I have always scoffed at the phrase “Life is not about the destination, but the journey.” No doubt, as is the case with everything, this was influenced by being raised in religion. I was introduced to the idea that when I die, there is a perfect place I am going to if I do x (let’s not get into what exactly x is, as its far too complicated to elaborate here, for the purpose of this piece, in my opinion). I’ve always had a destination in mind (two, in fact). My every thought, action, and feeling was weighed against these two destinations. There was not a moment in my life where these two destinations did not have a direct, powerful influence over me. I believe this “destination-mindedness” has bled over into other areas.
“I’m in a hurry to get things done. I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I really gotta do is live and die, but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.” The truth that everyone is going to die someday, including me, has always made me aware of the sands of time ticking away. Anxiety has been my modus operandi for my entire life. Everything I do, I just want to get over with, and just get to the end. As I wish to write, this attitude starts to creep in. I ask myself: What is the final destination with regards to writing?
I love listening to successful people (especially artists). Over and over, I’ve always heard that they are never satisfied with what they’re doing. They always want more. They always strive to get better and better. I thought that was dumb as a child. Not only did I think that rich and famous successful people were the scourge of the earth, but I thought the idea of living life without a destination was ludicrous. Why would the ambiguity of “getting better” be a more valuable “destination” than an actual concrete destination? (Measured by what, God only knows).
My destination of choice is to make a living doing a job that I love. That is my main goal in life. But as I ponder what my life would be like if I had “enough money to last a lifetime”, I think: what would I do with the rest of my life then? If I, at age 25, were an infintillionaire tomorrow, what would I do? What would my emotional state be? I would certainly feel more secure, which is a gigantic motivating factor at this point in my life. But what would I do? It is so easy for people who are having a difficult time financially to think money is “the end”. But that thought depresses me. What do you mean “the end”? Surely you aren’t going to die immediately after making such-and-such amount of money, correct? What are you going to do? What are you going to spend your money on, and when? How much? How are you going to spend your time? It is very easy for people to enviously scoff at the rich, but it is a legitimate question. It is not a 100% guarantee that any amount of money will make someone a certain “level” of happy. Of course, it’s foolish to not acknowledge the obvious benefits of money. If I had a certain level of money (which I’m not quite sure what that would be), it would certainly alleviate many of the problems that I have currently. But I am quite sure that it would not touch others. It’s easy for me to say this now, but I do not anticipate that my life would change that much from how it is now. I would imagine that I would be happier as compared to thinking about working 6 days a week, 8 hours a day, at the alternatives where I live (it also depends on what I would be doing to make that amount of money, how much I enjoyed that work, etc.). But, for the moment, I have a great deal of financial security. I realize this is limited, so I obviously think about the future. If I were to have a significant amount more money than I have now, I think I’d still be doing the same things I’m doing today. I don’t like the idea of flaunting my wealth around with expensive cars and luxury items. I’d probably fix the house up a bit, and save the rest. Maybe take a couple of trips, which would be different than I’m doing currently. But I anticipate that I’d still have the desire to write and create comedy for myself. I don’t think money would change that fact, because I’d still need something to do. Of course, I’d have more money to spend, and, thus, more options. Perhaps I can’t even conceive of what those options could be. But I want to write, and I want to create comedy. I don’t see this changing, even if I had a quadrillion dollars in the bank. I would just need something to occupy my time, and there’s little I enjoy more (productively speaking) than writing and making myself laugh through creating various things.
This has led me to the conclusion that I finally understand (at least, in my opinion) the phrase “Life is not about the destination, but the journey.” I am starting to understand the profundity of that statement. I abhor the phrase “studies have shown”, but they have that there’s a certain amount of money which produces max happiness, and going above that (especially excessively) decreases that happiness. That makes sense to me. I can see that being the case. “Nice to see that your beliefs, whatever you base them on, matches up with science, Cody.” I’m glad I could please you.
The conflict along the journey bugs me: the fact that we all naturally go from being happy to sad to angry; that our life circumstances change; that we’re stuck doing the same necessary, mundane things from day to day. These things bore me, infuriate me, and I haven’t committed myself to focusing on anything else. I think that I have not committed myself to anything else largely due to the fact that I have believed that life is about the destination, and my destination was of a religious origin (and, of course, you can’t expect a child to have his entire life planned out for himself. I’m still young). I’ve ran away from “the world” in favor of “spirituality”, but now, I’m, very slowly, learning to appreciate the world. Learning to appreciate now. Life used to be this thing that just “got in the way” of me going to Heaven. Living here on Earth, through time, was a nuisance. Not only that, but it was actively preventing me from going to Heaven. Not only in the obvious sense that being alive means that I haven’t “died” and gone to the afterlife, but life here on Earth was affecting what was going to happen to me after I died. My entire life structure was based on certain beliefs regarding what it took to go to Heaven. Most of this involved hating the Earth. But I don’t believe that anymore. Thank God.
It is going to take a lifetime to develop a philosophy regarding my life here on Earth. Undergoing a very significant change in religious philosophy starts off with getting rid of the old ideas, and replacing them with new. I have a general sense of what the new will be, and I’m working on getting rid of the old, but there’s still a lot of unknowns regarding how I feel about the journey. That is part of the journey: figuring it out, and writing about it. That feels pretty good.
