The library is an amazing place where nearly every question can be answered. The smell of paperback novels, memoirs, historical accounts, and fictitious tales of mystical adventures fill the air. The echoes of faint whispers barely fade out behind the lofty carol of the bells playing down the hall. There is hardly a sign of life, yet in some fashion, every life ever lived is represented with an ISBN. The library is a sanctuary where there are no membership fees, no charge to get in; the only requirement is a thirst for knowledge and a hunger for information. The wifi is free, the seats are comfortable, the heat is on, and the possibilities are endless. It is in the confines of this building that I find myself today looking for clarity.
My mind is hungry, my spirit unsettled, and my direction remains uncertain. There is so much in this world that I desire, but at the core of it all I find myself bumping into the metaphorical wall of questions. What is it that I truly desire in life? Is my quest to discover my calling in life ever going to turn up answers? Is it possible to work a job that I have no desire for while pursuing a life I truly want? These are the questions I find myself asking today (and most days). Why I came to a library to find these answers, I am not quite sure.
I wish I could just turn my thoughts off sometimes. The overclocked PC of a brain I have leads me to a repetitive cycle of frustration fueled by passion. I want to be great at whatever I do, but whatever I do must have a great purpose. The allure of money is not something that gets my heart racing and spurs me to action. Helping someone get through a tough time is something I get excited about. I would rather live a simple life and change lives than make a million dollars. This is where the frustration sets in: the treasures I seek come in the form of riches that have no monetary value. One can not simply pay the bills by making karma deposits and that sucks! Money has never brought me true happiness (not that I have ever had an abundance of it to know). There is great irony in the fact that I recently made the most commission I have ever made at my job, yet feel so disconnected from my purpose.
When I get totally honest with myself, I don’t care about selling you a product. I don’t care if the potential to be a millionaire exists. I find little concern with the tax brackets above me and the amount of commas on your check. I believe in living life with purpose and living on purpose. This is quite the conundrum I find myself in however. Life isn’t fair. Money is a necessity. Being a good person doesn’t pay the bills, and having good intentions doesn’t mean the road to finding the answers is any easier, yet here I am lost in a room full of answers.
Every time I fly, I am marveled at the fact that the MD88 I’m resting in at 30,000 feet above Texas started as an idea. Someone was crazy enough to think, I’m going to fly like a bird…and did it. The idea itself seems so ridiculous, and indeed it was. I just want to have an idea like that. Do we all have that potential? Is there an element of insanity buried within me waiting to come to life? I would like to think so…perhaps it remains in its metamorphosis. It seems as if all the ideas are taken, how could I possibly come up with something that is revolutionary or a necessity?
I would probably be lying if I said that the financial gain that would come with is not a motivator, but in fact I just want to make a difference. Lord knows I wouldn’t be thrilled about traveling to Houston by way of greyhound every time – and thanks to the Wright brothers I do not have to. They had an idea and sought to bring that to reality.
Here I find myself coming back to the theme of my blog: The art of Failure. I wasn’t there for the thousands of times the gliding contraption in its infancy spiraled earthbound without the slightest trace of flight. I can only imagine that the frustration overpowered the hope more times than anyone would care to admit. Failure, failure, failure. Just give up, quit, you suck, you’re such an idiot, you will never make a change, don’t bother, don’t even try, they are laughing at you. The whispers of defeat clamor to a roar before I can even become aware that each fall has been a vital step to the pinnacle. The insecurities, the fear, the disappointments, they are all so ugly yet they are so imperative to the end result.
I want to see the big picture, how the story plays out so badly, yet I’m only given the chapter I’m writing today. There is an evolution happening within me, the germination of something fantastic is underway. I choose to give the dream the water it needs to grow. I might not see what the final product is, but I’ll be damned if I allow the setbacks to do anything but remind me that I’m not the only one who has had to fail more times than succeed.
I have been told repeatedly that I seem to have a gift for writing. I wouldn’t argue with this, but I seem to have a difficult time understanding how I can apply this “gift” to something substantial or lucrative to be exact. Words are powerful…we all speak them, so what is it that makes my delivery any different than the next man? Syntax is like building with Lincoln logs, words fit or they don’t. This seems pretty elementary to me. I am no Mark Twain, Bukowski, Whitman, or Hitchcock; I respect them as pioneers of the pen and pad but I can’t honestly tell you much of anything they wrote. There is Huck Fin and the murderous love birds, aside from that I just know these are names I am supposed to revere as great (especially if I call myself a “writer”). Writing isn’t something I intellectualize, but I do find that my ego gets a chance to shine when I allow my brain to creatively expel its alphabetic vomit into a graceful paragraph of rambling.
“Write a blog”
“Write a blog” they say, you can really speak to people in away that connects. I have no doubt that I have a knack for speaking to the individual within each of us; but how do I get it out there? The world is more connected now than it has ever been. With this interconnected society of instant messaging, memes, and emojis, it seems as if everyone is talking and nobody is really listening. So, herein lies my dilemma: who really cares what I have to say? Do I truly care? There is nothing vastly different about me…yet my story is designed to be told. I just clickity clack away at the black plastic squares in front of me –wondering if any of this makes any sense. I just keep coming back to the words“you really should write”. I guess this will count as writing.
I am finding that I am becoming consumed mentally by the social media machine, and I hate it. My interests are becoming so narrow, my day is just thumb flipping to the next picture of the car I don’t have, the model who seems to be physically perfect, or the world traveler living out their dream, constantly reminding me of what I wish I had. I am becoming angry, not at the lack of enjoyment in life I have to experience and cherish daily, but at the way we are being conditioned to just dumb down and numb out. Our thinking is now programmed as an algorithm, and the desire to explore is being masqueraded by hashtags and likes. Our minds were meant to be unleashed and explore the dark recesses of the universe: questioning the very complexities of life and how this shit all makes sense. We are supposed to look up at the sky in amazement and wonder how we came to be in such a vast world of celestial magnificence. The advancement of our civilization is pushing me closer to the revelation that I want to go back to a time where things were not so advanced. Back to a time when getting a scar was a right of passage to the cul-de-sac nomads, when curfews were only set by the illuminating of the streetlights. A time when the spot to chill was the green utility box in front of the neighbor’s house; when action figures came to life in our minds, and beanie babies were the cryptocurrency of the suburban day traders. The days when getting clothes lined by the house phone was routine.
Life is so funny…as a kid, all I wanted to do was grow up; as an adult, I want to be a kid again. Is it the ignorance of the world that I desire again, or was life really better before the iGeneration? It’s common to have the prior generation praise the way things were…to now be that generation is sobering in itself.