it is perhaps the misfortune of my life
“It is perhaps the misfortune of my life that I am interested in far too much but not decisively in any one thing; all my interests are not subordinated in one but stand on an equal footing.”
“I wasn’t much of a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing.”
So. Last night I had a little time before I shut down my computer to scrounge around some of my favorite websites for some thoughts, quotes and images. I don’t really believe in serendipity but within 15 minutes on three different sites I gathered the three quotes that anchor this piece.
I sat back after copying them and I realized, well, it is perhaps the misfortune of my Life that I am interested in far too much.
My misfortune is that I am incessantly curious, a relentless contrarian to existing thought & thinking and a restless thinker in general. My misfortune is that I see restless thinking as one big adventure.
I sat back after copying them and I realized I am not satisfied being a petty thief … I want the whole world.
And as I sat back I also thought a little about how I got to this place.
Growing up I remember hearing a lot of “maybe you should be more realistic” type advice. I remember it chafing.
It made me think … well … I should think smaller.
I am sure the ‘safer’ aspect … aiming toward more achievable things and not stretching too far possibly felt okay … but I chafed on the whole thought of not getting what I thought could be achieved or what could be done.
I still do.
Going small just seems … well … small to me.
And, yes, there is a price to pay for thinking this way.
Ok. I will point out two prices you pay.
The first price is restlessness.
Oh. And restlessness can make people feel uneasy. It makes them uneasy because you are not easily slotted. People want you to present them with a peg and they can put it in some hole and thinking about it and look at it.
People, like me, who have the misfortune of being interested in anything and everything and not satisfied with one thing are more of a box. And while boxes represent some symmetry and some tangible aspect for people to grasp, at the same time, … sigh … it is not a peg
The second price is wins … as in quantity of wins.
Even I, probably a more pragmatic aspirationalist, don’t aim toward some truly realistic things on occasion. That means not getting done what you want to get done, not getting where you want to get to and not getting, in general, the largeness you desired. In other words you didn’t get a win while someone who aimed lower or accepted something smaller did get a win.
Does that matter? I mean life doesn’t really give out trophies, people do.
Yeah. It does matter. Watching others win when you don’t does matter to some extent. And you would be lying if you didn’t admit that.
Aiming for it all, or something bigger <more broad> than something smaller <more focused>, and not getting it can make you start thinking smaller. And why do you do that? You want a frickin’ win.
And that, well, that can affect how you think and what you do.
It does so because many of us are willing to compromise some fairly important things to win on occasion.
Shit. Even more of us are willing to compromise a lot of fairly important things <which they hadn’t even tangibly decided were important to them> in order to win on occasion.
Oh. I bring up the second group because they are the ones who don’t get the ones who have the misfortune of wanting bigger things. It’s like a petty thief most likely scoffs at the master thief.
But those people may just call this reality <and, therefore, kind of suggesting those who have the misfortune of wanting to know everything about everything are not realistic>.
It is quite likely that my reality, and those whose reality is similar, fights reality itself – I mean society & culture creates lines of reality of which we get boxed in by with regard to expectations.
Umberto Eco is the one who suggested life has “lines of resistance.” This was his version of reality.
These ‘lines of resistance’ are established mostly so that we cannot say or do whatever we like with impunity. The problem with that is they also bring along some baggage … baggage like … uhm … what is viewed as pragmatic & realistic <smaller versions of shit that are achievable by many rather than few>.
But, thankfully, the lines of resistance can shift.
But, thankfully, some can reach across the lines of resistance and gain access to some bigger shit which lies outside the lines of resistance.
All that said. Life, and these lines of resistance, encourage some people … mostly those who have the misfortune to be interested in far too much but not decisively in any one thing to shrink them … encourage them to think smaller and, inevitably, maybe be smaller than what they should be.
“Most of my life has been spent trying to shrink myself.
Trying to become smaller. Quieter. Less sensitive. Less opinionated. Less needy. Less me.
Because I didn’t want to be a burden.
I didn’t want to be too much or push people away. I wanted people to like me. I wanted to be cared for and valued. I wanted to be wanted. So for years, I sacrificed myself for the sake of making other people happy. And for years, I suffered.
But I’m tired of suffering, and I’m done shrinking. It’s not my job to change who I am in order to become someone else’s idea of a worthwhile human being.
I am worthwhile. Not because other people think I am, but because I exist, and therefore I matter. My thoughts matter. My feelings matter. My voice matters. And with or without anyone’s permission or approval, I will continue to be who I am and speak my truth.
Even if it makes people angry. Even if it makes them uncomfortable. Even if they choose to leave. I refuse to shrink. I choose to take up space. I choose to honour my feelings. I choose to give myself permission to get my needs met. I choose to make self-care a priority.
I choose me.”
Let me be clear.
Smaller is safer. Smaller can actually be very satisfying. Smaller, in some ways, can actually permit you to live a fuller Life <although I would argue it’s not really a bigger Life>. And while small, in this case, could be construed as bad or lesser than … it is not. It is simply a viable choice for people with regard t their Life and how they want to live it.
Just as those who have the misfortune to want the whole world, well, that is their choice.
And I would argue that whatever your choice we are all aiming toward the same place … lets call it our “home.” That home within. The place within you that either sits on the favorite Barcalounger safe & sound in a Life lived well in smaller aspects or the one who wanders forever restlessly over hill & thru the dale seeking the next interest or learning or new thing.
Personally, I am the latter. I am a nomad thinker. I want to know it all. And when I know something I want to know more. But that topic is for another day.
“All of life is a coming home.
Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us. All the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home.”
Today I would suggest whether you have the misfortune of wanting to know it all or whether you believe in something bigger than you or simply believe there is something bigger within you to be found by not wanting it all … your compass & your map resides within … not some external place or location which may appear to fulfill some aspect of ‘home.’
so far out to sea <‘restless’>
so far out to sea
standing on impassive intensity
of restless possibilities
push back the curtain
of slumbering elements
of disordered solitude.
stir up a peace of
drowning out a cacophony
of restless disinterested
reflects upon the path chosen,
wander the waves roaming
so far out to sea