“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
― Albert Camus
It’s true, I often seek happiness outside of myself. When this happens, I will be happy. When I find this I will be happy. When I figure this out, I will be happy, finally. And then, miserable, I find myself coming back to accepting that this moment is ALL I HAVE.
It really is. If I look back, there is a collection of previous moments to draw from, reminisce on, write about, but right here, right now, is the only thing I have. That’s it. No matter how bad I want to change it or keep it from being real, no matter where I want to be instead of here, this is it.
I can look ahead. I can set goals for myself to move forward, move along. I can do any number of things today to build a better tomorrow, but I can’t make anything happen that depends on another person, place or thing. Lately, I’ve been trying to start over from scratch, as my whole life was pulled out from under me. In the aftermath, I held on to whatever I could in order to get through the transition. I came to rely on unreliable things, and was left again with myself and the reality that unless I motivate me to do the things I need and want to do, there will be no progression.
No one else can push me along. No one else wants to.
I know this blog tends towards some combo of nihilistic anarchist buddhist zen crapshoot, but that’s kind of where I’m coming from in life. I started to pursue my writing and music as a lifetime enterprise a number of years ago, knowing I’d cared about these things my whole life, and as a result, some things in my life stopped working.
I’ve hit a transition point where I don’t know what I’m doing, where I’m going or if I’m even on the right path. Sometimes, when I play shows lately, there’s this existential voice in my head going, “But what’s the point?”
I was talking with a childhood friend the other day. He’s on his second record with a band he created and about to go on an awesome tour in Europe. But he was tripping on the fact that he only has 934 likes on his Facebook music page. “Why don’t more people hear this? I worked hard on this, it’s amazing, it says everything I want it to say, but it will never be heard.”
I, with my 164 likes (mostly family) on Facebook, just sat there and half-smiled. “It’s mostly access and marketing and promotion. But YOU like your music, right? You listen to it, don’t you?”
“I do the same with mine. And really, in the end, if I realize what I had intended to create in the physical plane, and I like it, and a couple of people hear it…that’s more than I was expecting.”
Of COURSE we want more people to hear our creations.
But I was thinking about how it’s easy to get caught up in more, more, more. He started tripping on the futility of it all, with his dark songs playing in the background, and I told him to cheer up, gave him a hug.
It’s so easy to get caught in the meaninglessness loop with art, to forget that it’s made up of the subtle things we glaze over while straining our eyes on the prize. I’m always looking and waiting for more. But life is right here. Here’s my friend, with another friend listening to and appreciating his music, and he’s tripping on all the people that aren’t listening to it. What am I, chopped liver?
I’m kind of teasing, but you see my point. We look over people and what we have. And it may be all we ever have.
Before and during my last show, a singer-songwriter showcase thing, I was tripping out thinking, “Shoot, what’s the point? Maybe I’ll I’m really meant to do is use my music as a tool to process my own emotions. Maybe other people aren’t really supposed to hear it. Maybe it all exists in a vacuum and that vacuum is all I have. What am I even doing playing for these people?”
Some Irish guy at the bar tried to buy me a drink after my set, told me I was really talented, and I told him I don’t drink (convenient in times like this). He was telling me about a band he saw when he was in South Dakota who he thought were simply amazing. “But the locals didn’t get it,” he said. “They were a bit ignorant. This great talent there in front of their eyes and they didn’t even see it.”
Seems like, in this cosmic joke of a world, for whatever reason (and I don’t think I’m bitter) many of us do not get heard by more than a few. We focus on the brighter stars, all the others blend into the tapestry. I don’t know why this is, and frankly, I don’t think I care anymore. I’m just keeping on keeping on, chipping away, for myself. Who cares what anyone else thinks. Who cares if I get heard?
I mean, I do, but, I’ve learned three things: Expect nothing. Learn from everything. Take care of yourself. People trip along beside you here and there, but overall, we have ourselves, and the universe has some unknown plan. We’re all (most of us) working in the dark, doing the best we can with what we have and know.