My New Year’s resolution is to be myself.
Don’t we all, at some point, feel about our life-choices the way George Kostanza felt? “Every decision I have ever made in my entire life has been wrong!”
Generally, I don’t regret my individual choices, even the most reckless ones. In fact, my perpetual hesitation to commit to reckless choices — and follow them through to their zany ends — is the one flawed thread running through the whole pilly jumpsuit that is my life.
Despite accusations to the contrary, I am insufficiently bohemian. All my life, I have imagined myself to be one freaky rebel spirit, but I have always been far too much of a conformist.
Like the vast majority of the world’s population, I grew up privileged and ungrateful, sorted out the non-existence of God at the age of 11, got a black belt and a degree in philosophy, became a baker and playwright, moved to Japan (on a dare), Mexico (on a whim), a reserve in Manitoba (on the make), and back to Mexico (on the rebound), where I went up a mountain in my kilt with a mariachi band and a woman I’d known for a few months, and got married to her in Spanish, by a priest — of all godforsaken things! (And, just to make my status completely quo, got divorced the statistically average number of years later.)
After a couple of decades of doing a wide range of jobs rather badly, I’ve accepted it’s time for me to stop standing in my way. I am genetically predisposed to be a nomad, The Fool on the Hill, watching the wheels go round and round.
No longer will I try to imagine myself living some “normal” life, not even some normal non-conformist, anti-establishment poser life.
I gotta ask myself one question. What would Evan do?
What I was “supposed to do” was work hard in school, and then work hard at some job (40 hours x 50 weeks x 40 years), spend a few years complaining about the ignorance of the younger generation, and then die.
What I did was scrape by in school, and then scrape by in a bunch of temp jobs, and then—as happens when dreams go bad—I woke up.
Finally, I am beginning to understand the freedom of being me. The meaning of your life depends on what you consider “wasted time”. Whatever that is, it’s what you should not be doing.
People have strongly conflicting views about what constitutes wasting time. Taking the train? Waste of time; flying is faster. Taking a bath? Waste of time. A shower is ten times faster. All right then, how about sex? Waste of time. Masturbation is faster.
Taking a long, leisurely bath is one of the best uses to which time can be put. Considerably better would be having sex in the bath, on a train.
For me, the best way to waste time is to work 9 to 5 at a job that I believe should not be done, such as selling things that should not exist (e.g., insipid wooden cats playing tin jazz instruments — I’m a cat and jazz lover; these objets d’art, shipped around the world to collect dust in someone’s tacky home, should not exist), or proofreading documents which should never have been written (one that stands out in my memory was about shareholder dividends earned on the sale of long-range missiles).
Working 9 to 5, “I can feel myself rot.” Whenever I’ve had to “get a real job”, it’s bad for me and it’s bad for the job.
For me, the first step in a healthy, sane life is never to wake to an alarm clock. Why? Because it’s #$@%ing alarming! The clock used to be the first and last thing I would see in a day, tabulating whether I was approximating a healthy number of hours of sleep.
As the new me, the real me, I go to bed when I’m ready for it, and I get up when getting up seems the right thing to do.
What am I “supposed” to be doing with my life? Writing, amongst other things, this dumbass blog. Go ahead, ask why. … Wh–? I can’t believe y– … Because, apart from generally having a laugh, everything other than juggling words is a waste time. Writing “makes the pain go away.”
And the fact that I get paid dirt* for writing (slightly earthier dirt for editing), doesn’t distinguish it from working for ‘the Man’, so in terms of employment, this is as real as my life is going to get.
(*Unless it’s pro bono, like this blog.)
Sounds like a privileged life, you say? Damn right! And I know how to appreciate it. My parents have devoted their lives to making my life as headache-free as possible. They’ve done a smashing job, and I’m not going to muck up their tremendous achievement by letting my life dissolve into a litany of anxieties, petty or otherwise.
Kurt Vonnegut, (whom I must read some day), wisely observed,
“We’re here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anyone tell you different.”
Some other famous writer nailed my sentiments spot on when she said,
“Writing is the only thing that, when I’m doing it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” Ah, it was Gloria Steinham. (Thank you, internet. You’re so clever.)
As I began this year, embracing my bohemian self, I started my New Year head-shave but the clipper puttered to a stop and I couldn’t find the charger. Nothing left but the not-quite-bald spot on top. I have since found the charger, but I think I’ll keep my new hairstyle (which I call a “nohawk”).
I’ve been told it makes me look insane; I think it suits me.
If they didn’t laugh at it, it wouldn’t be the Way. ~ Lao–tzu, Tao Te Ching