Introspection helps me with a lot of problems. Many personality traits remain the same over time, but my philosophies have certainly changed over time, and I look forward to seeing what “peak” happiness is going to look like for me. At what point in my life am I going to be the “happiest”? Is it currently? What will my life circumstances be? My job? My financial situation? My hobbies? It is very interesting to me. Once again, I have an intrinsic desire to “hurry up and get there”, but “the grass could be greener on the other side” or whatever. There’s so many variables that it doesn’t really do me any good to think about the future in that regard. Although goals are definitely important, I want to relax. I want to have more of a “journey” approach than a “destination” approach. Ignoring people is very hard for me: especially if they speak confidently about something I haven’t given much thought. This is certainly the case when I hear, in my head, all of those that will tell me how the fact I’m not preparing for the future now is going to make my life suck in the future, I’m going to be saddled with an immeasurable guilt, that could’ve been avoided if I would’ve only taken step x right now-look. We both know that we don’t know shit about the future. Yeah yeah, I know. Experience. “Odds”. Blah blah blah. I have my own philosophies that I want to develop, for my own reasons. I am done uncritically accepting the “advice” of others to the detriment of myself.
The “destination” stress of a religious variety that plagued me in my youth was also of the “future here on earth” variety. I’ve written about that before.
I have always been susceptible to abandoning myself to do what others advise me to do. It is traditionally been hard for me to tell myself “No” with regards to taking actions that are suggested to me. A problem is that I haven’t been able to explain to myself the problems that I had with their suggestions. That just changes over time, with age, in my case. I feel stress when others tell me that I need to change what I’m doing, and even more stress when I try to take their advice. Something has to give. My wants matter. I’m currently not thick-skinned enough for my taste. It has been a work in progress for a long time now.
Of course, the destination that I have in mind is the same one a lot of people share: being wealthy, and relaxing in a gigantic house. Having a “permanent vacation”. Filling time with the same things I’m doing currently, but without financial anxiety. I’m not going to let anyone convince me to have a different goal. Write about the problems that you have with my philosophies among yourselves: don’t tell me, because I don’t fucking care.
I want to see how my writing develops over time. How my use of language changes, how my tone changes. I’m happy with my non-fiction up to this point, but I want to write a lot more of it. I want to get crazier, smarter, more sarcastic, and more organized with it. As my best friend has said, you have to get better at something if you do it enough. You won’t remain stagnant. I’m banking on that as far as writing is concerned. I also need to read a lot more, but that’s a whole nother story for another day. I still have a sense of hopelessness that things aren’t going to matter, anyway. No matter how many times people write about, say, how unnecessary nuclear weapons are, they’ll still be developed, and still threaten us all. I personally find it pointless to write from a “change-the-world” standpoint, because I don’t think it is going to work. That isn’t to say that words don’t have a profound impact. But, from my point of view, I accept that there are always going to be shitheads that try to fuck everything up for the rest of us, and there ain’t much I can do about it. I can whine and complain, but other than that, not much is going to happen. If someone is willing to twist my arm off, say, for something I wrote, I don’t think any amount of screaming in pain is going to change their mind. There’s certainly a certain amount of inevitability when it comes to evil, regardless of how depressing that fact is. The goal is to avoid the arm-twisting for as long as possible by as many people as possible disseminating the fact that arm-twisting is evil to as many as possible, and then, we just have to hope for the best. A fucking miracle, as it were. I don’t know if that will be enough while I’m here, but I suppose this is one instance where I think it works to be “destination-minded” as far as the afterlife is concerned. When I die, none of what happened here on Earth is going to matter to me. There’s no telling how long I’m going to have to wait to reach that point, but whenever it happens, it will last forever, so I guess there’s one thing to look forward to. The only problem is figuring out what exactly to do along the journey to getting there. It truly does take a lifetime to find out, for better or worse. That feels like such a long time to figure something out. I’m not sure how much I’m looking forward to it. I guess it all depends on what happens within it.
My overall approach to my journey is to coast. This attitude was developed over the course of my childhood, when things were beyond my control, and no matter what I did, I could not alleviate the bad. My actions did not help the circumstances surrounding me one bit. I had to accept the circumstances, and become depressed. That helped foster my apathetic attitude, which, regardless of your beliefs, really did help me out. Of course, it is tragic that it came to that, but “it is what it is”. I frequently found that the harder I tried at something, the worse I got. I didn’t have an overall philosophy that I was longing for. I was confused, and that made me miserable. Apathy helped me disconnect from negative external circumstances, and that helped me develop intrinsically as well. When I failed and failed and failed, no matter how hard I tried to succeed, I finally developed apathy. In this “moralistic cliche” world in which we live, that’s outright blasphemy. But it helped me out more than I can say. “Apathy” has been my modus operandi for a long time now, and it has helped me out tremendously. I’ve coasted, and been very lucky. But, as I’ve written about before, I’ve uncritically listened to people enough in my lifetime. It’s time to be more stubborn and judicious.
