Suddenly I realized that my life hadn’t changed much in the last decade since leaving college. Work, bars, cartoons, random conversations of a big- city nature, second-hand bookshops and art films, the occasional bout of random or regular sex to tide things over etc etc.
It wasn’t as interesting as it used to be. But I hadn’t moved on, really. And I had no idea where to go next.
I wanted to be “part of the edge”, but I didn’t want to be “insane with loneliness”. Was one necessary in order to have the other? Was it a price worth paying? To this day, I still have no answer.
Within 6 weeks you’re sitting at a restaurant with an old friend who is giving you the “How come you only call me when you’re single” speech.
Early 30s is a great time to be alive- you’re still young, but you have experience. A powerful combo.
The downside is all that weird rockstar shit you believe about yourself is well past its sell-by date, and if you haven’t outgrown it by then, it starts to fuck up your life.
There are many advantages of getting older… more money and respect from the world at large being the main one. However, with all this newly found cash & kudos comes the idea that maybe the world isn’t such a nice place, after all. That maybe all that unhappiness you see on the faces of your fellow commuters is there for a reason. And no matter how much you try or how hard you work, none of that will ever change.
Being an artist/creative is like wearing funky clothing. Every year gets a little bit harder. After a while it just looks stupid. Eventually the stupidity reaches critical mass and the late-night tailspin begins.
So you’re going out a lot. Pretty soon you’re going out too much. Parties. Bars. More parties. More bars. So you decide to cut back a bit, y’know, start living like a normal person.
So you trade in those wild & crazy times for delivered Chinese food, Forbes Magazine and Seinfeld reruns. You’re just going to try it for a couple of weeks, and see how it feels. After all, this is a “new you” we’re talking about. A better you. A saner you. A wiser, more sensible and compelling you.
But you know in your heart of hearts that you didn’t move from suburban Cleveland, Denver, Pittsburgh etc to a $3000-a-month Manhattan apartment just to watch Seinfeld.
In New York, you always think that if you try harder, work longer hours, make more money, spend more time at the gym, put more effort into networking, read more books, go to bed earlier, drink less booze, avoid negative people, be less shallow about the whole sex thing, be more supportive to your close friends, eat more vegetables and stop smoking so many damn cigarettes, you will eventually be able pull off that great Miracle Of Miracles i.e. you’ll finally, finally, finally be able to live in Manhattan while simultaneously leading a healthy, productive, emotionally-balanced life.
I think in Dallas we have some of the insane pretentious big-city shit of New York, and some of the insane people-who-have-already-lost-their-sanity shit of say, a south Florida. But without the really famous and/or rich people of New York and without the really impossibly beautiful untouchables of south Florida. In sum, it gives us access to some kind of dream without the constant reminder that the dream is shit and there are only winners and losers. And no- one even knows which are which.
I have a friend that I am connected to in some kind of quantum-physics kind of way. She’s pretty far away right now and hurting a whole lot. And I’m simultaneously completely afflicted by it and powerless to do anything about it. It’s like I have all the physical symptoms of depression without the hopelessly downward-spiraling thoughts. It’s like I feel fine except there is this huge lead weight tied to something deep in my chest.
And no words seem to remotely communicate how I really feel. And they certainly don’t help her situation. And that’s frustrating. Sometimes the only way to say “everything’s going to be alright” without appearing the complete wanker is to say it with one’s eyes.
Carissa posted this video today and it was the emotional equivalent of these post-cold phlegm balls I’m coughing up today: extremely tangible and somewhat sickly but so good for having made their way out.