Friday, November 7, 2014

It's time for an existential crisis

I’ve never had an existential crisis.

Not really.

I’ve always believed in my core that the world made sense. There was a plan or some sort of glue that would hold it all together. It was just a matter of figuring it out.

The Universe will give me what I need. That used to be my mantra and my way of comforting myself.

I’m shaking my head right now, ashamed by the level of self-centeredness and naiveté needed for such a belief to make sense.

Needless to say, I don’t feel that way anymore.

This is gonna be a not so happy post. So I'll fill it with Jensen Ackles fan art. Because I figure that will offset some of the darkness of this post. Source.

I’ve always loved Coketalk’s way of viewing life: That you should look into the abyss and laugh at it.

This is the first time I’ve ever really looked into the abyss. And I'm not laughing (not yet anyway).

Life isn’t fair. Shit happens. And it doesn’t make sense. There isn’t a pattern of any kind.

The abyss is bleak. And it is savage.

It doesn’t scare me. What’s the point of being scared?

It doesn’t intrigue me. There’s nothing to figure out. Nothing to anticipate. It just fucking is.

And then it isn’t.

The world hasn’t changed. It’s the same as it has always been. But I feel like I’m seeing it for the first time.

It’s not a cruel place – not by any measure. That would entail a sense of intent behind the causes and effects that simply does not exist. Such an intent is merely a projection of my own sense of identity.

There is no meaning. There is no sense. There is no pattern.

Maybe this is just a phase and I’ll emerge later with a new sense of purpose. But I doubt it.

We’re all just talking animals, inventing complex systems to live in, all to distract us from the fact that we’re going to die.

I’m not sad about it. I’m not happy about it either. I’m just seeing it as a fact. The earth revolves around the sun. The universe is unimaginable big. Gravity keeps my feet planted on the surface of the earth. And there is no point of it all.

I mean, life and all the systems we’ve created within the abyss are still marvelous. Wondrous. Beautiful, even. I can appreciate the beauty of this existence on the brink of madness.

I don’t quite know how to act in this world that I’m seeing now.

With kindness and grace I guess. Because when all else fails, all we have are each other.

And in an instant it can all be over.

I’m trying to avoid jumping to any conclusions. Life might be pointless. But I’m still figuring out if living a life is pointless as well. I’m leaning to a no right now.

Maybe I’ll laugh at the abyss next week. For now I’m just staring contemplatively at it.

I suppose laughter will come. Until it's my turn, please enjoy Jensen's laughter below.

I don't know who made the original gif but I got it from this post (source). If you like a smiling Jensen you should go check it out. It made me feel lots better.

This post was dark. I'm not sorry. I will find my way back to the light. Ask me tomorrow how that's going.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

No answers here this time

I’ve been having a hard time, lately. Harder than usual.

I lost my mom last week. I’ve written some unfiltered posts about it on my tumblr. You can see them in chronological order here: day 0day 3, day 7, day 8, and day 9.

That last one I wrote a few hours ago and almost posted to this blog. But I didn’t. Because it reflects a view of reality that I don’t really like. It might very well be how I feel right now, but it’s not how I want to see the world.

I don’t want to be hopeless.

But I’m afraid I am right now.

My world has been shaken to its core and I’m still trying to figure out how this new world works.

It’s clear that fairness doesn’t matter. Neither does individual will or hard work. Destiny or a higher power is a load of bull-crap too.

Doing the best you can, will not get you what you want. The world – at its core – does not care about you.

We are all going to die. It's just a matter of when.

I know there is freedom somewhere in this realization too. Freedom to let go. Freedom to spend your time however you please. Freedom to not care about trivial shit. And freedom to find joy in the simple things.

But I’m not there yet.

Instead I’m sitting at the edge of a black hole, wondering what the point of it all is.

If I ever figure it out I’ll let you know.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What to do When Your Passion Doesn't Exist

I get so tired of people telling me to go after my dreams. Because what dreams are we talking about here?

The one I had when I was a teenager and wanted to be a YA fantasy writer? Or the one I had when I was 6 and wanted to be princess? Or is it the one I had last night when all I really wanted was to road trip in the USA until the end of time?

Take your passion. Make it happen.

It’s even in a god damn 80's pop song, for crying out loud.

I grew up on this shit. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and all that jazz.

And I get it. You’re supposed to go after what you want. You are not supposed to be paralyzed by fear or feel like you don’t deserve good things in your life.

But what if you just don’t know what your passion is?

Like. I really love eating icecream, but somehow that doesn’t translate to being a passion. I also really love reading fiction. I love shopping for clothes. I love browsing etsy for cute stuff. I love tumbling through tumblr and seeing the beauty of the world from the comfort of my own bed.

