Friday, July 20, 2012

Still Learning (lessons from the first half of 2012)

July has been full of good conversations.
Thanks for the feedback on the Israel blog.

Still Learning: First half of 2012 edition:
I've never really considered going to grad school. The hypothetical idea of more education floats around and it's great in theory (much like going to Vegas for the summer, starting to do ju-jitsu or learning Spanish) but I've never gotten close to acting on it. In the past year I've arrived at a place where I want to learn- more than at any point during my "education: as a student. With a student's mentalty, I've picked up on a few ideas recently:

Nerviousness has become a state of yes or no. Are we a generation of knee-shakers and table tappers? We're so anxious. It seems common for 20-somethings to feel lonely despite being surrounded by friends. Our lives are super-connected but as individuals we've been sacrificing depth in our communication and we're facing our livings more alone than we need to. We add Facebook friends by the dozen, but we don't introduce ourselves to our neighbors when we get a new apartment. We're so worried about missing out on an email or a fun video that we miss smiles and sunsets and invitations that are right in front of us.
What are we scared of? People have a HUGE tendancy to spend time on things they're good at and ignore anything that is hard. Some people want the easiest path possible, and that's great for them (as long as it's what they want and not what they're resigned to.) Other people want to be tested and be made uncomfortable and grow. At least some difficulty should be acceptable.
I've learned- and this isn't a radical obervation- that small choices quickly accumulate. The easy choices are a losing idea. Without failure we don't grow. If you're too comfortable as a 20-something, you won't learn anything about yourself. Unless you know exactly how you want your life to turn out, and that describes maybe one or two people that I know of any age, we should always be learning as much as possible. We should look back on choices and thoughts we had a few years ago and think we were idiots. If you look back two years ago ("you-2") and see the same person you are right now, make sure that's who you ultimately want to be. You can extend this same idea in the other direction: if you-2 isn't really you now, who will you+20 be? How accurate can you be in guessing what you+20 will want? We should look at our decisions based on the quality of the decision itself, not the expected results. Our medium-term future has too many possibilities for us to anticipate, but we can focus on the immediate decisions and try to make them as if someone we admire is judging that choice from an outside perspective. 
In case you're thinking "Jesse your blogs got wayyyy too serious" and you're getting a headache/whatever, here are some funny pictures:

Did those bring you back? This post might be quickly getting away from me. I have a habbit of jamming my thoughts down other peoples throats. I know this can be obnoxious, yet when I don't do it people too often make incorrect assumptions about who where I am. I might think you can use hearing something from (my) outside perspective. I probably think you're more beautiful/handsome than you think you are (wink, I'm probably right.) I might be able to notice that you're scared of something that everyone but you can see. I'm still learning when you should tell a friend what you think of their decisions. I wish people would speak up at me more often (Kev did this recently, and I owe him a thank you for it.)

I've learned that I really miss New York, and I'm proud that my NY people are a part of me. When I start a point with "there's something to be said for____" which I stole from Paul, or when I stare a moment too long at people rolling by on longboards, or when I feel out of place reading Frank O'Hara in Boston, I can smile at good memories. 

Last week poker might have exposed some hypocracy in me. It is a game of mini-truth, full of microcosms of how you react under stress and how creative a person is when his back is against the wall. I think to get better at poker, I have to get better at a few big things (self control and focus included) and just let poker come along with a better life balance.
Semi-aside: I work with a lot of sales people at work, and I think being in any type of money-centric persuit takes a big toll on a person's life outlook. When money is the goal of something, whether it's an idea or a game, it's very easy to lose oneself and be disconnected with everything except for dollars.
The average person struggles with the ability to be completely honest with oneself. Most persons probably think's they're in the 80th human percentile, this is an impossible average. Where are the losers?

Maybe the biggest thing I've learned is that there's usually a different way of doing ______ than the way that you know.
This blog was all over the place, I hope there was at a nugget buried in it that one person could snack on. 

A very happy almost birthday to the Brentons! 

Context Free Book Exerpt #8:

“Thanks but you don’t have to do that.” He spoke sharply but to no one in particular, trailing off into the stale hallway air. 
“If you need to be alone I understand, but I want to come with you. Is that ok?” He nods, biting his lip. “Come to my room with me, I only need a minute.” In zombielike silence he follows her back up two flights of stairs into her room where she helps him onto the bed. She puts on a sweater and grabs a jacket. She starts to ask him to look away before she changes into jeans but he is staring towards the floor. He is looking at something that no one else could see, his neck stiff, his body rigid. 

Next post, in place of the CFBE, I want to test out some "short short fiction" which I want to submit to the Esquire 79'th contest. Should be fun.

1 comment:

  1. So the "lonely" thing really stuck out at me. I've never been shy about writing about feeling the exact way you described. However I don't think loneliness stems from our need to be so virtually connected that we're missing out on building real relationships. I think it's because a lot of people are putting on the persona (or maybe they really do) that they have it all together. And it's scary to admit that in this world of perfection and...well...togetherness, that we might not have it together. I have difficulty broaching the topic of how insecure and sometimes unstable I really am with people who put off the vibe that they're all gravy, even when they're my close friend and I know I shouldn't feel that way about them. Who wants to come off as the crazy friend? Not I. So it makes it very lonely to battle those feelings by yourself. IDK. Just a thought. And who knows, maybe you're right, and it's just me who thinks that way. Or we're both right. Or neither of us is right. No one knows.