A Singular Voice | The Only Worthwhile Time Is Now

Someone told me recently to write something in my blog, and I took it to heart. I haven’t been here in months. I wrote something as if I was going to post it back in November 2009, but it never materialized. Then I wrote something against as if I was gonna post it back in November 2010, and nope, didn’t happen.

So what has happened since October 2009, the last time I darkened this corner of the internet with my jilted prose?

I stopped working at VITAC.
I started working at PNC.
I made a friend at PNC.
I hated working at PNC.
I really hated working at PNC.
I went to PAX East.
I stopped working at PNC. (directly related to the event above it)
I spent three months as a bum living off of what money I had and Danielle.
I realized I don’t care for children.
I got a new niece, Abigail. This has some unpleasant corollary with the above event.
I started working for a title closing company called LSI.
I acknowledged that jobs and I have a love/hate relationship that definitively has a honeymoon phase.
I went to PAX East again. It was awesome.

If the company name sounds familiar and you’re a movie nerd, it’s because Mr. Lau’s company in The Dark Knight was called “LSI Holdings.” I’m pretty sure we don’t do anything quite so sinister. Actually, there’s every chance we do, because I’m the first to admit I have no idea what it is we really do. I e-mail PDFs all day long, and with an open mind and the right attitude from our IT department, I could easily automate 3/4 of my job. Oh, I’m learning Powershell! For my Maya friends, it’s like MEL for Windows, so you can begin to form a picture of the robust nature of its features.

Ok, so let’s address all that above: completely meaningless. Empty. Hollow. Facts that delineate a position I’m no longer in. The last misfire of a post, which was aptly titled “Where Am I?” started the same way. When I wrote it, I thought I was asking from the perpsective of my imaginary readers. “Aw, Sean hasn’t blogged in a long time. Where is he?” And I was going to answer the question. I think, now, removed from the isometric ego dysmorphia I was suffering under and looking back with true perspective, I was asking myself that question. Where am I? I thought the only way to answer it was to look at where I’d come from.

And I am vastly proud to say that I’m deeply ashamed to admit that the entire post turned into a poorly-thought-out, questionably written memoir, like I was cataloging my life through the lens of failure that I had allowed myself to be defined by. I was looking back on times bygone and thinking “oh, back when…” and I’m 25! Twenty God Damn Motherfucking Shit Bastarding Dick Pissing Five. Twenty five isn’t the end of any road. It’s not a significant commentary on my life that I haven’t achieved my goals at 25. It’s not even a significant comment to say I haven’t achieved my goals by twenty-five. But those seven months or so ago, I felt it was. I felt like I had to just slip into the stream of existence and be pushed along. Fuck. That. Noise.

I sought advice from everywhere and everyone without actually looking for resolutions: I was just hoping someone would say that magical thing and make me feel better. I wanted a eureka moment that would penetrate my self-loathing and change my universe. My favorite piece of advice that I ignored was from Zach Freysinger. He told me “Life is like being trapped in a raging river. The way I see it, is you have two options. Right where you are, right now, the river is fierce. It is pushing you as hard as it can. And all you’re doing is fighting it. You’re swimming against the current. That’s wasted energy, because you can’t undo a river anymore than you can stop your life from continuing. To get out of a raging river and find a nice stream or whatever works for this metaphor, you have to just let go. You have to just coast down the river. Let it push you. Eventually, you’ll find a place when you can start to swim for the shore. You’ll never be able to swim upstream, but you can swim to a calmer place where you have more control.”

That’s solid advice. That’s good advice from a good friend with a fairly well-constructed metaphor. And what I took from that advice was all wrong. I took “don’t fight it. Just coast forever. You’re gonna die anyway. You’re never getting out of the river, so just let it push you along.”

And that’s not what Zach said at all. What Zach said, for all intents and purposes, is that the only time I have, that any of us have, is right now. We decide what we do with that time. Do we waste it trying to make it then? Do we idle away, ignoring it, waiting for when?

Or do we really use it? Invest it. If right now is the only time I ever really have, I need to invest it in getting to the part of the river flow that I want to be at. And I need to accept that sometimes that means swimming diagonally with the stream. And sometimes it means swimming horizontally. But it never means coasting, and it absolutely never, ever means swimming upstream, because that’s wasting my time.

Ultimately, I had my Eureka moment at PAX. Well, shortly thereafter while reading Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality Is Broken. This isn’t some self-help book. This is the book that made me realize the lessons I’ve been learning my whole life apply to my whole life. Suddenly everything everyone has said is clicking into place.

And for the first time in almost three years, I’m happy. I’m actively happy and trying to be happier. I have found an intrinsic motivation to do so. I’m also terrified and anxious, and it’s the best handful of feelings a person can have in the world. When I’m not scared, it means I’m safe, and I’ve always been frustrated, bored, and depresse
d when I’m safe. When I’m not anxious, it means I have no goals or ambitions, and that makes me sulk, eat, and cry.

And I’m done with that. Well, the eating not so much. One step at a time, here.