But none of these things qualify as being my Passion – with capital P.

So what am I supposed to do?

There are countless posts out there for how to achieve your goals. There are people out there who will give you tools for how to become more productive, how to overcome your tendency to procrastinate, how to network your way to your goals and so on and so forth.

They all seem to take for granted that you have a goal. And I feel like a failure because I can’t even manage to define what my passion is. It’s this first step on a thousand mile journey and I can’t even do that.

I’ve failed before I’ve even begun.

This is depressing.

I googled “how to find your passion in life” and 9,350,000 results appeared. So at least I’m not alone in this quest.

The top three results were about ‘finding’ your passion, insinuating that it was just a matter of uncovering this thing that already exist within.

So apparently there is a passion somewhere inside of me, waiting to burst out, like some sort of alien, and show me the light.

I don’t buy this line of thought. There isn’t a premade passion inside of me just waiting to blossom. If that was the case, then if would have appeared by now. I’ve listened to myself. I’ve asked myself the ‘tough questions’. I’ve brainstormed. But still, nothing.

This view of Passion with a capital P is also limiting in my view, because it implies that you have a ‘true passion’ out there. The implication of this is that anything else you do is false, and most likely a waste of time.

I don’t like dichotomies like that. I don’t like splitting the world up in a ‘right’ way to live (where you follow your capital P Passion) and a wrong way (where you’re complacent and/or blocked).

I’m not blocked.

I just don’t have a freaking passion. That doesn’t mean that I’m broken.

It just means that I’m a bit confused. And that I’m working on figuring my life out.

And I don’t need these condescending articles telling me that it’s just a matter of asking the right questions in order to discover this Passion that exist within me.

Anyway. One of the articles had the point that passion isn’t something that you are born with – it’s something that you cultivate, and nurse into existence.

Based off that logic, the author of the article created this formula:

(curiosity + engagement) x time = passion

The article explains the formula rather nicely. Basically you need an area you are curios about, you need to let yourself explore this area, preferably with people who also find this subject interesting. And then you need to devote yourself to it over time. 5 minutes isn’t enough.

I like that it takes a more pragmatic stance on this weird passion-thingy.

It takes some of the pressure of to just focus on an area where I feel a sense of curiosity. It doesn't have to be my passion. It's just something I'd like to know more about.

So that would be my advice to you guys. Forget about following your passion. Forget about finding your purpose in life.

Just find something that you are curious about. It doesn't matter what it is. It could be silly. It could be something you think is completely useless. It could be totally impractical. It doesn't matter.

If you like, tell me in the comments something you're curious about. If you find it interesting, somebody else probably does as well. Maybe even me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pies and Crumbles – Or How to Live a Lie

So I tried to make my words into actions.

I tried to convince myself this week that I was a pie-making enthusiast. That would be the lie that I was gonna live.

I imagined it would be fun tinkering with cake recipes, making magic in the kitchen. I love the smell of a cake in the oven and I love eating cake. So I thought it would be a fun lie to live for a little while at least.

I decided I wanted to bake an apple pie. It’s fall after all and I’d been wanting a slice of warm apple pie for weeks.

Then I realized I don’t have a stick to roll out dough, making it extremely difficult to make a pie crust. I usually use empty bottles, but I didn’t even have that.

So I began to look for recipes that wouldn't necessitate such equipment. I settled on baking an Apple Crumble. This recipe.

After I had added the ingredients for the crumble together I realized it was for twice as much apple as I actually had.

And as I began to cut up the apples and prepare them with cinnamon and sugar, I realized I’d used all the sugar in the crumble and forgotten that ½ cup of it was supposed to be mixed with the apples.

I felt like such an idiot for not even being able to follow a set of simple instructions.

Then came the actual creation of the Apple Crumble. Of course, there was way too much crumble compared to apples, but I just piled on what could fit, stuck it in the oven and hoped for the best.

The result? A nice Apple Crumble – a bit on the sweet side. And an extra bowl of crumble that I decided to make cookies out of a few days later.

All in all? A success. But it was a frustrating process, and I certainly didn’t feel like a success afterward.

I also don’t think that I’ll be trying to live that lie anymore. Yes, I like to bake, but I fumble along when I do it.

Like I do with everything else in life, apparently.

But I had yummy Apple Crumble to keep me company for a few days, which was nice.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What lie do you want to live?

I watched Sabrina the other night. It’s was the 1995 version with Harrison Ford. The old one with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn is much better, but sometimes you deliberately do things that might seem out of character (like watching a remake when you know the original is way better) just to see what happens.

The movie is so unremarkable that it was hard finding a picture that captured the essence of the plot.So I settled for this because of the bikes. I love bikes.

