“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”—Jack Kerouac
This quote from Kerouac has stuck with me for years—but I (empathize) feel it now more than ever.
I suppose everyone is fighting their own version of the quarantine blues, and we all have our own unique experiences and coping mechanisms. For me, the problem has never been boredom; but rather an overabundance of goals—to the point of paralysis.
The lockdown has only emphasized my neurotic tendancies.
There’s TOO many things to do. Too many things to learn. Too many things to be interested in. Too many skills I’d like to master. The crux is that I’m a finite being, the clock is ticking and “what if I choose the wrong thing?”.
“What will you do with your one precious life?”—Cheryl Strayed, Wild
And so, I go about my routine, and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to decide what I should do. Which ends up being how I spend my time—thinking rather than doing. I’m stuck in the middle of everywhere, thinking about everything that I want to do and doing nothing.
“All hung up, running from one falling star to another until I drop.”
Maybe I sound like an insane person. Good. I like being different.
Some people go about their lives and never question how they spend their time. I think at some point, we should all take a step back from the world and think about what we are doing, where we are headed, and how we want to look back on our lives. I’ll be 35 this year and maybe that’s why I’m asking these questions.
So, instead of offering you my own confusion; I’m going to end this blog with a list of the things I plan on doing to get out of the funk that I’m in.
1. STOP DOING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO DO
Creativity = Subtraction
The older I get the more I’m realizing that I can’t do everything. Time is a huge limiting factor. We should be evaluating how we spend our time on a regular basis. If you’re doing something that you don’t want to do—that should be the first thing that gets cut——period.
For example, as I’m writing this my watch is buzzing with texts. Instead of continuing to be distracted, I just took it off my wrist. That’s a pretty good analogy of how I want to start living my life.
Stop doing things that you don’t want to do.
2. DO WHAT I’M GOOD AT
Sure, time is a limiting factor in choosing what we do—but we’re also limited by our talent and our abilities. There are some things in life that I’ll never do—because I physically can’t, I’m not smart enough,—or I just don’t have the talent.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push yourself to explore your abilities.
Find out what you’re naturally good at—then keep chasing that sucker. God has given us all a gift, you just have to find it.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” —Pablo Picasso
3. FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS RATHER THAN “LIKES”
What are we doing by spending so much time on social media, chasing likes, followers, and virtual approval? The more I do it, the more it seems like a big ass waste of time.
I’m going to spend more of my precious time trying to serve other people and connect with them on a personal level, rather than focusing on the superficial dopamine hits of social media.
How many likes?
How many people have I positively affected today?
4. MAKE ART THAT WILL OUTLIVE ME
I think our goal as artists is to create something that will live longer than we do. If you can somehow do that, while maximizing your curiosity & exploration of life—you’re on to something.
For me, I’m the most present when I have a camera around my neck. It has become a sort of super power.
5. INSPIRE OTHER PEOPLE
Every day I see something that inspires me to keep digging further down the rabbit hole. I want to make it my goal to be one of those lights in the world that inspires others to pursue their own curiosity/creativity.
6. MAINTAIN A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE
There are no winners or losers in life.
What we choose to pursue is simply what we choose.
I started this post by saying I was overwhelmed by too many things. I think a better way of framing this situation is to say that “life is full of potential“.
That should be exciting—not something that causes us to be overwhelmed.
It’s ok to chase after every falling star. That’s what makes life interesting & worth living.
If we were somehow able to do everything and know everything—life would be extremely boring. What makes this life interesting, is the pursuit of that which is intangible and just out of reach.
By living a creative life, we are effectively making this our mode of being——we are contiually pushing ourselves towards the threshold of our capabilities.
Every great work of art is an attempt to catch a falling star.
Keep making art. Keep chasing what is just out of reach.
Thanks for reading