles like avatars or I can wield the self-knowledge and courage to reveal my true form. And what does that look like?

The options are infinite. The consequences are real. The experience offers ecstasy and heartache, laughter and anxiety, expansion and fear. When I was a little girl I read Choose Your Own Adventure books . . . but that hardly prepared me for the choices I’d face as a teen, a mother, a lover. 

There’s no official support group for the human experience. There’s a support group for just about everything in particular, but I’ve yet to hear of one for the quest of being human. And while our inner worlds are unique and varied terrain, there is the possibility that we are all reinventing the wheel.

What would conversations about the human experience look like? Is it possible to step far enough back from our beliefs and ideological differences to have a diplomatic dialogue about how we navigate the questions of our existence, our consciousness, and the great mystery of it all?