Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Live Your Life and Side-step the Distractions

I have a nasty habit of falling into distractions. They get me every time. Every single time. Maybe I'll waste three hours on Facebook, clickin' away from one page to the other. Lookin' up old friends to see what they're up to now. Mindless. I'll look at the clock after three hours and the pang of guilt hits me. Why???? For so long???

Likes on Facebook 

On another day, maybe I'll waste a few hours on YouTube, getting lost in the suggested links section. Utterly and completely unaware of time. Some people might say "It happens when you're in the ZONE man....time just flies by!". But there are a lot better things that could be "zoned" into than random "vines" clips.

The mind on auto-pilot is a weird thing. It eats up small satisfactions like Pac-Man eats his fruits and little dots. Just chompin away on the small things in life. How many people do you know who's lives' seem like this? They're just chompin' away on small satisfactions in life. I have met my fair share. Nom nom nom nom nom. Sleep. Wake up. Nom nom nom nom. Flickin' away on the TV remote. Playing "candy crush" on their phones. Nom nom nom. Mindlessly gossiping about people. Nom nom nom.


To me, this is junk food for the mind and soul. I think I "feel" emotions pretty well. If I'm in bad shape, I really "feel" in bad shape. Dreadful. I might get comments like "relax, it's not so bad" but down in my core I know it feels wrong when I mindlessly go through life. But most people who are "thicker-skinned" and "feel" less seem absolutely content. They could bounce a tennis ball to each other for 6 hours a day and be as happy as could be. I wish I could do that, and just be fine with it.

But I've always wanted to LIVE and FEEL GOOD. To actually LIVE a LIFE. But to live a good life I've always thought that I needed to work, work, and work like hell until I could figure out a way to make money doing the things I love, and maybe then I could LIVE. Oh boy what a hellish trail to take. Pure torture. To me it feels like going into the wilderness of the mind, or goin' a little crazy. Work, work, work and drive yourself further into the darkness of neurosis.

My mind would conjure up a million different scenarios. "How will I make money?" "What job will I do?", "How will I get there?" and I would spend hours, upon hours, upon hours on the internet looking for the answer. But the whole time I felt miserable. What I've learnt is that that miserable feeling is like my compass. If it feels wrong, it's the wrong way.

The only time I've really felt good is when I have decided to LIVE instead of chasing money and a million different ways to make a great life. Just live. Now. Get away from the computer. Get away from your own thoughts. Start living. Well how do I live? I ask myself "What makes for a good life?" Answers soon come like "be healthy, feel good, go on adventures, meet a lot of people, love people, have good character, get in touch with spirituality, experience the world".

In the process of starting this blog, I would get lost in the minute details of web design, promotion on stumbleupon, checking my stats every half hours, traffic sources and on and on, yadda yadda yadda Aaahhhhhh!! It drains the life from a person to do things like this. There's merit to some of it, and it has to be done sometimes, but you've really gotto learn to pull away when you notice that you're stuck in the irrelevant details. Not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Hunter S. Thompson via Dan Leister

I'm a big fan of Hunter S. Thompson, the "Gonzo" journalist. When I think about what made him such a great writer, it's not his command of vocabulary, perfect grammar, or sentence structure. It's the fact that he knew how to live a LIFE! And he put it down on paper for us all. He wasn't obsessed with the irrelevant details of perfection in writing. His perfection was in LIVING. That's the gold stuff right there. I would much rather read the messy scribblings of a wild adventure, than read the perfect prose of a person who spent their whole life perfecting this prose behind a laptop. It's not a life.

You are what you do. Spend your whole life reading books? You'll sound like a book. Spend your whole life watching the news? You'll sound like the news. Spend your whole life cleaning your house? You'll know nothing else but house cleaning. But spend you're whole life LIVING a life. Of adventure. Of good character. Of meeting people from different cultures. Of seeing beautiful mountains and jungles and landscapes of the world? Well, then you'd have a story to tell.

Mountains outside Narvik

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

- Hunter S. Thompson

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