a priori/a posteriori

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An epiphany that shows up mid-response

In response to:

Dear Bryson

I can imagine that being so close to death has taught you to appreciate the little things in life. In a world where you want be socially relevant and also find some form of existential peace, is remembering to enjoy yourself a liability?

Lucas Molandes

Dear Lucas,

I'm having to remind myself right now not to get defensive and basically say "fuck you" right now. I'm not sure why I have this tendency in life to get really self-conscious and defensive, but I do. And so rather than read your question as merely being curious, I instead think that you are being holier-than-thou and pointing out that I am way too concerned with the first two pursuits, and never the third. I read the question as an attack on how I live my life.

This reaction interests me more than the question itself (take that, you big jerk). But I'll answer your question as best I can, if only to encourage the "yes and" philosophy that we said would purvade this blog.

Is "purvade" even a word? Yes, and it's a great one. So fuck you and your judging me right now (see what I mean about the defensiveness? It's weird, right?)

Is remembering to enjoy myself a liability? I guess it feels that way sometimes, yeah. I know you can't just live a life by the book, or you end up feeling empty at the end of it. I don't actually know that, of course, because I haven't lived out a life yet. But that feels like it's accurate.

I just want to get the most out of my life. I feel like "having a social impact" is just a form of what I really want to do, which is to connect with people. And finding "some form of existential peace" is basically saying that I want to be proud of the way in which I connected with people. So I don't want to create a negative social impact, and I don't want to do something positive that only affects myself.

The problem is, the idea of enjoying myself triggers both of those fears. Enjoying myself might not affect anyone else at all, and if it does, it doesn't assure that it helps them. So why do it? ...I'm not sure. How can enjoying myself merely for the sake of enjoying myself actually be enjoying myself, when I claim that what leads to me "enjoying myself" is either having a social impact or experiencing some form of inner growth and/or peace?

Am I the only one that realizes how much the term "enjoying myself" seems to suggest masturbation? Was I the last person to notice that?

Back to your question though - I am going through this onstage right now. For a while, my goal as a stand-up comic was to either please the crowd, or to make a really smart point.

Ahhh. I see. A semi-breakthrough while answering this question! I see your point now! Sometimes in life, we come to realizations in a very specific part of our lives, and we don't realize that it can apply to our lives as a whole. In this case, I had a breakthrough with my stand-up this past fall, but it hadn't occurred to me how parallel my stand-up is to my life. Let me explain:

As I said, my goals in stand-up the past few years were to 1) be relatable and likable to the crowd, and 2) make a really insightful point about society and life. It's only been since the tour we went on this past fall that I realize that what I really need to do is stop worrying about goals, and just be myself, and have fun. If "fun" for me is talking about my mortality, then so be it. But be myself, and enjoy that I get to be myself. Don't worry about goals.

In the same way, my goals in life have been basically to 1) have a social impact, and 2) to live my life really well. Admirable goals, but the flaw in my thinking is that those aren't actually goals - those are the results of goals. Neither of those are actually actions at all, so I can't actually do them. I need more direct goals, and I need to trust myself more - if I can't trust my motives without rigid guidelines, then how can I trust the guidelines that I picked, anyway?

So I need to let my life imitate my art. I need to stop trying to be so deliberate in life, and start focusing on being myself, and just trying to have fun. If fun for me is writing a two-thousand word blog at 4 in the morning about my growth as a person, then awesome - that's what I should do. But I need to start having faith that if I jump, I will fly. And if I fall, I will get back up.

Will anyone else ever read this blog? Irrelevant. Does it have social value? Irrelevant. Was it a worthy use of my time? Irrelevant. I've enjoyed pondering your question, and I like the journey that it took me on.

I'll be interested to see if this carries over to how I live my life moving forward. Let's discuss tomorrow, and hopefully if you see me getting too technical again with my life's goals, you'll call me out on it. But thanks for the not-so-subtle clue to help me figure out the flawed approach I've had toward life lately. Very much at peace in this moment. And I just took a picture to document the moment.

(me, post-revelation) --->

No comments:

Post a Comment