Illustration from iStockphoto
Like I said… tic-tac. It was another first of January. This time 2010. An interesting date. It marks a new beginning. Because we decided so. In our greatness we broke down our existence in tiny, precise, countable pieces, so once in 31.536.000 seconds we can say that we start over again. We have a year in our past and we a have a year in our future. But what do we have now, in the present?
Normally, each one of us lives between its own past and future in a permanent transit state that is conventionally called the present. The logic conclusion would be that the present is infinitely more important that our past or future because only what we do now, in the present, can decide both our past and future. So how come our so important present always tends to be boring, mediocre and not fulfilling enough? How come most of the times our present transforms into a regrettable past and throws us into an uncertain future? Now or today we do things. We wake up, we drink coffee, we eat, we love each other, we make babies, we argue and hate each other, we go to work, we kill each other, we hope, we cry, we fall in love and we suffer, we drink and we laugh, we remember, we want, we give and take, we forget, we dare and we fall, we travel, we sing and dance, we follow, we discover, we turn back, we lead, we bleed, we get tired and we go home where we go to sleep. And maybe many of us that refuse the mediocre daily routine still dream about that fantastic and really amazing things that will happen in their life, because this quotidian small stuff can’t be everything, this can not define our lives, isn’t?
For me 2010 is a pretty special year. This year I will celebrate 30 years of living on the blue planet, among the people. And because the start of a New Year is an important moment, when we do of all kinds of reviews, resolutions and big decisions that theoretically should bring us closer to those most wanted feelings of happiness, glory or success, I decided not to assume any resolution. And that’s because I have something else more important to do. I will panic and I will enjoy my own existential crisis. I think it’s time to refuse the calm, to forget about my glorious moments or my dark downfalls. I think it’s time to strip down of any preconceptions, false hopes and secrets of life bullshit and plunge just in my birthday suit into the infamous middle age crisis. After all my failures so far I couldn’t deceive my self once more by pretending that everything is ok and that is important to have goals in life. So, just fuck it! Any serious analysis of my life so far, any problem identification system and any important resolution for the immediate future, wouldn’t do anything else than prevent me from recognizing the crisis, that I am going through anyway, and which, regardless of what logical schemes I apply my self, exists anyway.
So why should I delay one of the most important moments of my personal history? Why continue to deny my failures and short comings? It’s clear for me that my life is not exactly what I picture it when I was 16 and when moving the mountains with my mental force wasn’t exactly a problem. It’s true that behind all my failures were important lessons to be learned. It’s also true that I didn’t saw them at that time and I didn’t learn anything. I just moved on. I lived, I felt, I experimented, I loved, I lost, I got drunk, I searched, I got scared, I laughed, I lied my self, I got sad, I abandoned, I won, I failed and then I lived some more. In the mean time I understood some important things: everybody fails, everybody breaks down and at least a few times we all lose something important, because losing is just as unavoidable as seconds marching by. We lose anyway. Each hour that passes by, each day that we live on brings us closer to the same imminent ending. So maybe the most important thing in life is to know how to lose – smiling and at peace with your mortality or alone, desperate and sad, blaming the world for your tragedies?
And because I don’t want to be accused of making an apology of failure and of the man as a failure, breaking those great, precious and treasured American conventions that support the “all time, no matter what winner” myths, I can bring to my defense that beautiful idea according to which the journey is more important than the destination, especially when, even if we deny it or not, we all know that we are cruising at life speed towards the same imminent destination. What I find intriguing is the fact that even if we know how the movie will end, each and every one of us continue to struggle to get ahead, to find a seat in front for the spectacle of their own demise. Maybe that’s the point, to find the energy for struggling, to believe, to continue the journey. And maybe the magic of the journey is even our mortality, maybe we are so beautiful and engaging because we all have a deadline, maybe we just have to embrace that to really enjoy the experience and maybe winning is not a goal itself, maybe just living the journey is winning enough.