There is something about freedom that just produces happiness within oneself. Freedom just produces this happiness. This good feeling. Success, of course, produces yet more good feelings and happiness. But even separate from success, there is a happiness that just naturally comes from independence. It is so intrinsic to our very existence; makes up our core. It is the “will”, and the exercise of that will produces a natural happiness. Of course, we make mistakes, feel miserable about it, beat ourselves up about our stupidity, etc. But, still yet, there is a happiness that comes from the exercising of one’s own will. Because, as I’ve elaborated on before, who cares more about my happiness than me? Who cares about one’s happiness more so than oneself? This is where “do-gooders” will pipe up and say “Some people don’t know what is best for them”, etc. etc. And it is certainly the case that many with self-destructive lives are happy after someone intervenes. But the point is that every action taken is an attempt to achieve a greater state of happiness, even if it doesn’t work. This doesn’t mean that mistakes will not happen, but every person is always attempting to make himself happier than he is currently. When he’s hungry, he eats in an attempt to satisfy himself, even if what he eats leads him to get food poisoning, and he’s worse off than he was before he ate. The point is that every person attempts to increase their satisfaction, even if they ultimately don’t. How can anyone argue against the good of that? Not successfully, I would argue. The nature of man is to have a will and exercise it.
Humanity is so complex that writing about it is a great chore. It truly takes a special mind to do so effectively. There’s so many different paths to choose from, so many varying lengths of the different paths, and the destination is so often unknown. One can go to medical school for many years, incurring great debts, and then regret it later on in life. Someone else can consider that experience the best decision they ever made. Newborns die all the time, while some live to be 10. Others, 20. Still yet others, 30, and some even make it to be 100. We desire to make sense of this. This inequality bugs many, if not most of us. It introduces us to tragedy, and unfairness. We seek to understand it. At least, for a little bit. Then, we find other things to cheer us up. If it makes one happy to continue to ponder these tragic inequalities of the world, I would say continue to do so. But if one does not enjoy doing so, but feels obligated to do so, I would urge that individual to move on. In my opinion, “Help” really helps when the helper feels some satisfaction to do so. If an individual has a gun pointed to his head, and is required to “help” another, there’s clearly something lost in that. If we should strive towards being more “loving” people, we can’t do that by pointing guns at each other’s heads to arrive at that point. Does that mean I dislike guns? No. Defense is different from aggression. We should not be initiating violence to achieve peaceful ends. But I, personally, do not believe that one who engages in violent defense is “unethical”. Life is a balance between evil, forgiveness, and justice. This is what we have. The evil is unavoidable in a complete sense. Evil consumes us all, even when we don’t want it to, from time to time. We will all wrong other people during our lifetimes. I think it is a blessing that the degree to which we wrong others can be less severe than others. Although we are all sinners, we are not all murderers. I consider that a blessing. But when it comes to love, forgiveness, and justice, we must accept our natural humanities. Fear is natural within us as humans, it is true. But it is also true that love is greater when freely given instead of being coerced. It is always better than aggressive violence.
The harder I try not to sin, the more I’m aware of my sin. It consumes me to the point of hopelessness and depression. And anger. Why is that what God would rather have me do than enjoy the good times as they naturally occur throughout the course of my life? If God cares about me, why would He want me to torture myself? Surely there are some similarities between humans and God, if we were “made in His image”? Why would our concept of caring for someone give us a feeling of compassion, whereas when God enters that equation, it leads to misery and fear? I don’t buy it. God does not torture us because He loves us. Therefore, we should not torture ourselves just because we love God. If God has forgiven us for our transgressions, as Christians believe happened through Christ, then why can’t we forgive ourselves?
I don’t know anything more about my journey through life currently, so I’m going to end this piece here. All I hope for currently is that my pieces continue to get better, and that I’ll be able to recognize it. That’s probably the biggest step along my “journey” thus far. Is this step leading to the destination? I have no idea. But the destination makes me happy, the journey is making me happy, so that’s what I’m going to do.
I entered this world as an introvert. As I got older, comedy became my way of communicating with other people. Whenever I allowed my brain to develop a completely independent thought that wasn’t “comedy”-related, and shared that thought with others, I often found that they thought I was crazy. I started to believe this as well. And this kept me from sharing serious thoughts with others. Comedy has always been easier for me than writing something “serious”.
I have not yet determined if they were right, or if I was, and am, right. I can tell that this uncertainty hinders me creatively. But I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. If I completely express myself, completely and honestly, am I actually an insane person? Am I a danger to others? Are my honest thoughts dangerous to others? To many, that’s a weird question to ask. But to me, it’s normal. I’m learning the importance of independence. And I’m learning how I can improve as a writer. But I still have my doubts. I begin to write something, and feel as if I’ve already written it before. Then, those children of my past come back, and ask “Why do you repeat yourself so often?” And then, there’s doubts. I start to “look up” why I repeat myself so often. Ope, looks like it’s OCD. So then, I obsess over my “self-diagnosed” OCD, until I finally just say “I can’t do this anymore.” Even if I do only repeat myself with everything I write, if that’s what I feel like I should write, then that’s what I’m going to write. If I’m truly a mental patient, then as long as I feel honest with myself, I’ll have to accept that I’m more “disordered” than the general population.
I’m tired of adopting ideas about myself that come directly from others. This is partly why I have developed my “vulgar” stage: as a way to rebel from being told how I should think. What do I think? What do I honestly think and believe? It is crucial to the soul for one to develop his own thoughts and convictions. Something is always missing if one doesn’t.
It is fun to take what people believe about me and exaggerate it. I really enjoy that. I really enjoy “scaring” ignorant people. It’s dangerous, because there are some people out there crazier than I who wouldn’t hesitate to end my life. But if freedom of expression is so important, why should death be enough to scare one into silence?
