Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Instructions For Today

The life you planned—it doesn’t work out. Not necessarily. Maybe not at all. Maybe you’re supposed to follow your passion, which will lead to success. Maybe your abundance of passion will never get you there because you just don’t have the talent. You don’t know. I don’t know. Your future isn’t waiting to be discovered. It isn’t waiting. Your future doesn’t depend on you. Not solely. There are so many factors beyond your control: biology, DNA, weather, governmental policy, corporate policy, the decisions of others, the decisions of your parents while you are a child, when your tire will blow out, which person the serial killer selects, where the lightning will strike, who will be put in your 3rd grade class, which university will accept you, who will cross the yellow line when you’re on the other side, etc. I apologize for the embarrassingly incomplete list. Your future will largely be determined by forces outside of your control—you are your only chance to do what you want. It may not work out, but you have no alternative. You are the largest tool in your toolbox. 

The world will enact itself upon you. Whether the future is written or not makes no difference to you—it looks the same from here, from the present. A large, unflinching question mark.

Do you play it safe and become an accountant? Do you roll the dice and play your guitar night after night before an audience of a handful? I don’t know. The people who know the answer and give it to you with unflappable confidence, I don’t think they’re very helpful. I think they mean well, but they’re not trying to help, they’re trying to comfort. There is a time for everything, but 24/7 comfort leaves you fat, complacent, unambitious. 24/7 comfort leaves you nowhere. But comfort is nice, and countless are content to spend their entire lives there. That’s ok. We weren’t all called to ambition and achievement.

The human drive is a mysterious and unknowable thing, built on a framework of conscious and unconscious desires at raging war among themselves. For a lifetime. Why do I want what I don’t seem to have? Why do I get a little of it, then run from it to comfort? There will always be mystery. The point isn't to solve all of the mysteries, you can't do that; the point is to get comfortable with mystery. Instead of always trying to push them out of the car, learn to put their seat belt on for them.

The life you planned—it may not work out. You may choose the wrong road and not know it for a lifetime. You might get halfway there and stall out—lot's of people do. But not trying, holding back for fear, keeping your options open—these are forms of suicide. Suicide that draws itself out, day by day.

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