Growing Pains

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It’s been a while blog.

Not exactly sure what to write here anymore, but now feels like a good time to revisit this blog. Life is moving at a strange speed that only the late 20’s/soon-to-be-30’s can. Most people are settled in the location that they will live in for the rest of their lives. Some are married, some are not, some are in love with their career and many are not. At this age, it seems everyone is simply getting used to the routine of daily life.

This, usually, would give us the perception that time is moving quite slow. After all, everyone’s daily routine eventually epitomizes the word “routine.” Conversely, “slow” seems incorrect in describing the nature of people in their late 20’s/early 30’s  and their ever present and consistently strong desire for stuff. Better relationships, cars, houses, money, etc. whatever it is, people always tend to want better or more.

Now, there is typically nothing wrong with wanting a better job, relationship, house etc. But, when you reach the dreaded age of thirty, it seems that people collectively start to believe that time is over. Dating becomes a weird game of people making snap judgment calls on whether or not the person sitting across the dinner table is worthy of marriage. Many perceive you to be in the same career that you will be in forever. Also, your circle of friends seems as big as it’s going to get.

Yes, that is a weird torrent of thoughts. To put it simply, it seems that the late 20’s is full of anxiousness for everyone. Anxious daters, workers, and soon to be homeowners are all clumped together in a weird blob of anxiousness. All of the frantic problems of fading youth marry well with anxiety.

People reading news articles for answers to western maladies of guilt and shame, women thinking, “If I don’t’ find Mr. Right by 35 life is over” men feeling inadequate in their careers despite living comfortably. No matter where I  go, or whomever I run into, it seems everyone is running at the same speed in twenty different directions on three or four different subjects; all at once.

Part of me hears an older guy, off in the distance, saying, “You kids need to slow down.” and I agree. But another part of me thinks, “Why? We have no time.”

Appetite For Self-Delusion

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Now, I don’t like musicals and maybe watch one or two new films per year, but I recently watched La La Land. Besides the premise, I had little idea what this movie was about and I didn’t have many expectations. My thought process was that the cover shot, premise, and actors were cool enough for me to watch the film on a whim. Crazy as it sounds, I also had no idea how much hype this movie generated.

When the musical portions started, an “Oh fuck.” popped into my thoughts. Thankfully, my apprehensions subsided and, long-story-short, La La Land is the best movie I’ve ever watched in my lifetime. Does that feel like an incredibly strange thing to “yadda, yadda” over?  Yes, but that’s not where I’m going with this.

Despite having watched the film about two months later than everyone else in the world, I naively approached the Internet to share my enthusiasm for this film. Firstly, few forum threads were active anymore. Next, I realized that, because my viewing happened right before the now-infamous Grammys, that there was a strange thinkpiece war between journalists, reviewers, and bloggers about whether this movie was amazing, racist, or overrated. Sifting through all of that is never a good idea, even in the noble pursuit of a decent conversation.

What strikes me, and is something I’m somewhat envious over, is how easily all these think piece writers, bloggers, and reviewers are able to nurse their appetite for self-delusion. How is it that all of these people somehow believe that their opinions on something, typically created for entertainment, is so important. Additionally, how did all of these people arrive at a place where they believe that their opinion on a piece of entertainment is somehow earth-changing, especially when there is already a cacophony of opinions.

Naturally, every time an event happens that is a cultural touchstone, back and forth thinkpiece-arguments follow. The arguments seem so widespread and bounce around our social bubbles so often, that it makes me feel that it’s somehow more healthy to nurture the self-delusion of rightness rather than the opposite. But is it, truly?

This blog is mostly for me to look back at and think, “Oh yeah, that  blog exists, what did I think a year ago, and do I have any good ideas to expand upon?” Even if I had thousands of readers, I don’t feel like I would be casting my complete influence on them. Nor would I believe me to be some sort of center-of-the-universe type figure. Yet, reading some think pieces, reviews, and blogs, from other writers I often get the feeling that they love feeding their egos.

