Almost everything we have today is more than what people dreamed about for most of human existence. If I could go back in time they would be oohing and awing at my tales of grilled cheese sandwiches. In my best ancient Sumerian I would summarize how I walk to this place called a supermarket where we buy food by picking what we want and lining up. Then I tell them how it’s not as great as it sounds because life gets really boring when you don’t think anyone is out to kill you.
“It’s really difficult to die,” I tell them. I go on by saying that some people even try to die but are unsuccessful. They tell me those people aren’t trying hard enough. I concur. If you fail at suicide it means you don’t want it badly enough.
At this point they are undecided on whether I’m from the future or just a nutjob but they’re infatuated with my great storytelling. When your best entertainment is flinging your own feces at each other you only need a minor gimmick to be the center of attention. I have to cut it short though because even in Mesopotamia no one likes a showoff.
As I transport back home I semi-conclude with the familiar notion that life is a game of the mind.
I take some solace in knowing that everyone will die one day and be quickly forgotten. Some like to think they’ll leave a lasting legacy not realizing that their grandchildren will see their photo on the wall and only think, I hope I don’t end up looking like that guy. That’s your legacy. Your perceived accomplishments will be as enviable as the stories of how people used to walk 5 miles to school. The younger generation will want to be nothing like you. They pity your life.
We live our life to cater to our future feelings which will die with us whether resolved or not. Feelings of guilt and regret do nothing except torment us. Perhaps they had significant utility in the past when we were in tribes but now they are just obsolete software features.
Life used to be your fitness. Now exercise is something you do so that you don’t look and feel so decrepit. Flavoured carbohydrates are plentiful and adequate. It’s not a coincidence that if you’re poor and uneducated you’re likely to suffer and die sooner. When the tipping point is near they’ll drop guns and potato chips on the streets and let us take care of ourselves. We’re present-day neanderthals unaware that our kind is due for extinction.
A chapter of a book I’ve been reading says, “compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Not to who someone else is today.” The chapter suggests that even being a tiny bit better than yesterday every day can have an exponential effect. Perhaps concentrating on people who are supposedly better than you is depressing and discouraging.
Okay, so I started with making my bed. Well, that was easy. Time to clock out.
The following days I continued to make my bed and throughout the day I would look for something to accomplish. Something fairly easy of course. I think we tend to overwhelm ourselves with tasks that we don’t end up doing them. If you make small deals with yourself you’ll be easier to convince.
It’s not hard to convince yourself to do 1 push-up. Every following day do 1 more than the day before. In 30 days you’ll be up to 30 in one day if you can do 30. Most people do zero in a month. Starting with that first push-up can get momentum going.
I’m maxed out at 33 proper push-ups in a row. Things are cleaner around the house. I’ve been writing on another blog. I should be more mindful with being a bit better than yesterday because I slack off sometimes. I’m still making my bed. A little better every day is much better than no improvement in a whole year.
It’s also beneficial and scary to ask yourself if you are better than yesterday, not literally but in the past year or 2 or 3 or even 10. Are you a better person? Are you more enlightened? Are you fatter? Have you stopped picking your nose? Are you sadder? What’s the trajectory look like? Are you lying to yourself? Are you lying to yourself?
Knowing what you’re going to do in life and having found what you want to do can be two different things. I find it hard to believe that many young adults find what they want to do or how they want to live their life. Maybe just a year ago their mother was still packing their lunch and washing their underwear. A year later they’re expected to choose what they want to do for the rest of their life when they don’t even know anything about life or themselves.
Most people didn’t find anything, they just picked something. Other times they let life choose for them. In order to find something you need to go on a journey and that takes time. Every stage of boredom, depression, joy, doubt, is part of the process. They’re all clues to the mystery. Rather than hate yourself for those stages you should examine them more closely because they’re trying to tell you something. The sooner you face them the sooner you get to your destination.
When I graduated high school the tech boom was emerging to become the huge bubble it was a few years later. The first thing aspiring university students think is, what will get me a job? People started herding in to anything computer related. Actually they first ask themselves what they like to do but that never really works out.