I’ve been watching a lot of romantic films lately. I don’t know what that tells you about me. I think maybe I’m looking for answers. What the question is I’m not quite sure though. I think I’m searching for that too.

Even though this version of Sabrina is pretty forgettable, one part of it stuck with me.

It was when Linus Larrabee (played by Harrison Ford) confesses his true love for Sabrina (played by Julia Ormond). He explains that his love for her started as a lie, which grew into a dream, and now he was standing there hoping against hope for the dream to turn into reality.

I remember when I was a kid and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would tell them all sorts of things. I tried to be consistent, but to be honest I had no clue what I wanted to be.

I quickly learned that wasn’t an appropriate answer.

So I started to get creative.

I told them I wanted to become an archaeologist (after having watched Indiana Jones). I told them I wanted to become a writer (I love books). I told them I wanted to become a journalist (the more respectable version of a writer). I told them I wanted to become a lawyer (I blame Ally McBeal).

Now at the time I didn’t think of these stories as lies. But looking back I see that they were.

As we get older we’re told to be reasonable. To only take calculated risks. To not live with our heads in the clouds anymore. And I guess we’re told these things with the best of intentions. But why aren’t we allowed to be dreamers anymore?

It happened gradually, but the result was not to be mistaken: Playing pretend – or lying – became something you weren’t supposed to do anymore.

As an adult it’s expected that you have it all figured out – or at least pretend that you do. Somehow that lie is still accepted.

I don’t know what I want my life to become. I don’t know what I want to achieve. But maybe I can start with just telling myself a few lies. Just to see how they match the color of my eyes. And maybe one of these lies will stand out. I’ll think about it more than the others, imagining it in more and more details. Until it’s no longer a lie, but a dream – a goal.

Sometimes it’s necessary to deliberately tell yourself something that you know is not true, just to see how it fits. How else do you grow?

I don’t know if that’s how you’re supposed to do it.

I don’t even know who the lie is for – the one you’re telling it to? Or yourself? I suspect the latter.

So ok.

For the next week I will live a lie. Why not?

It shouldn’t feel too different from what I’m doing now.

If you could play pretend and live a lie - what would your lie be?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Advice for when you are lost in life

It’s been a while. Sorry. Life just always seems to get in the way of actually posting my thoughts here. Plus I think to myself, who evens cares?

But whatever. So I’ll talk into a void. I’ll rant. I’ll whisper. On rare occasions I’ll even scream.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this summer. I’ve been trying to find a purpose now that I’m no longer a student but a ‘real’ and ‘proper’ adult.

And my use of those quote thingies merit the use of this gif:

What can I say, I’m a sucker for socially handicapped angels in trenchcoats.

I’d love to say I’ve found the answers. That I know what the purpose of my life is to be.

I haven’t.

Apparently these things take time.

But I will tell you what I’ve done and maybe you’ll find that helpful too.

Listen to yourself

That little voice in your head that keeps blabbering on about how tired you are, and how life would be better if you were better, and how you haven’t gotten far at all?

You need to pay attention to it.

I know it’s a lot more comfortable to just sit on the internet and browse or to lean back and watch Netflix. I don’t want to seem like a saint here. In the past month I’ve seen the entire series of Breakout Kings (it’s not even that good – I just couldn’t stop), the first season of Modern Family (this is actually really good though), countless movies (mostly romantic comedies or action movies I’ve seen before and love), and then an assortment of episodes of series I started but didn’t have the attention span to finish (this include shows I know are great but just didn’t struck a chord – The Wire and Orange is the New Black).

(geees - I watch a lot of shows)


You can’t ignore that voice forever. You might as well just pay attention to it and listen to what it has to say.

Be kind to yourself

This is an important one. Because that voice in your head? If it’s anything like the voice in my head, then it’s a fucking manipulative bitch. My voice is always disappointed in me, and nothing I do is ever good enough. It’s actually horrible to be in my head sometimes.

And that is why you have to be kind to yourself.

I like to do a simple test to see if what I’m filling my head with lives up to the criteria of being kind to myself: The things that are going through my head – would I talk like that to any of my friends?

Usually the answer is no, and then I know that I’m being too hard on myself.

Maybe the voices in your head are nice. My aren’t. Allow me to demonstrate:

“Oh god, so you’re writing another blogpost – what exactly are you hoping to achieve? Like anybody will read it. Or worse – someone you know will read it and fucking ridicule you. Or pity you. Because you are pathetic. Why even try to give advice? You don’t even know. So why are you acting like you got your shit together? Wouldn’t it be more productive to go home and vacuum? Which you btw haven’t done for like 3 weeks.”

And so it goes. Relentlessly. Constantly.