I don’t want to be told how I should bring my creative visions to life. I don’t want to be afraid of being “crazy” and “repetitive”. I’ve always believed that I know what I’m talking about. If you disagree, say so. You have every right to say nasty things about me, or whatever you want. I’m not going to stop you. In fact, I encourage it. I may delete a comment, but start your own blog. I have learned that good people will always get their names smeared by bad people, so I welcome that. I welcome the miscreants to destroy my name. I fucking love it. Bring it on.
I always envision an assassination attempt against me, much like Larry Flynt. “Why don’t you just keep your mouth shut? Is it really worth it?”, you may ask. I believe so. I have always been willing to stand up for what I believe to be right. I’ve never had a gun pointed at me, or anything severe, but I’ve been attacked (when I was a kid) for standing up for justice. Been stabbed with a pencil, and had my face slammed into a desk, because I took back a seat that was stolen from me. I realize that’s a minor example. But it proves the principle. Even though I’m not perfect, and I’ve done some bad things, I think I can safely say that justice motivates me.
I have very deep convictions regarding comedy and writing. I have big goals. I will not stop pursuing them. It’s a very slow process, as I have said. But practice will make me better. I’ll develop my voice with practice and experience. I will be able to handle justified and unjustified criticism as I get older. It’s going to be a while before those voices of doubt go away. It’s exhausting to read and try to get better. Entering into the literature world is a huge endeavor. But I want to write, and I want to see where it takes me. I want to learn from my mistakes as a writer. I don’t want to let criticism silence or censor me. And all of this is going to be very hard to do. The thing that gives me hope is the fact that writers write over a very long period of time, so I know I’ll get better at this as I go along. I’ll just have to feel like I’m spinning my wheels until I finally, somehow, get out of the mud.
I’m not able to completely make up my mind yet, and that bugs me. I want all of my writing philosophies to be fully developed now, but they aren’t, and can’t be. There will be growing pains. That’s a part of it. But I look forward to seeing where it all ultimately goes. For whatever reason, I am confident in my abilities to write. I didn’t say I was good yet, but I’m confident that I can do some good things over time. It’s just a matter of learning how to do it, and that is hard; especially, if you’re as thin-skinned as I am. Even that callousness takes practice, and I’m impatient. But I look forward to seeing where it all goes, and I’m looking forward to how I’m going to feel about it all. I generally feel confident until I get negative feedback, but I think that’s just natural for a lot of people. I may be an engine without oil, but I’ll learn to lubricate eventually. I truly believe that I am the little engine that could, and now, it’s just a matter of proving it over a period of time. That, of course, is the hard part.
As so eloquently stated by Mises (and elaborated by Rothbard), human beings use means to achieve ends. This is known as “praxeology”. I decided to embark on writing this as, not too long ago, I was sitting and thinking about what I was doing. Now what exactly was it that I was doing? Good question. I was thinking about stuff that I do: namely, writing and making Youtube videos. I decided to do these things in an attempt to make a career that I thought I would actually enjoy. It is my life’s mission to have a job that I actually like, and not one that I hate, but need. I’ve written before about how I came to have this “philosophy” for myself.
But I sat and thought about writing, and Youtube: specifically, how unknown I am in these regards. Although I’ve, most of the time, been optimistic about my ability to succeed in my “ultimate endeavor”, on this occasion, I was not. I thought about the work that I had done, and how unknown it was. And thought about continuing to put even more fervor into my work to get things done, only to have the work continue to remain unknown. Perhaps I’m just an “immature adult” that needs to “grow up”. But, deep down, I have been convinced that I can succeed. I looked at the current level of my “success”, and was dejected. Knowing how much more work I wanted to create, and my vision of where I could take it financially, felt destroyed. I felt like I had to find something else to do. I felt like I finally need to factor in money more so than the enjoyment of the labor.
Perhaps you find that funny. I’m not going to go into detail about my current financial state. But, as I have said, my main goal is to find a career that I actually enjoy. And, currently, writing and Youtube are the only things that I can realistically (go ahead and laugh) think of. The only things that I think I can work towards that will make me happy. Any time that I’ve tried to come up with an “alternative” (specifically “realistic” ones), I have not been happy. You may say that it doesn’t matter if I’m happy or not, but I have, and will continue, to address my philosophy about “happiness”.
I’ve written about my laziness before. And, clearly, that contributes to my lack of financial success in some way. But, perhaps it’s because of my youth, and the natural “rebelliousness” that comes with it, I’m not satisfied to only dream of financial success at my current “dream careers”. Nay, I also desire to, in almost every way possible, succeed in every way that should be “impossible” to succeed in. What do I mean? Well, for one, my Youtube thumbnails. I enjoy the atrocious thumbnails that I make in Microsoft Paint. The thumbnails that literally anyone could make better than me. All across Youtube, there are professional thumbnails that are pleasing to the eye. And I don’t dislike that. But, perhaps due to my “youthful contrarianness”, I can’t help but “prove to the world” that I can succeed without those “professional” thumbnails. Trivial and childish? Perhaps. And, once again, perhaps it is because of my youth, my youthful ignorance, or my ignorance. But that is also included in my “career goals”: not only proving that I can turn what I enjoy doing into a career, but that I can also do it “unprofessionally”.
