I’ve begun to realize how important it is that you can enjoy the process of things, and not just the end results. I’ve found that if I can’t enjoy writing a song, or a story, or any piece of creative work, then I am unlikely to be satisfied with the final product. If I’m not enjoying the process, I probably won’t even complete it. That isn’t to say that there is isn’t energy and hard work involved, but if it always feels like a chore – if the only positive thing I can see is the end result – than I’m doing something wrong.
It’s true for life as well. My motto for the past couple years has been “Go hard of go home”. Living by that motto, but not enjoying life at all, is a good way to burn yourself out. Last semester, I felt like a bitter old man at just twenty-two. Cynical, unhappy, pessimistic, full of regrets and complaints. These days, however, I try to catch myself before I slip into that well of despair and self-pity. I remember to enjoy where I am right now. It costs me nothing to switch attitudes mid-thought. It doesn’t take much energy, just a little inner-vigilance to keep watch. Something I am really beginning to believe is that if I can’t be content right now, when am I going to be content? I’ve already reached some of my goals – places where I thought I would finally feel peace and satisfaction, but I didn’t feel anything except for the urge to do more.
You don’t have to trade anything for contentment. You’re not giving up success or personal ambition and drive. If anything, being content and finding joy where you are will clear the air and light your path.
On a different note, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia begins anew tonight, so that should be great. I had intended the watch Cool Hand Luke and fill out job applications, but I suppose I can put those off until tomorrow…again. A water-main recently exploded in my apartment due to the excessive cold. The only possessions of mine damaged were a few books (which I’m still going to try and get reimbursement for). I’ve had some very intense, and very noisy dehumidifier equipment in my room. Finally, however, the repairs are done and the walls are dry and I can be a hermit in peace once more. No more random people barging into my room (it worries my that random people have keys to my room) while I’m napping to check the drywall’s water level!
I went to a mythical place yesterday. A place that, until recently, I thought was lost to the world forever. It was a video store. Strictly speaking, this particular location of ‘MovieStop’ (a branch off of GameStop) did not rent out movies, only sold them. I came across this magical place during my mostly fruitless search for classic Audrey Hepburn films. (Classic films are apparently a rarity these days. I would procure my copies by…less official means, but alas I live on a college campus.) Sadly, MovieStop only has a small collection of classic films for sale – but they are cheap, like the rest of the DVD’s sold there. I managed to find a copy of “Funny Face”. It was enjoyable…it had it’s charms, but I probably wouldn’t place it in my top 5 Hepburn films.
On a different note, I’ve recently been pondering the phrase “Art for Art’s Sake”. Every song I write is easier to flesh out then the one before it. I’m also excited less every time inspiration hits. I guess this is because I rarely see any reward for the love and care I put into a song. I suppose at this point I should just try and enjoy the process instead of expecting some kind of prize when I’m finished. The feeling is just so indeterminate. I have a couple people willing to listen, and I’d likely receive a pat on the back for my efforts, but I’d rather hide my creation forever than be patronized for it.
On a different, different note, I have been listening to the book “Kafka on the Shore” in audiobook format. I’d heard only great things about the book, but now, 4/5 of the way through, all I can say is that I despise this book. I deleted it off my phone without even getting to the end. The entire book was just really bad philosophy poorly disguised as storytelling, with the occasional graphic sexual scene thrown in for good measure…to each his own I guess.
I burnt myself out last semester in my attempt to write interesting material for this blog. Naturally, I found no satisfaction in it – because I have no readers. That is fine, and even appropriate. The primary purpose of this blog is twofold: So I can practice my writing, and so I have at least a tiny urge to do interesting things with my time. Of course, I’m not using a very formal writing style and I barely give half a thought to the next sentence I type, but at least it keeps the gears turning.
I felt like a trapped animal last semester (my first semester at a new university). I didn’t do anything worthy of writing down or retelling – I spent my time alone, twiddling my thumbs. I live near a city, but it isn’t a very safe city. Even if I had some place in mind that I wanted to visit or some adventure I felt compelled to begin, I never feel completely comfortable driving to strange places around this city. I don’t really have any friends, so a lot of activities seem lame without amiable company. Truthfully, I don’t really like people all that much. I feel especially adversarial towards my fellow university students. I have a lot of excuses like these.
By the middle of last semester I found myself resigned to average grades, late nights, and drinking on weekdays. My world was pretty colorless, so to speak.
I would like this semester to be different. I am taking a small number of classes – mostly classes I think I will enjoy. I have been applying for jobs, and not only because I need the money – which I do. ‘A busy mind is a happy mind’, they say – and I’ve decided I think too much. I’ve spent countless hours over the past two years mentally chasing my tail. It has been a combination of self-pity and failed attempts to draw conclusions about the world. The world is so bizarre, and I can’t seem to make heads or tails of it. So I’ve decided I need to think less – be less stoic all the time. I want to fill my waking hours with experiences that exercise my mind and bring me to new places, but experiences that don’t force me to draw conclusions about the real world. So I’ve been reading a lot, and listening to a lot of audio-books. It is a good way to keep the mind unaware of itself.
In any case, I am fiddling with some new ways to live this semester. If I can muster the focus, I will write some short stories and likely post them here.