The thing with New Years is you must have an abundance of fun because everyone else is having oodles of merry making in this slightly asphyxiating full frontal happyhappyjoyjoy atmosphere. If you’re not with it, you’ve run the risk of feeling like the only one who isn’t having fun. Honest to god; turn on the TV on New Years and you will not see a single pouting face in all of time square. An obnoxious amount of planning goes into people’s New Years Eves in order to ensure it will be an over the top, brilliant start to an ensuing year that, hopefully, with luck, will follow through and stay on that same brilliant course to even greater over the top brilliance. Its a lot like shooting a basketball from half court while blindfolded and expecting it to go in.
Then again, try going through a New Years without throngs of people or booze. Its boring as hell. I’m not trying to convince you to celebrate in a spiritual way or changing your frame of mind will better guarantee a wholesome productive year. I’m saying enjoy it. And while you’re at it, go ahead and enjoy it too much. In fact, don’t stop till you get peeled off the floor and carried home. But, when you wake up, realize time is not linear. New Years is a lot of hype; and if you think about it, every day is the start to a New Year. Jan 1st is just the designated celebratory excuse for excessive drinking, merriment, decking yourself out in various tacky one-day souvenir whistles/glasses/bullshit and getting kissed at midnight with the hopes of getting laid on a quasi-momentous genesis-ish occasion. Its a win-win situation and I for one, am all about it.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Wonderful and thought-provoking essay at The Chronicle of Higher Eduction website from Nation/New Republic contributor, William Deresiewicz about not boxing yourself and your life into what others think you should do with your short time on this planet. You will only ever get one life, so live it wisely, but of course, that’s easier said than done and Deresiewicz counsels constantly questioning the choices you’ve made and not being afraid to face up to what your heart desires.
This was adapted from a talk delivered to a freshman class at Stanford University in May, 2010 and comes near the end. Absolutely worth reading, no matter if you are a student or a senior citizen. A straight life and a job or career is not for everyone and Deresiewicz, while not exactly saying “fly your freak flag high,” offers much to ponder here for iconoclastic and creative personalities who might be pressured to conform:
In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce has Stephen Dedalus famously say, about growing up in Ireland in the late 19th century, “When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.”
Today there are other nets. One of those nets is a term that I’ve heard again and again as I’ve talked with students about these things. That term is “self-indulgent.” “Isn’t it self-indulgent to try to live the life of the mind when there are so many other things I could be doing with my degree?” “Wouldn’t it be self-indulgent to pursue painting after I graduate instead of getting a real job?”
These are the kinds of questions that young people find themselves being asked today if they even think about doing something a little bit different. Even worse, the kinds of questions they are made to feel compelled to ask themselves. Many students have spoken to me, as they navigated their senior years, about the pressure they felt from their peers—from their peers—to justify a creative or intellectual life. You’re made to feel like you’re crazy: crazy to forsake the sure thing, crazy to think it could work, crazy to imagine that you even have a right to try.
Think of what we’ve come to. It is one of the great testaments to the intellectual—and moral, and spiritual—poverty of American society that it makes its most intelligent young people feel like they’re being self-indulgent if they pursue their curiosity. You are all told that you’re supposed to go to college, but you’re also told that you’re being “self-indulgent” if you actually want to get an education. Or even worse, give yourself one. As opposed to what? Going into consulting isn’t self-indulgent? Going into finance isn’t self-indulgent? Going into law, like most of the people who do, in order to make yourself rich, isn’t self-indulgent? It’s not OK to play music, or write essays, because what good does that really do anyone, but it is OK to work for a hedge fund. It’s selfish to pursue your passion, unless it’s also going to make you a lot of money, in which case it’s not selfish at all.
Do you see how absurd this is? But these are the nets that are flung at you, and this is what I mean by the need for courage. And it’s a never-ending process. At that Harvard event two years ago, one person said, about my assertion that college students needed to keep rethinking the decisions they’ve made about their lives, “We already made our decisions, back in middle school, when we decided to be the kind of high achievers who get into Harvard.” And I thought, who wants to live with the decisions that they made when they were 12? Let me put that another way. Who wants to let a 12-year-old decide what they’re going to do for the rest of their lives? Or a 19-year-old, for that matter?
Read the entire essay: What Are You Going to Do With That? (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
If you’re going to try, go all the
otherwise, don’t even start.
if you’re going to try, go all the
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.
go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
how much you really want to
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
you can imagine.
if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with
do it, do it, do it.
all the way
all the way.
you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
Theres something in the sky
Drawing for Lion City Clothing.