Memories of a distant past set sail beyond the visible horizon and find freedom through the windows of my soul.
Talent and mastery of any given subject is equally a function of perseverance in the face of the self-defeat naturally experienced when challenged by the trials of the novel task as it is a circumstantial luck granted by a genetic code that supports your natural proficiencies. Oh, and you gotta like what you do – that’s crucial. You can’t master something you don’t love.
My crazy British friend once advised me that the wise man has a diverse set of interests and spends time in learning about each. If the books that he has are any indication of his diverse interests, than they include the Kama Sutra and Applied Mathematics for Mechanical Engineers. I think he’s right though, there’s something refreshing about meeting that person in a Harlem Starbucks who you can discuss not only the complications of the technology-centric medicine industry, but also the challenges of writing a captivating plot-line to a story in efforts to help people you have never met to viscerally experience the same spectrum of euphoria and depression you have endured during your life’s challenges. I don’t watch TV or follow sports, not because I’m an elitist asshole that thinks I need to prove myself in some capacity to anyone, but because I just think there are so many other things to do that are much more fulfilling.
I’m trying to remember that in life there really is no ‘promised land’ of achievement that you will reach eventually reach and be infinitely satisfied. The very essence of human nature is to desire what we don’t have. Given this, I am actively trying to appreciate every challenge as something that I will look back and smile upon – because only through facing each challenge do we gain the capacity to appreciate the pleasures of overcoming that challenge and attaining the fruit of its completion. As Tim Krieder once put it, happiness is not an end-goal, but an experience achieved through being fully engaged in the business of living your life. We could never comprehend happiness had we never felt the pains of loss and failure. If Andy Weir is right, this incubation period that we have entitled as ‘living’ is simply a cyclical process of preparation and learning prior to the next step in our soul’s journey to some currently undefined end state.
“The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.”
Just some thoughts. Time to refill on my light roast.
I have a strange feeling 2014 will be a year of significant, positive, personal and professional growth. The last time I had a strong intuitive spark akin to this, I was soon thereafter on a plane to work in the middle east for a year. Which was awesome in every way, shape, and form. I previously felt the solar system in my head out of sync, but with each week the planets seem closer to orbital alignment. Each week the the hazy peripherals are coming into colorful focus, and the previously bland wood-work now artistically burnt with intricate detail.
To lofty dreams and a re-framing of regrets into lessons learned. This year I hope to openly embrace the unpredictable hues of life experience, from the darkest shades of internal conflict to the vibrant colors of growth and success. I will no longer roam the NYC streets in an anxiety-induced fear of what each turn holds, but embrace the challenge. When life gets too heavy, I plan to add more weight. Where some marionettes dance to the tune of life , I will cut the strings, build a freaking violin, and create my own music. Good or bad, at least it is completely my creation.
We don’t need no truth / got plenty / now it grows on trees / God I’m glad it’s not a race / I’d lose
This is brilliant.
Bonobo – Pieces, live
Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
Worth a read if the following is of interest…
“Empirical and anecdotal evidence for hedonic adaptation suggests that the joys of loves and triumphs and the sorrows of losses and humiliations fade with time. If people’s goals are to increase or maintain well-being, then their objectives will diverge depending on whether their fortunes have turned for the better (which necessitates slowing down or thwarting adaptation) or for the worse (which calls for activating and accelerating it).”
Got this reference from an article on how most importantly, money buys freedom. You can check this article here.
I’m in NYC. In just one day I was very overtly hit on by two gay baristas, offered illicit narcotics followed by a warm “Merry Christmas”, and saw two grown adults on roller-blades. Mind you, this is one day. This excludes the photographer who fell in love with my feet last week.
