My Brother and I in Bali, circa 2000
I wrote a few days ago in “0011 – Small steps, my steps” that it may be IN SOME WAYS easier to start off with less because then everything is a win. It’s of course facetious to say that not meeting a particular, artificial goal is worse than being on the precipice of destitution. If one was from a position where they couldn’t rely on their parents to bail them out, if they knew that one misstep could land them in a series of rolling debt I’m sure that would be much more stressful than someone not feeling like they lived up to expectation.
I guess the difference here is that as long as one is chugging along and life is OK. It is easy to point and say that we’re not in destitution and objectively we’ve made it. Personally, I find it quite paralyzing to not ever have been successful enough to have made it. What’s worse being just enough above the water or always unable to touch the sky? Maybe these are ramblings of a privileged kid. Maybe the real solution is to let go of the expectations for they weren’t mine anyway. There’s always this nagging voice in my head of not being good enough, never having made it. It’s exhausting and I want it to stop.
I watched this great video by The School of Life called ‘Taking it one day at a time” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhWFddWz1Nk). This makes a lot of sense to me. It also links back to what I remember Kevin Kelly talk about, that civilization is built on many small wins. Things that don’t seem to monumental in themselves but eventually add up to something quite grand. Starting today, I’m to try and take every single day seriously for that is all we have.
I also have been deeply inspired by Henry Rollins and his talk in Melbourne where he said when he was dead he would want Life to be happy he was gone because he took so much out of it. He also said something on the Joe Rogan podcast that stuck with me. He sets up adversarial relationships not because he’s a misanthrope but because he sees it as a way to compete and to be the best version of himself. I like that. I like to see my problems as things that threaten me (because they do, if left unattended) I can tap into my masculine energy and ‘crush them’, yes, I am bigger than my fears, yes I can take them on and win, yes I can be the destroyer of the things that wish to destroy me. When you do a bench press and the bar is above your chest, that’s almost my entire body weight waiting to kill me. It is me against The Iron, if I slip up or of if I don’t use my strength, I could really injure myself. And the thing is, I put myself in that position, on purpose. I want to be there, I want to be in danger because it gives me a chance to push back, to grow bigger, to grow stronger and to feel like a new person.
I see people (and myself a little bit now) who walk around a bit hunched in their soul. They don’t look forward with any particular strength or conviction. It is a choice to be like that and we can choose not to be. I don’t necessarily think that masculine energy has to be hard all the time. One of the greatest instances of masculine energy I’ve seen was earlier this summer when I was having coffee with a good friend and someone else that he knew.
The conversation turned for the worse and it came to our attention that this third guy was being deceptive and actively so. He wanted to steer the conversation so that we would land on a conclusion that he had already planned out instead of just asking us directly what we thought he guided us to it in a sneaky manner. My friend cut this bullshit out immediately. He’s a tall guy but that didn’t stop him from using his entire stature and being to be vulnerable. He look at this guy with a trembling lip and a stern yet cracking voice and said that he would never wanted to be tread like that as a friend ever again. Some tears rolled down his face and collected in his beard. I was incredibly moved and still am thinking of this story. I hope to be as strong as him one day. I’m glad I have a space to write down this memory because I want to keep it.
I had some more to say but I want to note how much quicker I’m writing and thinking. I feel like I’m getting more articulate, you can be the judge of that. I have been doing a lot of pushups lately. I can do 30 in a row without breaking a sweat and I’ve hit 40 in a row already. 50 is the next milestone but I want to be hitting 40 consistently before making the jump. It’s kind of like ascending a peak, I think.
Anyway, I really appreciate this habit that I’ve developed over the past 9 days. Making the bed, writing 1000 words, doing some push ups. I feel like my body and mind are tightening, in a good way. I feel like I have momentum and I want to keep using it.
I want life to be tired of me when I’m done with it. I want it to be sick of me. I’ve been floating around a little bit and I want to make the most of what I have. I don’t want to be one of those people that lie down. I need to go down with a fight. I think of all the exapts who leave Berlin because after a certain point they realise they are living in Germany and get surprised by it. I need to take it head one. I need to learn German. I also need to remember that I’m not like other expats. I’m not going to complain. Complaining is for losers. I’m going to do my best and I’m going to win. I don’t even need to do all the normal immigration stuff which is so hard for people. I have a winning hand and I intend to play it.