My relationship to the phases of my life is a lot like my relationship to my underwear was during puberty. Once that cramped tight, I don’t know where to go feeling set in, I knew it was time for a change.
What many of us take for being in a rut, stuck and resign to a certain type of life is not something negative. Society has us thinking that we always should know what happens next. This is why we wait in the theater after the end of a Marvel movie for a 10 sec hint about the next volley of films coming down the tube.
Here is part of the social contract:
- We go to elementary school and do well to get into a good High School
- We go to high school and do well to get into a good college
- We go to a good college to university from university to good job to junior level, to management to senior management to Officer, to consultant, to retiree, to diaper-wearing burden on our family to worm food.
We are always goaded on to the next phase of activity or in my case the next size of underwear, by this carrot dangling in front of us. But that isn’t life.
I have made it a point to talk to many people drug dealers, ex-gogo dancer, students, homeless, drug addicts. Everyone wants to be comfortable. Everyone wants to feel themselves a part of something greater than themselves. Everyone wants to live life and not read about theories about it from books no matter how brilliant the thinker is .
When I was younger I read a ton of philosophy books. Then one day I found myself living in an attic with no source of employment. What good was the philosophy then ? What good did being able to recite passages from books do me when I was hungry? So I embarked on a journey. I tutored to make money and taught myself how to bake bread. I learned more about life from baking bread than I did from school.
Here are some of the many things I learned
- Philosophy is meaningless if you are hungry, horny, or in some dire need
- You can rush things, if the dough take two hours to rise, it will take two hours to rise
- If you put water salt flour a 1-2.5 teaspoons of sugar in a bowl, you will never have bread until there is a living element put into it.
- If you have no one to eat the bread you make, then you’re fucked.
I think we all suffer from impatience. We want things to move faster, farther. we want to know where things are going long before we get there. In effect we are grossly out of touch with reality. Whatever visceral organs of perception that use to communicate what we were feeling at the depths of our self has long atrophied resulting in a gross loss of autonomy.
- It’s cool if you don’t know what you want to do.
- It’s cool if life seems incomprehensible.
That means that you’re still growing, your still learning, moving and may have to get a bigger underwear size or free-ball it. Usually without fail at this point someone will out of care tell you something like: you should’ve gone to med school. Why don’t you become a lawyer, or you need to get married. You need to stop standing naked in front of the mirror etc. All this does if you take any of it serious is to give you a guilt complex.
Once you’ve secured the basics for yourself, food shelter, and debt payments, you are free to explore and find your own way. Earlier today I posted a summary review of the old man and the sea. One of the themes of that book was that there is honor in struggle. Ultimately:
man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
That’s what I see in my life a lot of struggle, but there is a lot of meaning and honor in that. It’s funny how it works. We have to struggle. We need those moments of utter confusion, tension and pain.
It makes life sweet like a fresh pair of underwear.