Typically, I hate ending on a question. However, is self-delusion in small doses healthy? Are there any positives to it? I don’t know, but given the times we live in I think it’s  a great question to come back to. Especially when it arises from a viewing of a movie that’s self-indulgent in a terrific way.

Existence Of Goals

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Setting goals and goal-theory are fascinating concepts. For about as long as literature was able to reach the masses, someone has been writing about ways to achieve goals. Additionally, before writing was a form of communication available to the masses, people have always tried to learn ways to better achieve goals, and rewire their brains. So what really works?

Whatever works, is whatever works for you, I guess. Doesn’t that sentence sound vague as shit? That’s because it is, but it’s also somewhat true. Some people are better at using willpower, some are better at tricking themselves to conserve on willpower, and some people have huge mental health deficiencies to work around. There are no stone tablets that will further your ability to achieve your goals.

Simply starting the work is the best thing to do. With that in mind, I feel most individuals should contemplate whether or not having new years resolutions is even a good idea. Some will simply have them to have them, some will use them as an effective measure to plan far ahead, and others will start then stop. Which one are you?

With the existence of goals comes a great quandary. Does the mere creation of your goals reinforce your brains idea that you are trying? Does it inspire you towards achievement? Are you overloading yourself, or perhaps over-ambitious?

None of those are easy questions to answer, but they are essential. After all,  honesty with oneself is the first step towards any form of achievement. Of all steps towards achieving goals, that is one of few that I know to be nearly absolute. Be honest with yourself, try, and have a great 2017!

The Five Year Plan

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Often, as youngsters, we think we’ll have everything figured out at some point. For some, these hopes, dreams and actions work out. Others, well, others aren’t always as lucky. For some reason, society has decided, through job interviews, inquisitive peers, and many other platforms, that there needs to be a five-year plan.

At some point, you will be asked what your five-year plan is, and at some point after that, you will be asked again, then again, and it won’t stop. And, with life being the random strange thing that it is, some people will have a plan that they can make work to some extent. Others might have a plan but will fail miserably. As with many other ideas, most people are probably somewhere in the middle.

You might not want to admit your plan (Good idea actually.) You might be one of those people who is scared of your own ambition. Alternatively, you might know exactly what you want to do but have no idea how to create a plan.

Funnily, that one person whose plans always happen to work often has the least risk averse plan. Ain’t it always strange how that works out? Additionally, there are so many careers where five years is not enough to judge. (Acting comes to mind.) So what the hell is up with five years, and why do so many people enjoy using that timeframe?

Some people will say that five years is a good frame to see some progress. Others will say that the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question is just a personality test type of question. Personally, my guess is that some self-help guru penned it as some brilliant, end-all-be-all of questions that can give you insight into someone’s personality. Most likely, this self-help guru probably only gave vague explanations behind what each common answer means.

Business seems to follow a trend of, “Well that guy’s doing it, so we might as well too.” hence the existence of internships which directly oppose some fundamentals of capitalism. In this often, monkey-see, monkey-do world, perhaps it’s okay to be stuck wherever you are with your five-year plan as long as you are truthfully being productive. Who knows. Perhaps if you keep doing whatever it is you’re doing, you might be successful.

After all, the whole idea of success is subjective, and so is every reason for a five-year plan. Let’s just hope that you’re as lucky as you need to be.

The Virtue of Argumentation

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Missed a few updates because of life, quite suddenly, getting busy. Usually, I beat myself up for those types of excuses. But since I’m learning French, it might be best to say “C’est la vie.”

Maybe it’s the fallout of the election or the constant parties occurring around this time of year, but I’ve been thinking quite often about arguments. If memory serves, Dale Carnegie wrote that no one truly wins an argument. One person ends up being filled with resentment, and the other ends up hurting their friend and gaining a false sense of superiority.