The final, and much more difficult aspect of this, is, admittedly, insane. The final “contrarian” point is that I want to purposefully make people dislike me in order to make people like me. This one is much harder for me to reconcile (obviously). What do I mean? Well, I have found (as has everyone), that throughout the course of my life, I have made people feel anger, discomfort, or other negative emotions, simply by the way that I naturally wanted to be. What do I mean? Well, my sense of humor, for one. It’s very dark, perverted, profane, etc. I have experienced that it makes many people uncomfortable, and, after I started putting it on the internet, that it makes people angry. And I’ve honestly started to fuel off of these things. I think it is because if I wish to express what I naturally desire to express, then I have to fuel off of these things. I can either adapt, shut up, ignore, or use that for motivation, and because my desire to express myself honestly is so strong, I choose to fuel. It isn’t enough for me to just ignore people’s anger and discomfort. I want to magnify it. I don’t believe this is out of sadism. It is about me speaking honestly, freely, and confidently. It is my overpowering desire to not be silenced. My desire to speak is stronger than my care for the feelings of others (to a certain extent, of course). The thought of proving people wrong, succeeding in a way that no one thought possible, motivates me. It’s what drives me to continue. My love of the work is the strongest reason why I create the work. But my desire to sell the work stems from, obviously, the desire for financial security, but also just because I’m told I can’t. The typical immature, childish reason to do anything in this world. When I developed this belief (thanks to how I was raised), I listened to successful person after successful person, and tried to find something within myself that I felt like connected me to them. And a big thing that I related to was that all of them told of how they were always told that they’d never succeed. That right there clicked with me. “Hey, me too! I can succeed, too!” That was pretty much my only reason for feeling like I could relate to these successful people. It wasn’t because I believed I was particularly talented. Just that I was told that I’d never succeed in finding a “dream job”.
Perhaps, one day I’ll finally accept one (or more) of the, I’m sure, many reasons that people finally “grow up”. But I’m on a mission to find out everything for myself, regardless of the scale of the negative consequences that I may experience because of my choices.
Of course, I don’t really know how to convince anyone that I can do this. The work speaks for itself, and do I truly believe that my work as it stands is enough for success? No, I don’t. It’s a starting point, but there’s a Hell of long way to go. But I believe that I can do it. You can’t arrive at a destination without steps, and I believe that articles like this, and the work that I’ve done up to this point, are steps (it remains to be seen just exactly how big these “steps” will truly be in retrospect).
I’ve already written about how I believe my writing stacks up with “the best”, and you can read that here. I’ve also written about how I feel about my writing, and how I can get better. I’ve written a little bit about why I write, but I believe I could elaborate on that further; and I’ve also written about selling writing, but I will write more about that as well.
I’m currently at the stage where I realize how important my mental independence really is. I’m starting to realize how important my choices are, and that I have control (to what degree, I don’t know). I don’t need to be told what to write, or how, or when. I’m in control of all of that. Even if I suck, I’m in control. And it’s just going to take time and experience to figure out what I’m going to be taking, where I’m going to take it, and how I’m going to get it there (and why is important to know as well). It’s a slow process, but I’m thankful I don’t have a formal “teacher” distracting me from my own personal literary journey (no canon!)
I am beginning to understand that literature is a slow process; especially for me. I can’t explain why I want to write when I do, or what makes me want to write about something. But I can tell that, whatever it is I’m ultimately doing, it is a long process. There’s a lot of quitting involved. A seemingly infinite number of baby steps. There’s a method to the madness. The more mad, the better, in my opinion. Deep down, I think I know that time makes things better. The brain ages, and gets better at things, before it gets worse at things. It’s very odd. It seems out of my control. When I was younger, I remember trying so hard to do so many different things, and failing spectacularly. I was frequently discouraged, and reached many breaking points. Developed coping mechanisms that I thought I would continue for the rest of my life. But, eventually, the coping mechanisms became problems themselves, and I had to hope and pray that things changed. I finally just got better at stuff. I have no idea how: I just fucking did. And I know writing will be no different. I can already tell, as I read stuff that I started writing several years ago, just how bad it was. What has changed over those years? I honestly don’t know. I don’t feel like I’ve written enough to say that practice helped me get better. All I can say, similarly to the past, is that divine intervention just changed some things, thankfully. I have big dreams in my head, but I know it is going to take painfully slow steps to get there. But the good thing is that once they are taken, there’s no need to backtrack. The work you put in will make you feel good when you get to where you are going. But you need stops along the way, even if they are frequent and lengthy. I think breaks are just as important when working on something as the “working” on it is. They shouldn’t be avoided.
I need to learn to love the process. The struggles, although annoying, are important. It makes the task at hand more fun. Looking at a vision of the future, and all of the obstacles that stand in the way of that completed vision, are very interesting. They make the journey more fun. They just give you something to do with life, and that is very important. It’s the difference between living and feeling alive.
I don’t know when or how I’m going to get better at writing. I can tell that this is a huge challenge. I’m sure that, the more I get involved, the more of the iceberg is going to show. But, hopefully by that point, I will be prepared enough to do with the iceberg whatever the fuck it is that I intend to do with it. But the point is that I want the iceberg, and I want to see what happens as a result of it.