People are not good, we are not perfect, and we are not naturally born winners, in fact some might argue that we are closer to evil and born killers. But yet again that’s just natural, right? And we fight natural. We just exist in this social, material and mental conglomerate; we are just clinging on each other, we slip in one direction or the other bounced around by circumstances, we all are hanging on by illusions like controlling and managing our life and we are all playing the game of chasing for those rare pure moments of glory that we see others, the better ones, achieve among us. We all want that, we need that and we watch and see all those great things happening. What I don’t understand is how and when those great victories of others became sufficient enough to think of my self as better, as a winner? In other words how can I ever compare my self, from the comfort of my couch, with Lance Armstrong or James Cameron? Why I admire them and cheer their success only to return to my anonymous life? Why they are better and what keeps me from reaching those heights of life? Maybe somehow on the way I stopped fighting because I was enchanted by the show lived by others? Maybe in the mean time I became comfortable enough to sit on the side way and watch others fight? And it’s so much fun just sitting around and watching, just living by, talking about other people’s stories, ordering take away and junk food instead of stressing our mind and bodies to hunt for it! How can I miss such a spectacle? And then it hit me! I realized the tragedy. All this is not my show! I am nothing more than one more anonymous engulfed in the darkness of a packed venue among other anonymous people dazzled by the stage lights and special effects where everything happens. I realized then that in the darkness of the venue and on the explosive stage also, time passes by the same. Tic-tac. Tic-tac. All of us, anonymous and performers are bound to the same mortal cadence.
Following this epiphany I can officially declare that my life sucks. It’s amazing how millions and millions of people reach the same conclusion but somehow they settle for less, they tolerate the failure and slowly sink into a life long chronic depression, feeding of bitter memories from their personal history, when being young they have known their small moments of glory, they have seen and felt a glimpse of happiness. So far, I admit, I am one of them. It’s been a while since I feel that something is wrong with my life. It’s been years since I keep fighting all kind of misfortunes and evil people who somehow are keeping me away from reaching my extraordinary potential. But taking a closer look to this problem I finally had a breakthrough. I have discovered a very interesting detail. What all those beautiful losers have in common? Each one of them has a gift, an ability that in some point of their early life made them shine. I am the same. I know that I have all the necessary skills to succeed. Another common sign of failure is that somehow the failure was possible because of an outside force that impacted us – the parents, the school, the neighborhood, the boyfriend or girlfriend, the accountant, the lawyer, a tragic accident, etc. In one way or the other despite our extraordinary the cold and evil world has broken us. In its wild nature it ground us between its sharp teeth and spat us like scraps, leaving us broken, abandoned and alone on a cold sidewalk. That’s why we accept failure in our lives, because we have someone or something to blame and because we always have that cold comfort that deep down inside we are special and beautiful. And all that is wrong!
Dealing with that storm in my head I stumbled upon a simple idea that shook my beliefs and opened my eyes – if my life sucks then I suck. When I first realized this I was horror-struck, I was outraged by the cruelty of this simple and logical truth. I realized that I can not accept the fact that I suck just as easy as the fact that my life sucks. I was not ready for that. This idea contradicts my entire vision about my self. I am that beautiful misunderstood man who has all that potential to do great things? How can I suck when I turn on the TV and it is crystal clear the world sucks, the world is evil, and the world has problems not me! After a few days I calmed down, I thought about it and I realized once more that I was right after all. I suck and that is my problem. And that is great! Because if this is my problem it means I can really do something about it! If it was indeed the world’s problem then I couldn’t stand a chance, I couldn’t do nothing about it except to reconcile with my self as an extraordinary loser. So dealing with all that it became obvious for me that I was only a spectator of life for too long. I was for too long on the runway side doing my warm-up and thinking that my shallow preparation will be enough for the marathon of my life. And to make things worst, as I was doing my warp-up on the side waiting for the start I have met other people and we became friends. We were all there doing our warm-ups for the big start, we all were young and beautiful and had big dreams. One thing led to another, we started smoking, laughing and telling our big stories about the world. And as we were warming-up on the side way we started to notice various problems with the people who were already on the runway. My God how we laughed! There were some fools falling down and crying, some had their legs too short, some had their arms to long, some were running barefooted or they were ugly, some were pushing others around but we also saw beauty. My God there were some beautiful women running out there, just like the Amazons, with their perfect athletic bodies but they were always followed close by packed groups of men running like hound dogs after the chase. What a spectacle! And we laughed and had so much fun on the sideways doing our warm-up. I was doing great until I noticed at some point that on the runway were running people I knew, my friends, we just had a smoke and a drink a while back, we had so much fun talking about all those fools killing each other on the runway with their ugly mugs twisted by effort. It was not fun anymore seeing my friends on the runway. I remembered that I wanted to run also a while back. I turned around I saw huge crowds on the sideways having all that fun. It was all just one big stupid and useless orgy and somehow between two laughs one smoke and a few drinks I have missed my start. And this is how others run in their life marathon and I am still doing my warm-up being so tired in the same time.
The good part is, because there always is a good part even if we so often choose not to see it, well the good part is that after all I am the one that sucks. And that’s a good thing because it’s only up to me to sort things out. That means I have to refuse this second-hand party, I have to get close to the runway, I have to line up to start and start running with those fools. Like the famous philosopher of the XX century, Nike, used to say, Just Fucking Do It!