Gaining Power From Losing Power

24 Feb

No, Not That Kind of Power.

The kind that warms your house, bridges the gap to the wonders of the internet, washes your clothes, and let’s us operate after the sun goes down. The thing without which we would all be lost and left to lie in our beds with nothing to entertain us but our own thoughts…right?
Losing power seems strangely old-fashioned in today’s society, don’t you agree?  I can just picture myself sitting around a dinner table, detailing to my grandchildren how back when I was a kid “we used to lose power, sometimes for weeks on end.”  I can only imagine the looks of confused astonishment that they would feign to make it appear that they were interested in their grandpa’s dumb stories.
A weird thing happens when I lose electricity, though. The perceived nagging desire to check Facebook or turn on the TV quickly evaporates from its perch in the back of my mind. My options seem more finite and less endless, and as a result, I relax. 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like making decisions. They force me our of my comfort zone and are often provide a source of anxiety. Picture yourself in the best ice cream shop in the world with a book of flavors that’s thousands of pages long to choose from. Who would want to want to order from that shop when you can almost be certain that you’re not choosing the right flavor?
Our lives aren’t that much different from this scenario. We have so much at our disposal at all times. We are nearly limitless in what we can pursue and try to achieve. We pick and choose [almost randomly] activities that we happen to enjoy to fill up our time. But at the end of the night when we’re reflecting on the day, we can guarantee that we didn’t do all the right things. 
Now imagine the same ice cream shop, except this time there are only ten options to choose from. Think of how much more comfortable this scenario is where we are forced to ignore any distractions and focus on maximizing all that is available to us. 
When I’m free from the burden of trying to keep up with nagging distractions or trying to choose how best to spend my time, I am almost always incredibly more creative and productive than otherwise. The funny thing is that I refuse to eliminate everything preventing me from achieving this desired state because I’m afraid of what it will be like. 
I need to recognize that if I want to achieve my goals, I’m going to have to let go of my anxieties while awaiting the wind gust that will finally render me without power, and recognize that the weights holding me down and slowing me down will be lifted . In doing so, I will be left more powerful than ever before.
[just reread this and am disappointed with how it turned out. I guess that’s what happens when you write at three am. Really sorry about that, I’m going to bed.]

Why Did I Say That?!

29 Jan

We’ve all felt that wave of regret and embarrassed bewilderment when looking through old Facebook comments, posts, or last year’s tweets.  There you are, just innocently wasting your time scrolling through content when you come across [on second thought, you run headfirst into] something you posted that makes you want to crawl into a shell and hope desperately that all of your friends happened to be off of Facebook that day. Or maybe you’re simply simply reflecting on a conversation from middle school, and you remember saying something that you would only expect from an ungrateful, inconsiderate brat. 

It’s pretty clear that, especially at this age, we’re learning and growing more rapidly than we can account for. A subtle sense of appreciation for others is built up  by books, movies, talking to people–all of that stuff. Also, your restraint and thinking-before-speaking-skills are always in the works from a young age. Even the dramatic pleas for attention over social networking eventually dwindle as you learn that complaining about their problems likely isn’t accomplishing much for them.

I’ve personally spent time in the middle of classes during high school deeply regretting certain remarks I’ve made in sixth grade. How crazy is that? I’m getting anxiety over something that happened eight years ago that nobody remotely cares about but me. Is this the product of an infatuation with my perception? Am I trying to hard to market myself as likable that when something temporarily crushes this image of myself it is something worth worrying about years later? Maybe. I’m not so sure though. I think this suffocating embarrassment is because, as much as I don’t want to believe it, that person who made fun of a disabled kid was ME. That kid who posted that status calling out people for being lazy was me. As much as I would like to, I cannot detach myself from my former self, and I can’t go back and change anything in the past. Here’s what I can do. I can forgive people, especially young people, for acting ignorant or hurtful because the only thing separating me from these people is a few years and a bunch of life experience. The more obvious but just as important piece of advice I have is to forget about it. No matter how disgustingly superficial, disingenuous  and cocky I was as a fifth grader , it has zero to do with the only form of Dan Nolte that ever exists: the one in the present. 

I’ll often catch myself kicking a past version of myself for neglecting to thank someone or staying home instead of going out with friends, but I try to remind myself that not only does this not matter for the present, it is also a necessary step in getting to where I am right now. Really think about that. I’ve made a shit load of massive, glaring mistakes in my life, and will continue doing so forever. All of those mistakes mean nothing compared to what I’m doing in my life right now, and what I plan to do in the immediate future. I try to look back on those embarrassing posts or conversations, and use it as a sign that I sure as hell have grown since then, and remind myself to avoid whatever was the source of my disgust going forward.

The funny thing is that as I’m writing this, I know that I will likely look back on this blog and point out elements that embarrass me. Maybe I’ll look back and see that bit about “dramatic pleas” as being too harsh, or that forth paragraph as too cliche to be meaningful. Well, future self, how’s this: Fuck You. I’m not going to avoid speaking or expressing anything that’s going through my head simply because it will probably look childish and immature when I’m older. I’d rather worry about right now.

Chapter 1

27 Jan

Josh briefly peeked up from his book to gauge the his remaining time before the warm summer night would [quite inconsiderately] render the precious words invisible in the backdrop of the pages. Like he did nearly every night up to this point that summer, Josh challenged the dwindling sunlight to a race to the end of the chapter. He skimmed over the words, blinking several times to readjust to the light. His high hopes would crash as he turned to see a page full with text, further delaying the finish line that he anxiously sought. After nearly five minutes of rushed skimming, Josh finally gave in and, defeated, closed  and laid beside him the book that had kept him company during the last three hours.

He leaned back and felt the familiar grooves of bark in the tree that he used as a backrest. Taking a deep breath, Josh fixed his sight across the barren corn field onto the trees about a hundred yards away. He gazed unblinkingly, watching as the fireflies took turns sparking to life, only to vanish in the same instant. It’s strange, thought Josh, how no one really notices it getting dark. He thought about how darkness surreptitiously overtakes the sky in a way that even if you were all alone staring at the stars, you would have a hard time pinpointing an exact moment in which it shifts ever so slightly into a darker hue of black.

Note to Self:

Don’t start writing fiction at twelve twenty thinking “I’ll just knock out a chapter really quick and then go to bed.” Brain is not functioning at full capacity and writing fiction in any presentable form really hard. I mean really hard. That said, I got two paragraphs done in an embarrassingly long time and am going to call that good enough for tonight. I like where I am right now and don’t want to push it.
Basically, what I’m thinking is that I’m going to keep plugging away at this story in sections until it’s done. I think it’s going to be a short story, but it might end up being forty pages or something. In the future, when I make an edition, it will be titled the chapter number and there will be nothing but the text of the story. I mean, who wants to read an analysis or “what I was thinking about when I was writing this” or something that completely tears you out of the story and entirely reminds you that it is written by a human being and doesn’t actually exist? Definitely not I [me? ahh I think I] According to JG, one of the main goals of an author is to ensure that the reader is not cognizant of the fact that the story has been written by a human being, so I just want to leave the text.
I think this is a great idea, and I’ve been meaning to do it for some time. It will give me some practice doing something I love, and will give me something  about which to blog when I can’t think of anything. Also, this will actually make sure that I finish the story instead of letting it get dusty in a word document. Also, feel free to make edits of any form.  I’m new to this fiction thing and will gladly take all of the advice I can get.
Way too late though, I’m going to bed.

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