It’s quite humorous to think, just a few short years ago, that I thought I was a “good” writer. Now, those “good” writings are just godawful. Now, today’s writings feel good. I’m encouraged that, in the future, these words will be horrible, and I’ll have beautiful words to replace these with. It makes the journey worthwhile, even if it is hard to figure out what the first steps should be. And, of course, even if, many times, I wish to just stay at home and watch T.V. instead of traversing the tough terrain of the tundra looking for the tip of that iceberg poking through the membrane film of my mind.
Reading is a struggle as well. There’s so much to read. The brain has finite energy. “Exhaustion” is the name of the game for everyone. Writers and readers are no exception.
There’s a fine line between fate and will. I’m constantly balancing between the two. Action leads to failure. But it also leads to success. It leads to exhaustion. But it leads to purpose. It leads to bad work. But it leads to good work.
I’m just one small writer in this world. In the past, I thought I could be one of the best. Now, I don’t care as much. Just one of those weird differences that just happen with time. It’s just hard to explain. Experience. Biological growth. It’s just destiny. It’s just weird. The shitty writing of today will be funny in the future. And the future writing will have to be better, because that’s what happens when you put time and effort into something. Usain Bolt once crawled. We all just want to be retired gold medalists as soon as possible.
My mind has visions, and it’s a slow process. There’s no way around this. This is “just how it is.” But I long for the days when it’s all better than it is today. As much as I hate bringing up my age, I can “hang my hat” on the fact that I’m young, and if I live long enough, will be writing for a long time. That has to bear some fruits of quality somehow.
There’s a certain craziness I wish to unleash to the world. It’s frustrating to dream when your dreams aren’t completed. It’s hard to continue when it is so daunting; when you’re as bad at doing what you want to do as I am. The process is a slow drip; but time creates the erosion. Drips make a significant impact over time. If you stare at each drip, the process takes even longer. You can’t be an observer to your own drips. You just have to drip, and then, one day, someone else will bring the erosion to your attention, and you’ll say “Holy shit. Those drips actually fucking did something.” I can’t wait for that day to come, but the problem will be that day is only going to come after a lot of things go (such as my legs, memory, etc.). Of course, I can’t forget my lunch breaks (and I love to eat).
Of course, I want to marvel at the works of others. Learn from them; be inspired by them. In some ways, that means turning off the faucet. But, ultimately, it helps the goal. It slows down the process. Gives the process more steps. But, ultimately, it helps the process. It’s all part of the complicated process. Before you know it, there will be another change, and you’ll be better than you were before. At least, you will be if you don’t stop dripping.
As frustrated as I get at the amount of times I “quit” (or take a break); as frustrated as I get, I can tell when I’m dripping. I can tell when the faucet gets turned on a little bit more. I can see progress. It makes sense that the more you do something, the better you will get at it. But when you start, and you suck, it’s hard to see where, when, and how that progression is going to come.
I can see all of the visions in my head. But they can’t be done instantaneously. They can only be done with effort and experience, and only over a period of time. I’m finally able to accept that, instead of being frustrated at my inability to create good pieces of art instantaneously and just making the entire process harder on myself. I can only say the difference is experience and biology.
I literally have nothing to lose by having an optimistic attitude about my work. I wish more people would adopt that attitude for themselves (but mainly just so they’d leave me alone).
Even if I don’t succeed, the mental stimulation and spiritual satisfaction provided towards working on this goal, I truly believe, cannot be fulfilled by anything else. I don’t desire to have kids, so raising a child would not provide me with this level of fulfillment. I don’t believe any career other than the ones that I desire could. “Well, have you tried?”, you may ask. No, I haven’t. And I don’t plan to. All I plan to do is write and make people laugh at me. That’s it. That’s the challenge: getting paid to do these things. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than trying to make this happen, and I truly don’t want to find anything “more fulfilling” than this. Aside from my lack of financial success, this is already perfect for me.
There are always voices of doubt in my head. Many of them are related to voices I have heard in the past. But there are other voices that silence them, if only momentarily. And it is during those moments that the dripping begins. I’m in this for the long haul. My love for writing is never going to leave me. This means that I am going to be doing it for life, and, as such, it will have to improve. That’s encouraging, whatever my struggles are. And, currently, those struggles are pretty significant. Small steps. Drips.
I need to work harder on developing my own voice. I want my voice to drown out the voices of all others. “You’re going to drown!”, they yell from the shore. “You’re crazy! Why don’t you pick a different hobby? You’re wasting your time!” Do I want to listen to them? No, I don’t. I just want to write. I just want to make people laugh at me. And I want to make money. These are all I care about. No amount of “advice” is going to change this. All my eggs may be in one basket, but I’m imaginative enough to see the Easter Bunny in my head. And I like that thought.
And as far as how I fit in with “the market” in the long term, although you may say that my prospects are bleak, I’m going to hold out hope, if only because I feel like I, realistically, have no other purpose. Or, perhaps less “drastically”, that I don’t want any other purpose. Feel free to equate me with a child having a temper tantrum; I’d rather be a dreamer than a miserable “adult”. I’ll take that any day of the week, even if I get strange looks as I frolic with the Easter Bunny.