Yet, most political discourse, news media, and social media are comprised of arguments. We are totally absorbed by all of those things, so what gives? Is it in our nature to avoid arguments, as well as join in, watch, and be enamored by them?

Stranger yet, is that the truth hardly ever wins arguments. Hard facts are often boring. Fiery, hot words filled with emotion, on the other hand, are thrilling.

Writing this, two friends come to mind. One who seems quite indifferent to everything, and often questions everything, and questions plenty of people. Alternatively, the other person questions people to lure them into arguments and is relentlessly emotional. Do questions attract the indifferent? Do arguments attract the passionate?

Certainly, there is plenty of psychology to go with my babbling. First and most importantly, yes, emotions are easier to manipulate than anything else. Politicians don’t exactly go around making statements that seem like cold, boring facts. (Coincidentally, they statistically tell the truth way more often than we think.)

Passionate people, as it goes, are and have always been better at advancing any narrative. For example, your indifferent friend isn’t spreading information on the election results or news articles. Well, at least mine isn’t.

Meanwhile, your emotional friend probably keeps arguing. After all, we are attracted to the chaos of an argument. Chaos, if anything, loves spreading around. Perhaps this is where argumentation can seem virtuous.

Often, as a society, we enjoy the emotions that get wrapped into chaos. Contrarily, we also try to avoid chaos as much as possible. Maybe you can’t have calm without the chaos and vice versa. And maybe one day the calm and collected will truly inherit the earth and show the chaotic how we truly feel!

Joking. Can’t a man dream for a bit? For now, I guess the calm should embrace chaotic, and the chaotic should embrace the calm.

Our Perception of Heartbreak

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Holiday time often means that you get the opportunity to bond with loved ones who aren’t close by. Sometimes this is a blessing. Other times, well, not so much. Thankfully, the inspiration for this post is definitely the former.

Hopefully, at some point, everyone has an opinion on failing at love. During dinner with a bunch of my friends, we discussed some of our thoughts and outlooks on heartbreak. Naturally, our opinions on love and our outlooks on the blasted thing emerged. Understandably, the consensus isn’t a unanimous, “Love is great, can’t wait to do it again.”

Some people get jaded, some people gain faith, others simply love the journey. Whatever your stance is on the thorny business of love, I think everyone can agree that everyone should take the risk at least once. You might get your heart broken, you might wind up married to your soulmate. Besides, life is too damn short

Even when the worst things happen, you will gain perspective. Perhaps in that way, having your heart broken is a strange, painful, and altogether lovely gift. Certainly, you will never see it that way if the wounds are fresh. But that’s fine. After all, no one is Batman, and even negative expressions are healthy every once in a while.

Time to go out there and get your heartbroken! Just kidding, but never be afraid to try.

Perspective In Songs

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Have you ever put on an album, song, or playlist from your younger days? You know, one of those pieces of music that you haven’t heard in almost a decade? Like a photograph, it’s completely unchanged, and yet, it feels completely different than you remember.

Perspective is a hell of a thing. Early this morning, on my commute to work, I had one such album in my car. Every riff, word, thought, and feeling I attached to this particular album flooded my mind. Somewhere along the way, I ended up thinking about the lyrics. In that moment, new thoughts, feelings, and emotions overtook the old ones. “Shit, I’m getting old.” I thought.

Just joking. What changed was my perception. Perhaps because The Cribs had written a brilliant album in Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, the songs instead of seeming nostalgic, seem timeless to me. Timeless art is difficult to make. Hell, it’s not even easy to get to a place in your individual growth where you believe in the timelessness of art.

Given the U.S. election results, I suppose it’s relevant to talk about perspective. The question to ask now, is how can one thing look so different to so many people? Maybe that is something worth mulling over, especially considering how people feel at this moment.

Some may say it’s sad, but I choose to find it funny when a song you simply found entertaining, now feels like a warm, empathy- blanket for a mundane car ride.

Perspective is everything, but also nothing; all at once. What a hell of a thing.