… without being satisfied.”
It’s been my mantra since I first heard a variant of it back in 2007 (Of all people, Willie Parker of the Steelers actually brought it to my attention, which is a bit profound for a washed-up running back) and it perpetually hangs neatly above my computer screen as I spend most of my days staring at it and feeling the reverse.
I can bow at the altar of self-pity and self-loathing all I want, but it won’t help me get closer to God, whatever form he’s been taking lately. If he’s a Pizza boy, then I’m busy upsetting the owner of the Pizzeria by placing 17 phone calls wondering why when he got to me an hour and-a-half late, it was cold and my Mushroom pizza mysteriously contained Black Olives, no cheese, and someone’s shoe.
Part of the complex with being – or at least feeling – “enlightened,” and we define that term by basically being smart enough to know that things like faith and love are just internal chemical reactions seasoned with a bit of random chaotic luck, and that all of life is just math and science, and that the humanities are only human because they are imperfect, is that you’re bound to eventually come to the conclusion that life only matters slightly more than bumpkins anyway. It’s all just a zero sum, no matter how crooked and pretty the numbers. They’re all just full counts in the perfect game shutout “the man” throws at you. And you start to curse your own intellect. I know I have.
At this point I am filing an injunction. I would prefer it greatly if none of what I know – or what I think I know – could be admissible as evidence in the Court of How-The-Hell-Do-I-Get-Out-A-Hole-That-Doesn’t-Actually-Exist. Oh, it’s a blissful thing, to be cognizant of only the moment. To be living for tomorrow while enjoying today, and not the other way around. You can sit in a massaging chair all you want, but if you don’t stick the 75 cents in quarters into the thin little slot, you’re not going to get that three minute rub-down that a cute little Asian lady would give you for $65 and an STD.
The same thoughts and scrapes and bruises are still there. Short on cash. Short on energy. Extremely short on focus. What was I just talking about? Right.
You start to realize every now and again that life races ahead of you while you are sitting there trying to think about what shirt you should wear that morning, or if you should go to the gym because everyone else there will stare at you blankly as you muscle 10 pounds of free weight over your left shoulder because nobody would understand that your remedial hammock accident blasted your muscle capacity some 90%, or because your arms are wafer thin, or your forehead became a six-head and counting.
You begin to realize that the religious right believe so wholeheartedly in something so pure and beautiful yet seemingly incredible and unfathomable, while you sit there and waste minutes trying to fathom the unknowable and lamenting simpler minds and yet they return home to their McMansions free and clean and clear. You take another pill to go to sleep early this time; only your mind still won’t rest and you’re groggy when you finally wake up at noon.
You begin to realize that guilty pleasures are only guilty because there’s some bone in your body that thinks, “No … you SHOULDN’T like that” causing you more guilt and pain and lost hours and years than if you were to actually indulge every now and again.
It’s a blitztacular full-frontal assault on you – this life. It’s a shockwave of emotion and a tide of adversity. It’s going to blow you to pieces while you sit there and contemplate your next move and endlessly monitor and analyze and react to reasons and inexplicable insecurities that cause you to overthink and underact.
And it gets better (or should I say worse?), because while you are lost in a daze of thought, carefully plotting out your next move, 97 other people have just made 86 other moves and while probably 73% of them are 100% wrong, they’re still going to end up being your boss, or your lawyer, or your arresting officer or your doctor who informs you you’ve got six months to live due to some rare genetic disorder that’s so rare nobody else in the family has it except for you.
And while you’re sitting there deciding discretely if this love is the one that should last, or if this job is the right job for you, or you want to stay or move or circumvent planet Earth altogether; someone is falling in love, getting married, having children, getting promoted, moving someplace exciting, buying a house and building a spaceship to escape our doomed planet once the Mongols resurrect themselves and ice caps melt during a nuclear holocaust orchestrated by Walt Disney.
So, my advice to you, clever snowflakes, if you’re out there sitting there thinking “What On Earth Should I Do With My Life?” is to stop thinking altogether. Go on autopilot.
Pick a career field and advance truly far in it, and no matter how much you hate it, you’ll reach the top, because you won’t be sitting there thinking about if it’s truly right for you.
Pick a spouse with no regard as to if he or she will make you happy for the rest of your days, because if you love deeply and care affectionately, he or she is going to anyway.
And whatever you do, just go. Drive somewhere you’ve never been. Book a flight which you’re afraid to board. Eat at a restaurant you can’t afford. Talk to strangers, especially if they’re dressed nice. Hit on people who are out of your league. Don’t know better. Take up a cause, even if it’s wrong. Nobody will know – because you’ll believe in it.
Anthony Kiedis and Henry Rollins couldn’t carry a tune with a North Face, a mule and a Sherpa, yet they have made millions fronting rock bands.
Tom Cruise and Megan Fox are remedial actors at best, yet they have achieved unthinkable fortune and fame starring in films.
George W. Bush’s leadership skills sounds like a Fantasy Football team name, yet he spent eight years serving in the highest office in the world.
Don’t you listen to people who tell you you can’t. Least of all yourself. Don’t push away your dreams because you’ve “thought better of it.” What’s better than your dreams? Two and a Half Men? The DMV?
You’ll be happy. You won’t be satisfied. You’ll have discovered the secret to success in life … except you’ll be too oblivious to notice. And that’s the key. Marathon runners don’t pay attention to the act of running 26 miles in under four hours. If they did, they’d probably stop and scream some combination of cursewords that equivilates* to something your mother would slap you six times for even whispering.
Ignorance is bliss. Take care of business like you own it and it won’t get you down.
This took 17 minutes and 44 seconds to type. It’s probably 1200 words. They’re probably the most important 1200 I’ve ever written, and I have no idea what I’ve said.
I didn’t stop to think about it.
*Equivilates: Not a word. Neither was “conversate.” Water seeks its own level or something.