Negativity is a cancer in our society, and particularly so in the sub-culture I spend most of my time in. That sounds like some new-age bullshit, but it’s definably and certifiably true. Ask any modern psychologist, and they’ll tell you that positive people are happier, healthier, and more productive in all aspects of their lives. Which is not to say all the time – there is a positivity threshold over which you burn out and crash particularly hard. I have spent three years wallowing in negativity, all of it self-imposed and endlessly flying in the face of positive reinforcement (not the psych term, just a literal idea here: people were providing me with reinforcement about myself which was positive in nature), seemingly as a dare: go ahead and try and make me feel better, because I’m miserable enough to outdo it!

And even in saying all this, I can feel the edges of it tugging at me and grasping me. It’s like the Ring of Power that Frodo wears – not on my finger, hovering over the pit of fire, but still endlessly calling to me. Whispering eldritch cynicism in my ear and breathing a curse into my heart. I’m not immune to it. I can feel it rising like a lump in my throat as I write this.

But the trick I’m doing now is swallowing that lump away (without a cheeseburger crammed in my maw) and offering a smirk. A smirk! The Smirk. The sidelong expression that identified me so readily on the first day of my first class with my favorite English teacher. The Smirk known by anyone who knows me: I have a thought: a thought which is a biting commentary, a cutting retort, an observation so utterly true, perfectly formed, aptly poignant and as funny as I can formulate it, that I intend to keep it private. But it can’t stay that way, and so it pushes out the corner of my mouth and narrows my baby blues just a hair.

That thought, that power has gone untapped in me for years now. I hate reiterating that. Many reading this, including Danielle herself, are going to feel like I’m ascribing the loss of all these things to my time spent with her. It must be said that she’s not completely innocent – it’s very easy to be lazy when you have someone to hold you. It’s very easy to be outsource your self-esteem when you know someone will be there to pick it up. No one is immune to that.

But Danielle isn’t responsible.  A bitter man might blame Full Sail, but they’re not responsible. I have no one to blame but myself. By a year ago, all of my creative endeavors were formulated with a singular goal in mind:

Get a job.

I wanted a job in the entertainment industry, basically doing anything. If I was Lord High Cocksucker for PIXAR, I’d have been chomping at the bit to get started, an action which likely would have gotten me fired from such a position because I think “chomping” is frowned upon in the cocksucking profession. I would have prostrated and prostituted myself for any gig, any opportunity. I would have sold every idea and creative notion I’ve ever had. And it was all because of a singular thought: “I’ll be happy when…”

It’s disgusting. I’m disgusted by myself. I singlehandedly sucked the joy out of what I loved. It’s why I wasn’t writing – I didn’t see where it was going to get me. I didn’t see what it was going to do for me.

Now I’m bounced back. This is not a world where you have to debase yourself to create things anymore. I don’t have to get a guy with a piano to play me out while I tumble for Vaudeville dollars. I don’t need an agent or a big fancy marketing team to push my creative ideas. I just need to do them. I need to put in the time, as Scott Kurtz and Robert Khoo would say. And the only time I have to put in, is right now. And most of all, I need to do these things because I want to, not because I think it’ll make me happy WHEN. I need to do all this stuff for the love it, and screw everything else. I’d be an idiot and a liar to say that I don’t define my success by making money – that’s America, I can’t avoid that. I can truthfully say that I’m less concerned with being successful and more concerned with being satisfied with myself and my efforts. So, I’m gonna do it because I love it.

And again, the only time I have is right now. I put in the time right now. I invest it. Eventually, once enough now has become then, and I have used it correctly and successfully like resource management in RTS games and mana in WoW, I will have something to show for it. But I’m less concerned with having something to show for it WHEN, than I am with being satisfied that I’m putting the time in now. So, the Only Worthwhile Time is Now.

Which sort of makes us wonder: why write this? Go put your time into these things you want to do, Boyce, and get off the intertrons.

Well, this is the thing I want to do, too. I want to catalog my thoughts and opinions the way I used to. I want to share them and express them, but I want to do it for me. I want this to become my Singular Voice on the internet. As I run into complications and problems with my various projects and life events, I’m going to share them here, unabashedly and honestly and hopefully not overtly offensively.

To that end, I’m going to be disabling comments. It doesn’t much matter for those of you who read this, because you’re probably my Facebook friends, and that’s how you found the link, so you can comment there. But then it’s part of my social network, it’s removed and separated from my blog, per se, and it’s about my friends talking to me, expressing their singular voice about what I’ve said and how I’ve made them feel. And that’s fine. Its their/your/our right to do so. I’ve given you that permission by befriending you in the real world to begin with and then extended a digital version of that permission and trust with that website.

But here? Here is a Singular Voice. My voice. It’s my opportunity to vomit my thoughts onto this corner of the web. Anyone and everyone can see it, read it, and be opinionated about it. Someday, I’ll lose a job over it. Someday, maybe I’ll get hired for it. That’s all when. This is now.

And, as I may have mentioned about a billion times, the only worthwhile time is now.

 

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