How to throw away all the expectations everyone ever had for your life (especially your own)
The How-To Issue
Published: November 6, 2013
Are you in a fulfilling career that pleases the people you care about and feels like an adequate use of your talents? If so, this isn’t for you. This is for those of us who have a trophy case built for our “participant” ribbons. We’re the people who view all “jobs” as day jobs because the only thing we were ever told we would do is rule. We still think fame is worth having. This is only for those hopelessly entitled bastards who get confused as to why the world hasn’t bent to our genius yet. (I’m guessing that more than a few of us were in “gifted” classes in school.)
If you’re finding that the weight of the world is taking longer than it should to crush your dreams, don’t fret. There are steps that you can take to get in touch with reality.
Meditate: The statistics that show how concentrated breathing exercises, even for just a few minutes a day, improve your health and concentration are staggering. But the real reason you need to do this – the Buddha reason, the Enlightened reason – is that you need to learn that not doing anything at all for 10 minutes is just fine. No one is relying on anything from you in that time, and you’re not relying on anyone else.
Take one of those jobs where you hold a sign: This is not to disparage the people for whom this is a living, but do you know why those jobs exist? It’s because local codes prevent signage from getting too close to the street. Even a plank of wood is qualified for this vocation. Do this job and do it well, and you will tell thousands of drivers a day where they can buy a mobile phone. And you might even inspire a smile (or an Orlando Weekly Best of Orlando cover). That’s as helpful as anyone can be.
Stop listing things as your hobbies if they aren’t: When you come across one of those applications that asks what your hobbies are, don’t say that you write if you don’t. Don’t say kayaking or hiking because two years ago you took a trip to North Carolina. Don’t say cooking because you saw Julie & Julia. Take the time to really add up your off-time, and it’ll go something like this: watch TV, get drunk with your friends, eat stuff, nap and read listicles. An inventory of exactly how boring you are is a good indication of whose fault it is the world doesn’t find you interesting.
Know that you’re already doing the most important thing in the universe: There’s a theory called “strong anthropic principle.” It’s heavily in debate, but the main premise is that energy strives toward life and life strives toward complexity and complexity strives toward observation because observation brings order to the universe. The properties of matter only exist because of the possible ability of something somewhere to perceive them. Yes, everything you ever do, and all the work of all who came before you, and all the laughter and tears of everyone you’ve ever known, will be, at the very least, swallowed by the sun. But just by watching, you’ve helped make all that happen. Feel free to take that as a win.
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