My last post was bullshit. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to read this thing anymore. How many different ways can I say “I don’t get it. Life is hard. Fill my need for approval and attention by feeling bad for me.” I even try to trick you into thinking I’ve gleaned significant insight by using big words and making allusions to obscure or revered materials. Or maybe no one has ever thought I’ve gleaned any such insight, and I’m just fooling myself into thinking you perceive me in a particular manner when really you don’t view me as such at all. You probably don’t spend all that much goddamn time thinking about me at all. BEHOLD! MY NEUROSES!
Ahem. Sorry bout that.
I have, if you’ll grant it to me, gleaned a few certain insights in this last trying year (moving to Asia, quitting drinking and pills, changing jobs) that I can utilize to determine certain conclusions. Now these conclusions aren't earth shattering. Few conclusions are. They’re just some realizations that took a little time to come to and required the clearing of much headspace and the analyzation of past behavior, current anxieties, and future dread.
Everyone says “Do What You Love.” And that’s great advice. Really. But not everybody can do that all the time. Furthermore, few people can do that to the extent where they are able to make a living off of it. While I’m sure as shit not saying that that’s impossible, it’s just not an actuality for every individual. More constructive advice to the everyday woman or man (and I much consider myself an everyday Jay) would be Don’t Do What You Hate.
I’ve spent a lot of the last year reading motivational and life guidance books, watching videos on productivity and career building, and generally studying life planning and how to cultivate positive routines and ideal regiments. I drove myself insane with boring details and restrictive days of banality. I hovered on the edge of asceticism. Through that I wound up generating more anxiety trying to live up to the ideals of some paragon I had manufactured. And that ideal apparition, as I came to see it, was comprised of other people’s goals, values, and conceptions of adulthood.
I had stopped doing everything I loved for the sake of “getting my life together.”
I stopped reading comics to read all the latest and best self-help books. I largely stopped watching movies to watch inspirational and insightful lectures and pedagogical youtube videos. This might not seem negative, but it became detrimental due to my level of obsessiveness.
I even stopped playing music to devote myself to studying language. Now studying language is an awesome pursuit, and I’m not relegating it to the STUFF I HATE category. It’s just that they didn’t need to be exclusive to my time. I didn't have to forsake one for the allowance of the other. I can play drums AND study Chinese,
I cut out all the things in life that gave me enjoyment and satisfied my imagination’s appetite in favor of solely consuming things I thought would propagate insight for success and productivity.
I stopped staying out late and spending time with friends to make certain I was home in time to stretch, journal, meditate, and fall asleep at a reasonable hour. Again, those activities in themselves are wonderful and beneficial practices to keep, but when I forsake any semblance of a social life to stick to a military-strict routine it ceases to have the intended function of finding peace by creating a vehicle for isolation and fail-to-adhere-to based guilt.
I completely failed to realize that I needed the counter balance of the things I love. I need them BECAUSE they aren't pertaining to maintaining forward momentum. They are the things that let me relax and rest. I'd say having the love for those things and people actually give me the desire to move forward in the first place. Friends and interests are what gives my life meaning. I have been neglecting the very foundation of my life in order to reach a new level. I was abandoning A for B, while failing to realize that A was the very reason I was pursuing B. What’s the point of life without love and interest?
Then there is my job. It started out hard as hell. A Galactus sized source of stress that threatened to devour the planet of my sanity. I worked hard trying to understand the material, teaching myself classroom management, and experimenting with what worked and what didn’t (mostly discovering what didn’t). After all of that I realized, “Hey, I don’t even like this job”. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it; It’s just not for me. However, I couldn’t accurately judge if it would be something I enjoyed before I got rid of the stress of being bad at it and experienced it through the eyes of a (somewhat) capable practitioner. After I turned in to that, I was able to come to the definitive conclusion that it's something I don't want to do anymore.
Don’t settle for things because that’s the way they currently are or because they offer convenience. Convenience shouldn't be the end unto itself. That’s just a receipt for stagnancy.
Look, I’m happy as hell I did what I did. I did it the hard way. I survived. I got insight, made friends, gained experience (points) and leveled the fuck up. Now I know it’s not where I’m supposed to be, and I only came to that insight after experimentation. If you're stuck, or unhappy, or uncertain, or bored the only way out is to try new things. Finding out you don’t like something can be a great thing, because it narrows down the field of options so you can focus your mind's lasers on finding what you really want (or generally just dig) and you can blow it up. Because that’s what lasers do. They blow shit up.
There is not a single part of me that does't believe in hard work. You need to put in effort and you need to do it consistently. I believe you need to find your love and get your hands dirty in the guts of this bizarre existence we all happen to share.
Make life something you enjoy.
Or at least, don’t ever give up the things you love for the sake of falsely idealistic achievements, materialistic status, or other people’s expectations.
Because I did that....and it sucked.