We begin on another journey. Another day; another desire to write. Another piece unplanned, for the plans are too great. Where will this take us? The same place we’ve always been? Are we circling the block again? Has the navigator lost his sense of direction? A real vacation takes a lot of time and effort. A long distance. How about we just drive around the block again? Do we notice anything different? Or are we comforted by the repetition? There’s a folder full of maps. But who needs a map? Who needs a plan? The plans are too great. Let’s drive around town. Have I traveled down this road before? Or have I spent my whole life with the street in my peripheral, but never going down it? Have I lost my mind? Who wants to ride with me?
There already exist maps of the whole world. I can read whichever one of them I want. But what if I wish to be a mapmaker? I can’t copy other maps directly. But they are more accurate and thorough than my own. Why can’t I desire to be something else besides a goddamned mapmaker? I don’t even have a sense of direction. How trustworthy am I, anyway? I can’t sell maps. I barely read any. What makes me think I can do what has already been done, but better, and as a tabula rasa? I know the basics: north. South. East. West. But what about elevation? What about the roads? The rivers? The landmarks already discovered?; already pictographed on maps? Why not choose a different craft?
Let’s not go anywhere today. Let’s stay at home. Let the fat waste us away. Sure, it’s stupid. But traveling is work. And scary. The isolation: what if I get lost? Go down a wrong path? But what is my destination? That’s the greatest problem of them all. Wishing to make maps without a destination in mind. Or is that a blessing? What about reading maps of countries not yet traveled? What map should I read first? What aspects of the map should I study first as someone who desires to make maps? I can’t read all of the maps. But I desire to create my own direction. But this is fucking hard.
Let’s just go to the backyard today. There’s South Carolina. Tennessee. Virginia. Texas. California. Wyoming. Spain. Turkey. Russia. Alaska. Why oh why do I want to make maps…
I’ll tell you what: let’s make bad maps. Let’s just make rough sketches. For fun. Why not? Sure, everyone else will be reading the detailed maps. But they should. If I’m going to make maps, why not start off small? Amateurish? If I want to make maps for a long time, I’ll get better somehow, right? When, and how? I haven’t finished creating the map yet, so I’m not sure yet. But at least I’ve written about making maps, even if I haven’t made one. That’s a start.
I never cease to be disappointed. I constantly find myself involved in ethical debates, if only as a listener. I find myself a listener, obviously, because I find the discussions interesting. Ethics are something that I want to ponder and discuss. But as I start to go down this road, I often feel it is in vain. I find myself realizing that some things have not changed, and some things will never change. The same problems that exist today have always existed. I find it quite annoying that technological geniuses can’t contemplate philosophically. As if every new combination of physical matter is somehow going to make humans ethically better. Then, news media reports on how the technological medium is making us worse, while seemingly ignoring the benefits it gives us. Where is the perspective?
There are few in the “technological realm” that understand that the tools are used to make specific things better, but not humans as a whole. The tools are merely tools, able to be used for good or evil. They themselves convey no “good” or “evil”. But still yet, there are idiots that complain that tools are corrupting our youth, etc. It really makes me wonder: what’s the point of pointing all of this out?
Let me try to be more general for a second. Let’s take writing. I am writing this right now. You are reading this right now. I’m attempting to convey certain points that I wish to communicate because I want to, for various reasons, and, if you are reading this, you chose to, for various reasons, and you will come to various conclusions about what I have written here. Why am I doing this? Why are we doing this? Why do we do this? Why do we communicate? On a certain level, I understand that we’re all human. We all are similar in that regard. And part of being human means being able to speak and listen. But it bothers me that I don’t know why this is the case. Sometimes, I wish we were all automatons, incapable of communication, and that we could all still function as independent, unrelated entities. Because I find myself exhausted from communication of all sorts.
Why do I write when others have written?, I find myself asking. I compare myself to other writers. Why? Because, as writers, we all want readers. It is impossible for every reader to read every writer. So, many writers want readers to choose themselves over other writers. It’s about supply and demand. Just natural. “Pick me, pick me!” But I find myself having certain problems with this within myself. For one, I know there are countless other writers more deserving of being read than me. So why do I write? I don’t know. There are writers that I haven’t read. So why should anyone read me? I don’t know. How much time and effort should I put into writing? I certainly don’t spend a lot of time doing it: only when something strikes me, and that hasn’t been too often as of late. And what about people that lie when they write? What about people who have written insights that go unnoticed? So many things go through my head when I want to write that I sit paralyzed by my own thoughts. I want to write something significant. Meaningful. And I want to get paid. But, I suppose I’m the whining, unsuccessful author at this point in my life. And I’m starting to wonder why I’m really writing at all.
For one, I don’t know how I can expect to be read when I don’t read. I’ve written about that here. Before, I thought “Well, I’ll just write, and see what happens.” But nothing has happened. Writing now actually feels like an unproductive endeavor. And I don’t know what I can replace it with. It’s always felt natural to me when it happens. What could I possibly replace it with? Is there anything else that feels “natural” to me? Certainly, the majority of writers that write are “financially unsuccessful”. This is true for anyone that does anything. And people will choose, on an individual level, whether to continue anyway or do something else. But I don’t think I have anything else. I don’t really want to learn anything else. I’m stuck with an unproductive “skill”, for lack of a better term, and I don’t know what to do with it. I’m growing tired of writing for no, or few, readers. I listen to popular arguments, and think “You know, there’s so many good ideas from history that are being ignored. And I’m ignoring them as well. So why am I even doing this? Why do I even care if my ideas resonate?” And, the answer is, that I don’t know.