Temporarily changing the framework in which you exist in is perhaps the most powerful way to understand what you’re chasing and where you’re headed. Though I’ve only spent a week and a half in a new city, in a new culture, and surrounded by unfamiliar faces, the experience has offered a unique platform for retrospection. Maybe that’s why people often “escape to the wilderness” in order to reflect and collect themselves, because it’s a platform to view your permanent life from a more unique temporal state. It’s hard to get a panoramic view from the inside looking in, but the view is all of s sudden in perspective from the outside looking in. What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that I think it’s important to take somewhat extended trips away from where you have built your life in order to understand your goals, trajectory, and to simply collect your thoughts. What have I understood from my experience in NYC? I’ve understood that I’m growing up. I’ve understood that the goals of my early twenties are no longer the goals of my late twenties. I’ve understood that some of my naive ideas of concepts like career and marriage are much more evolved now. I’ve understood that the goals I currently harbor are shifting their trajectory year by year.
I remember circa 2009 I was in the middle of the wilderness at probably 2am listening to hard pounding electronic music, surrounded by a ton of people I barely knew. I distinctly remember thinking in that moment that “having fun” is not the end goal, because it’s temporary and easily achievable. “Having fun” is a short-term state by design. It leaves more to be desired. You can look back on the moments you have had fun and cherish them, but there is a glass ceiling to having fun. You can never have more fun than the amount that your mind allows you to. You can reach the end goal of having fun by having fun. I think what the majority of us seek out of life is not the end goal we can reach, but the end goal that is just beyond our grasp. And I think with every year’s passing, the end goal morphs into something slightly more refined.
The fool’s cure is the wise man’s poison; none the less, all wise men were once fools.
“I suspect there is something inherently misguided and self-defeating and hopeless about any deliberate campaign to achieve happiness. Perhaps the reason we so often experience happiness only in hindsight, and that chasing it is such a fool’s errand, is that happiness isn’t a goal in itself but is only an aftereffect. It’s the consequence of having lived in the way that we’re supposed to — by which I don’t mean ethically correctly so much as just consciously, fully engaged in the business of living. In this respect it resembles averted vision, a phenomena familiar to backyard astronomers whereby, in order to pick out a very faint star, you have to let your gaze drift casually to the space just next to it; if you look directly at it, it vanishes. And it’s also true, come to think of it, that the only stars we ever see are not the “real” stars, those cataclysms taking place in the present, but always only the light of the untouchable past.”
From the book, The Defining Decade, by Meg Jay. This is a reflection of a person in their mid-thirties who was admitted to an ER for sudden chest/head pain.
So I went for my MRI and it was a really fucking scary thing. Being cooped up in that magnet coffin with all that whirring and banging. There was an alarm sound that kept going off. The machine was the only thing in this big sterile room, and the operator sat in a booth on the other side of the wall. It was seven thirty in the morning and really cold. They gave me headphones with music to drown out some of the noise, and it was on a preset station. Ozzy Osbourne was playing, believe it or not. There was a time when that would have been funny to me. But it was just ironic or pathetic. Nothing could have felt more irrelevant to my life at that moment than Ozzy Osbourne. I was really scared of what they were going to find.
And the funny – no, sad – thing was my life didn’t flash before my eyes. Not at all. I’m thirty eight years old and there were, like, two things I had in my mind – the way my little son’s hand feels when I hold it and how I didn’t want to leave my wife behind to do it all on her own. What seemed plain to me was that I wasn’t scared of losing my past, I was scared of losing my future. I felt like almost nothing in my life mattered up until just a few years ago. I realized that all the good stuff is still to come. I was so sick and panicked that I might never see my son ride a bike, play soccer, graduate from school, get married, have his own kids. And my career was just getting good.
Nothing is wrong, thank God, but this has made me face some things. I saw my regular doctor a couple of days after the MRI, and I told her she needed to keep me going for a good twenty years at least. She said she sees that a lot now. When people had their kids at 22, it was pretty much a given you’d be around to finish what you started. Nobody worried about it. Now she says a lot of parents come in and say, “Hey, I need to be healthy at least until my kids are off in college. Please be sure I make it that long.” How screwed up is that?
What I can’t figure out, and what I feel like I am grieving a little, is why I spent so many years on nothing. So many years doing things and hanging out with people that dont even rate a memory. For what? I had a good time in my twenties, but did I need to do all that for eight years? Lying there in the MRI, it was like I traded five years of partying or hanging out in coffee shops for five more years I could have had with my son if I’d grown up sooner. Why didn’t someone drop the manners and tell me I was wasting my life?