Stuff is going well for me. I am starting to see the tracking signs of success and of hitting a larger audience–the audience I have always wanted. No question there is a long way to go but the wheels are in motion. A college professor in Virginia is teaching my paper format in one of her classes. Some of the smartest people on the internet–in America–read my site and apparently consider me of enough potential to give feedback. Traffic is up and every few weeks I wake up to find myself with an avalanche of new readers.
But here is the dirty little secret: None of it means anything. It doesn’t mean a thing. And it wouldn’t if it was multiplied by thousand. It won’t fix who you are. No amount of people liking you or reading your thoughts or talking about you is going to change the person you look at in the mirror. Because as far as your daily existence goes, the effects are negligible. Facebook friends don’t exist, they are just bits of computer data. And I know this sounds heretical and a ton of kids would kill for these opportunities–I thought the exact same things when I didn’t have them. They matter sure, and they are fantastic but it they don’t alter the fundamentals of life.
You have to be happy with you. There is that Herodotus line about going out to enslave and coming back in the same chains you brought with you. I’m starting to feel that life is the same way–that the world, if you’re not careful, can end up being your master instead of the other way around. Or as Durden said “the things you own, end up owning you.” Layne Staley used to say that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you still go home to yourself every night. And that is the fucking truth. So more than anything, getting that right is your first priority.
There is no excuse to ever stop working on that. It is the ultimate project, the one thing that determines all other things. But people are lazy and substances and delusions and dissonance are tempting alternatives. And I hate to tell you this, but they just don’t work.
I might not even be close to achieving the balance I am after but I do know that without it, I will never be happy. The whole “using the fear of not winning to keep winning” is to always be a tool and never an addiction. From what little I have seen so far, the game always lasts longer than the victory–you spend more time getting there than you spend there. So it stands to reason that unless you can enjoy the journey, the nature of things has predisposed you to an unfavorable ratio.
Cicero‘s view was that you unless you can be happy on the rack, you can never be happy anywhere. Because if your contentment depends on anything that can be taken away from you then you’ll always be plagued with the fear of losing it. So the solution is to give in a little, embrace the chaos–the art of acquiescence. That there is no good and bad, only perception. And the secret then is to understand the transient nature of things–to appreciate them while they are here and look upon them fondly when they are gone. But who does that really? Who honestly can say that their happiness depends on little externally and that a quick punch from fate couldn’t knock down the things they’ve built?
I know I can’t. But I’m working on it.
To be continued…