It was my birthday two days ago. Today, like right now, I started a blog.
Anybody know why this fly is dressed like a bee?
I ran into a fly with an identity crisis last summer. This post is about something I saw yesterday.
Yesterday, I ran into these powerful words, written nearly a century ago, by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
I fully concede, it’s hard to take life advice from a dude who ages backwards. To say nothing of a dude who just started a blog. Plus, Ben Button can be a bit cheesy in his simplicity.
And, I know, you’ve read so many shit tons of inspirational Facebook posts that you basically have an associates degree in psychological therapy. Not to mention the epic wisdom you’ve seen flowing through the Instagram pages of the recently motivated and the perpetually broken hearted.
So how do Fitzgerald’s words make you any wiser? They don’t, really.
But isn’t it true that courage is probably an understatement for what is needed to admit we went the wrong way? To say we’re sorry, especially to ourselves? To accept that we need to do things differently?
It’s funny, isn’t it?
That we are as fascinated with the idea of change as we are mortified of actually changing.
There is some sense to this. After all, thinking about change is easy. Actually changing is uncomfortable. And being uncomfortable sucks.
Yet we treasure comfort to our detriment. We consciously chase it, only to be unconsciously crippled by it. And your La-Z-Boy has no intention of interrupting a Netflix binge to suggest that, maybe, your love of comfort holds you back from becoming the most kick ass version of yourself.
I don’t think your VIZIO is the only reason you’re a total loser. I watched every episode of House of Cards in two days, an undeterminable number of EasyMac cups, and one fake upper respiratory infection. And I’m pretty awesome.
But it’s easy to know Frank Underwood better than you know yourself.
That goes for me too, despite awesomeness. You see, watching the wild life of Walter White in your underwear is wonderfully effortless. Getting to know yourself is pretty fucking hard.
Note: Yeah man, you’ll need your pants.
So let’s get real. Even if sofas held more wisdom than they do slippery nickels and ancient M&Ms, you wouldn’t change a thing; Truth is: not many of us would.
We don’t change because comfort feels too damn good. It insulates us from pain, vulnerability, and failure. And we hate those things. So we conflate “comfort” and “happiness.”
But we do so at the expense of novelty, bravery, and growth. And you-know-how-that-shit-go.
No. Not because Drake ran through the 6 with his woes; you know how that shit go because, presumably, you’re a human being over the age of 14.
Think about it. Don’t the most fundamental insights about our family, our friends, and ourselves stem from the most unexpected moments? When life gives us the finger and drags us through the dirt?
Were we not shitting our pants only seconds before doing the things that made complete strangers call us brave; the things our friends and family remember us for the most; the things that make you proud to be you?
Besides, what exactly is happiness if you’ve never been cold, tired, and hungry?
Hold up. Let me try something. How does this image make you feel?
(you really thought you were the only one with an associates from Facebook U?!)
If you’re into kale shakes and kettle bells, I’ll bet the image stirs up agonizing feelings of meal prep monotony. If you’re stoned, I’m sorry. We can pick this up when you get back from the kitchen. And if you love McDonalds as much as you hate crossfit – and you’re still here – what you’re feeling is a Deca Dose of indifference.
Yet for so many, that very same image arouses a kind of happiness that’s simply impossible for humans reading this to comprehend.
The nine year old boy in the suburbs of Aleppo; the young mother in the slums of Caracas; the aging defector in a Kaechon camp, for instance.
For them, and millions of people that share our world, the mere thought of eating an overcooked, unsalted, freshly nuked, not-so-organic chicken breast in your shitty cubicle five days a week is happiness.
It’s of little coincidence, then, that those who have everything so often feel as if they have nothing at all; it’s why, more often than not, the most luxurious house in your neighborhood – the one you’d give up anything to have – is riddled with discontent and littered with lost souls.
Note: This is about more than Netflix, chicken, and rich people. Fundamentally, it’s about the way we understand our world.
And, now, I can elaborate:
We demystified gravity and harnessed the power of flight; we put Neil on the fucking Moon. We did those things because someone somewhere was bitchslapped by their own ignorance, not because they cowered in the comfort of consensus.
Before Principia, Isaac Newton was just a guy who acknowledged that no one really knew shit about the laws of motion, including himself. After Principia, this world was hardly the same.
For most of us, however, it’s still too damn easy to fall into a rabbit hole of apathy, complacency, and sloth. Partly because: as humans, we are hardwired to avoid discomfort. Mostly because: we absolutely detest entertaining the notion that we could be wrong.
Indeed, to say “I’m wrong,” to say “I don’t know,” to readily release righteousness and constantly question conviction, is perhaps the greatest threat to the Homo Sapien ego. To be sure, we are goofy monkeys with big brains, big hearts, and huge (Bernie Sanders voice) egos.
Note: Fuck your ego.
I encourage you to threaten that conniving bastard every day.
I should be honest. Doing so will be uncomfortable as shit.
I hope that’s not enough to stop you.
I hope you “just can’t” once or twice a day. I hope you don’t bother with the memes.
I hope you deal with it instead.
I hope you fuck up a lot. I hope you’re wrong sometimes. I hope it hurts.
And I hope you grow.
I hope you’re better next year, and every year after that.
I hope you can separate comfort from happiness.
I hope that, when you need it the most, you fucking change.