The tech industry seems to be booming again for the last several years. Many young students I talk to are enrolled in a computer science program. If you have a computer science degree you’re getting hired it seems. Not surprising given the stake technology has on our lives with no end in sight.
Sometimes on the internet I come across people I’ve once known and a commonality they share is some kind of social media occupation. I think this is where you do some kind of promotion of trickery through various social media platforms.
Many of these FIRE(financial independence retire early) bloggers have a computer background as well. They built an arsenal of savings from good salaries, bonuses and stock options. Freaking revenge of the nerds.
I get the feeling this is going to be the minimum barrier to entry to a middle class life. All you needed before was 2 arms, 2 legs and half a brain.
The Buddhists say life is suffering. Jordan Peterson teaches this as well. He says one should not have their goal be happiness in life as it is an overrated concept. Instead, one should be seeking meaningful responsibility as their purpose in life. It sounds like party pooper advice but how can one argue with centuries of evidence.
If a man does not find responsibility he then becomes a “grown infant” or a Peter Pan type character, he says. One who lacks responsibility ends up seeking “low-class pleasures” such as substances, junk food, T.V. He’s talking about me all of the time and I’m not supposed to like it but I’m a seeker of truth. It’s not that I refuse to “grow up” I just never found anything or anyone worth committing to. I guess I was just supposed to pick something and not look back.
I don’t believe most people were truly optimistic with the road of responsibility they chose. I believe they were too afraid of the alternative or too unimaginative to believe there was something better for them. I know men or at least children pretending to be men who out of desperation and low self-esteem committed themselves to soulless careers and unworthy women with degrading demands. Some see red flags and walk away while others pull out the white ones.
Jordan Peterson says it’s very difficult to live outside of the dominance hierarchy but it’s also very difficult to live within it. “You’re screwed either way,” he says, “so you might as well pick the path that is going to be of maximal utility to you.” To him, having order and an identity is better than being a lost soul who lives a chaotic life. Chaos is fun though.
“Do you still smoke?”
I guess last time I saw him 7 years ago I told him I smoked cigarettes but it doesn’t sound like something I would say because I don’t really. “Once a month,” I told him.
“Why don’t you just quit?”
I couldn’t believe he was giving me a hard time for smoking one cigarette a month. He should be praising me for my abilities to taste the sinful fruits but not fall victim to the buffet. How come he doesn’t ask me how many potato chips I eat in a month?
As I was about to walk out he says, “you should consider quitting smoking.” Smoking one cigarette a month and calling yourself a smoker is like eating a salad once a month and calling yourself a vegetarian. I just smiled and said, “okay.” You have to be nice to your family doctor because there aren’t many of them around these days. Perhaps not many people want to study for 10 years to spend the rest of their life inspecting genital warts and diagnosing diarrhea issues.
The same week I had a dentist visit I have been procrastinating for 3 years because I don’t have dental benefits anymore. When I was about to quit my job I thought about how I would be giving up the benefits but I concluded that if I was going to let my benefits stop me from moving on then I’m a huge freaking wuss who doesn’t deserve to live anyway. A single guy with no kids hardly benefits from his benefits.
My previous dentist took advantage of my benefits and unnecessarily drilled my teeth on several occasions. I got suspicious after the 6th filling in a row. I accused her in front of her staff of being a filling monster and she accused me of not flossing. In our last visit she said there was a cavity that she had been monitoring that had grown so she wanted to do another filling. I never went back to get it done.
This new dentist said I have no cavities. I like him, maybe because he said I have no cavities. In about a decade I’m going to have to deal with having to redo all those fillings the other dentist did while she profited a couple thousand dollars from me. I’m going to smear dog shit on her window in the form of “Helter Skelter.”
There is bad news. My gums have prematurely receded due to brushing too fiercely for most of my youth. The logic was the harder you brush the cleaner it must make your teeth. He says I may need gum grafting if/when it gets worse, and it’s “very painful.” Another logical idea is if I don’t brush my teeth as often then my gums won’t recede as much.