I’m growing tired of writing, because everything is becoming repetitive, and not enough people are reading my works to satisfy me. I also find reading to be dreary, because I don’t feel like I’m gaining anything from it. Even when I read things that I enjoy, I start to ask…what’s the point of this? I think I’m finally getting to the point where I care more about money than enjoying my work. I’ve worked for basically no pay with, for example, writing, and I think I’m finally done with it. I don’t care as much about it anymore. I want to do something more financially sustainable. As much as I’d love to be a professional writer, I just don’t think I want to do this anymore like I once did. I’m tired of dreaming about big paychecks. I’m tired of dreaming of writing popular things. I don’t really care about these dreams anymore. And that’s not something I would’ve ever thought I would’ve said several years ago. But the truth is is that I’ve given this as much of a shot as I’ve wanted to, and I’m just done with it now. I’m done dreaming of success. I want to actually do something that makes me successful. I know you, as the reader, don’t care. But I don’t care that you don’t care, and I don’t know why you’re reading this.
The problem is that I’m still torn. I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’m still in development. I don’t think writing things down when I’m still contemplating them (and don’t have a resolution) is a good idea (as you can probably tell by the transition from the past paragraph to this sentence). At least for me. I’d prefer it if I had it all figured out, and then, it was simply a matter of retracing my steps, or something. Deep down, I just want to be happy. I’m pretty sure that’s universal. It’s a matter of finding out what that is, and how to get it. And this is where the “fun variety of life” comes in. What makes you happy can change. Experience can change you. Lots of things can change. And some things never do. Once again, I find myself stuck. I love to write. But I’m tired of not having any readers. So do I purposefully try to obtain more readers? Or do I just continue to write what makes me happy? Do I finally give up on dreaming of having a dream career? Or do I hang on? Who do I listen to, and who do I ignore? What do I do? The point is, I’m getting tired of what I’m doing right now. But I don’t know what to do about it. I’m tired of the repetitive nature of “popular discussion”, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m constantly in a state of conflict (as I think everyone is, honestly). I want to learn, but I’m sick of reading. I want to write, but I’m sick of not being read. I want to write something meaningful, but there’s a human history full of meaningful things, so what’s the point of trying to add one thing to a history full of things? I don’t know the answer, and it bugs me. People bug me. Communication bugs me. I wish that I felt completely alone. Resistant to all outside influence. But, when I desire to learn, I can’t be. When I desire to write, I can’t be. When I need money, I can’t be. Here, I can hear you saying “Sometimes, you have to change.” But sometimes, you don’t. I want to rise above cliches. I don’t want to live my life by cliches much like conservatives live by the Ten Commandments. I’ve gone down that road before, and it doesn’t work. Taking cliches and trying to make them “more true” than they are doesn’t work. Something is missing. And I don’t know what it is. I want to say that the only thing missing is financial success. I think that’s a big part of it. But something else is missing as well. Why am I here? Why am I here with people I hate? Why can’t I be somewhere else? How can I be alone? I need answers to these questions more than anything in life. Well, besides a career, I suppose.
I’m happy with all of my work up to this point, even if, in retrospect, I don’t think it’s very good, because all of my past work has led my work to what it is today. But I can’t make someone else like it if they don’t. I’m not going to treat my work like a product to be moulded to consumer demands. So, that means that if I’m going to create, and my creations are not “in demand”, I just have to live with it. That means I’m going to have to have a new perspective about it all. I need a new way to deal with people. I just need to “grow up”, I guess. And, once again, I don’t really know why I write. I don’t know why I dream of success. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. All I know is that I do what I think will make me happy. That’s all that I really care about. I’m getting tired of what I’ve been doing, and something is going to have to change. I just don’t know what that is, or what will bring it about, and that is bugging me right now.
I think, much like my dad always desired for himself, that I just wish to retire away from the world on my own piece of property, and then just die in peace. I have a feeling I’m walking in my father’s footsteps. What we both wanted was just to retire, and have a nice piece of land and property. That’s what I really want. To get away from everything, and not have to worry about anything. I suppose that when that is what you desire, you’re always bound to be disappointed.
As I said, I’m not quite sure where I stand as far as a resolution of ethical issues is concerned. A part of me thinks, in some ways, it is easy. That God, who is good, will take care of the bad. But I’m also skeptical of myself when I start to think religiously. I’ve thought religiously in the past, and it only made things worse. I’ve developed new religious thoughts over the years, and I’m more prone to a “lasseiz-faire” attitude when it comes to religion. I don’t particularly care. Things don’t bother me as much. I just accept things as they are, and I feel content (which, I think, is the point of religion). But when evil is staring me in the face, it’s much harder to keep that attitude, and it’s much easier to want to do something about it. Even if there’s not really anything I can do about it.
I’m a “big picture” person. A “philosopher”. I want to understand meaning. And I want to understand the meaning behind our existence. A meaning to all of the arguing, and all of the evil. I can’t help myself, even if I’m incapable of grasping it. I don’t want to sit idly by, and say nothing, but I also don’t want to have a mental breakdown due to not being able to figure out “the problems of the world”. Currently, I’m in between these two, leaning more towards the “mental breakdown”. I’m confident that, one day, I’ll know the answer to this question, but at the moment, I can only find myself asking: “What’s the point of it all?”