Provoking Life

I'm trying a change of strategy here. 
All my life I've been rather factual when talking about my current condition. I would say "Things are ok, but this and that are not working. I'm surviving this and that; it's been a rollercoaster." I'm still reluctant to give in to "the law of attraction" but I'll say this: When I'm preoccupied with negativity, criticism and anger, there is little room for anything else to happen. There is little room for the conversation to be about anything positive. Grudge. Envy. Choke. Injustice. Rage - these are the words that spring to mind in that narrative. 
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So the new endeavor is flip the sentiment on its head: First, gratitude for what I have and been having and spend so little time acknowledging. Second, gratitude for everyone around me. And third, provoking the good side of life by actions like complimenting others, choosing good memories over bad ones, or taking myself lightly. I'm hoping that with this, there is less and less room for conversation about the negative, and more about the positive. Mind you, I needn't be in denial when I'm headed for the iceberg. But maybe what I am saying is this: I wanna be efficient with the mishaps rather than a dweller. I wanna fail fast, get up and dust myself off with a smile. "Wasn't that the sight!" 
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There is a thin line between comedic self-deprecation and actual self-blame. The latter - calling oneself names or seeing oneself as a shit companion (we are in our own company 100% of the time) - never actually helps. It's like a bad teacher swinging his cane against his fearful student. A much better teacher is one that finds a promising quality about that student to start with. That better teacher has enough room to love his student, and stick with him no matter how impatient the onlookers may be. Eventually, that student will shine with confidence, will "get doing" and will have much bigger chances of good things coming his way.

I am the teacher. I am the student.

Becoming A Villager Once More

When I was young, I wasn't as scared to create. While others dialed their phones and played on their playstations, I sat at my desk to draw, write and design. Attempt after attempt. Hours unsquandered, gifted to the sketchpad. It was a vigorous flow of expression, oblivious to market standards and style references. It was more me than anything else. 
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All I knew was a handful of friends, and was never haunted by the fear of missing out. I was a villager with time at hand, wasn't I? Are we distracted today by the multitudes?
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Now, creation comes with a scare: I've seen too much to ignore that I may not be the next record-breaking, earth-shattering, viral, worthy piece of shit. The exhibitionist in me yanked the hand break and stalled all desires to produce. Numbed by worry out of my creativity, I watch me - I watch us - be tamed from creators into curators. Why? The ease of power that lies in liking and disliking - judging, really - often trumps the uphill battle that starts with flipping off the newsfeed & stories (nauseating and claustrophobic as their vicious cycle may get) and committing to one's own creative calling. 
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Note to self: The mind - the judge - is frantic and worrisome. But the soul heals. Revive her intuition, and put it back to work.

Rekindle

There is a slight dilemma - maybe even melancholy - in knowing someone so well and failing to find a proper excuse, or common ground, to communicate. When the words are lost, or rendered meaningless or inconsequential, don't you mourn a little? Because not so long ago, you could almost talk - maybe even laugh - about anything at all. So what happens then? What gets in the way? Is it ego? Apathy? Laziness? All of the above? 
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Been there, done that. But I also deliberately revisit my past, just in case I've overlooked someone or haven't given them ample chance. I revisit with both past and future in mind. And I watch if their present resonates with my now-self. Sometimes I'm happy to pick up where we left off. Sometimes I'm happy to pick up and go.

No Full Marks, Sucker!

I never really understood the root of this exasperating race. Who is chasing after us? Why do we feel like the clock is ticking all the damn time? Really, blessed are those who don't have this nag weighing over their heads.

Well, I never understood, until I heard myself spelling it out yesterday. At least to me, this is how it works:

The chase is not a mere function of running out of time. We make time. Our perspectives and the deadlines we choose to succumb to give or takeaway this time. (plus hey, we can always recalibrate: 30 is the new 20. 40 is the new 30, etc). But the chase - the restlessness - is really a disappointment with how well my decision-making machine works.

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I have to forego another hour of my life because I burned the food (but by now - by this age - I know better than to burn the food).

I don't feel as far ahead in my career (but I should have known better; I should have made different moves).

I have to spend another 2 months in rehab (but I should have by now known better; I should have never let myself slip)

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It's a frustration with mediocrity in spite of age. You think you're a seasoned adult, a master of your domain. Then baaam. You don't know how that shit works.

But then comes a time when you deliberately decide I am comfortable with taking my time. I am ok with burning the food so long as I learn something about myself. I feel fine going slow and steady rather than losing the flavor of living for the sake of some validation. When you've made peace with all of that, the race suddenly and uneventfully stops.

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Note to self: Take your time. There are no full marks in life.

More Raisins In My Life

I have finally realized what people I am most joyful around. Apart from the obvious traits like being jolly, a good storyteller, or essential traits like kindness, concern and empathy - what really gets me clicking with someone is their curiosity.

Without curiosity, there is no appetite for life. 
The curious turn the stone that I am. They poke me like most people don't. They get me thinking about things I've forgotten. Running into them is like eating a bland bowl of oatmeal then biting on a sweet raisin.

I want more raisins in my life.

Too Scared To Fail

(Long. You may wanna save it for later)

I've grown too safe. And the safety is killing me. 
I can't count the times I have declined doing something (like taking up long-boarding), going somewhere (like joining friends to a concert), starting something (like painting series) out of the concern that it would be pointless and simply a waste of my time. "I'm too old for this shit." I would say. "What's the point?"

Instead, I stay snug at home, and do an encore of the familiar.

Monotony.

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I'm thinking my life over, and realizing that I've grown too worried about disappointing myself and everyone else. The real disappointment though is in averting those new experiences.

In trying to be too careful with my life, I'm missing out on living.

When I got older, I thought I knew myself better. I got pickier. But there's a sneaky point where pickiness started to hurt me. My life has becomes about exclusion: "Not my thing"; "Not my type." But look who's ended up alone!

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Ok. So, without engagement, I guarantee myself no disappointment. I also guarantee myself no added wealth to my repertoire. For example:

I won't pick up the guitar because no matter how much time I put in, I'll suck. I'll never sound like Clapton.

I won't study that new language, because there is no one to speak it with; it's useless.

I won't get out of my way to make new work; it costs a fortune and there is a huge chance no one will like it.

This is 100% guarantee you'll get better at NOTHING. 
FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

I say pick up that guitar and spend a month trying. Who knows. Worst case scenario, you'll put it back and say, well, I now know how hard it is to play the guitar. You'll appreciate the process, and you will appreciate everyone who's picked up - if not mastered - the instrument. You'll know something because you tasted it. Life will be a little less dull.

Imagine now that you end up actually sounding good. 
Bon fires. Sing alongs. Maybe a record. 
Clapton wasn't born with a guitar in hand, you know.

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Note to self: We've been programmed to be so result-oriented. We've idolized the trophies and the champions in such a way that prohibits the rest of us from even trying. We've grown too shy to attempt, and too scared to fail. When we gave in to that, we've mastered one thing: apathy. Why live like that, when it's all about the journey, silly?