I would never talk to a friend like that. I would never allow any of my friends to talk to me in that manner either. It’s counterproductive and just plain mean.

And so, whenever I become conscious of my thoughts turning negative, I remind myself that it’s not ok to talk to myself like that. It’s not that I start to argue about the validity of the claims of my thoughts. They may very well be true (they certainly feel like they are sometimes). But regardless – I don’t have to listen to assholes talking to me. Even when that asshole is me.

So I stop . Take a deep breath. And tell myself to be kind to myself.

Now, being kind to oneself is not a free pass to do whatever you please. You still need to not watch Netflix all the time. You still need to get up early and get to work. You still can’t eat icecream for dinner (aaaahh who am I kidding – you can always eat icecream for dinner).

You still need to do all the boring adult stuff that comes with having adult responsibilities.

You just have to be kind to yourself while doing it.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again (and these lines are why this song [happy as is it] sometimes brings me to tears).

Talk until you’re blue in the face

What also helps me to squash my evil inner monologue of dreadful things is to voice these stupid thoughts to other people. Sometimes your inner voice will be very persistent in claiming certain things as truth. Sometimes it will even sound reasonable. Maybe it’s telling you that you’re underachieving because now that you’ve got a full time job, you’re not pursuing your other interests. I voiced this thought to my sister and she thought I was being too hard on myself. I’ve got a 50-60 hour work week. It’s a demanding job. And I do still pursue other interests, she pointed out. I am doing regular exercise (3-4 times a week) in order to get in shape for a race I signed up for. I am seeing my friends. My family. Heck I even read a book for fun once in a while.

So this thing that my inner voice told me that at the time seemed to be the truth, turned out not to be.

Sometimes you have to talk to other people about what you think. And then listen to how they respond.

Which brings me to the next point.

Listen to others

Listen to what people tell you. Don’t necessarily treat their version of reality as the correct one, but at least hear them out.

But more than that – try to ask them the question you yourself are wrestling with and learn how they dealt with them.

You can do this with all sorts of people – it doesn’t have to be your closest friends.

I’ve talked a lot with my sister about these feelings of inadequacies I’ve had. Just voicing them out loud made most of them appear silly.

I’ve talked to my friends of about feeling lost in life ever since I graduated. I asked them about whether they ever felt the same and how they dealt with it. And I found that most of them are still dealing with it. Every day. Trying to figure out their own purpose. And even though they didn’t have any answers it helped me. Just knowing I wasn’t alone is a comfort.

I’ve talked to colleagues about making ends meet and still finding time for other activities in life than work. They struggle as well. What seems to be working for them is to compartmentalize their life. It’s a skill I haven’t learned yet and to be honest I don’t know if I want to.

Don’t give up

This is where I’m at now. I’ve listened. I’m being kind. I’ve talked. And I’ve listened some more. I still haven’t figured out what my purpose is. But at least right now, I feel like I’m growing.

I don’t know what else to tell you.

So just, keep on rocking on. And let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for how to get 'unlost'.

On a final note - Alice in Wonderland is just filled with wonderful quotes. The dialogue between Alice and the Cheshire Cat below helped me through some rough patches.

If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. And there's some strange comfort in that.

So keep walking on the road of life. Keep on being kind to yourself and to others. And keep on listening and looking at the world in wonder until you find a road you like more than the one you are on.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Forget Your Troubles, mkay?

I’ve decided that my mood is random as fuck. Today I woke up angry at the world, hating everything in it, including myself. I thought I’d feel better after I got my morning exercise done. I didn’t. I thought I’d feel better after the shower. I didn’t. I thought I’d feel better after breakfast. I didn’t.

At this point I contemplated drinking coffee with no milk in it just because I wanted to make myself suffer.* The twisted logic was that since I was angry at the world, I might as well have something proper to be upset about.

I chickened out though and didn’t do it. Even in my hatred of the world I recognized that it would not make sense to add to the suckiness of it all by drinking unpleasant things.

I don’t know how, but sometime during the day, my mood got better. It seemed to happen without me noticing?

It’s like I’m a three year old kid crying because I just dropped my icecream cone. Show me a pretty picture or give me a swing-around and I’ll forget it all.

Is it really that easy?

I really love this version of the song. Who doesn't love a high-top-hat wearing House singing a song?

It reminds me of how in a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Ford explains that the secret to flying is to simply forget that you are falling. The hard part is to do that while you are hurling towards the earth at great speed.

Is the secret to happiness simply to forget to be sad?

It sounds too simple.

I have this tendency to overthink everything, though, so who knows.

I’ve always liked the Vlogbrothers and their slogan: Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. It kind of goes in the same vein of how your default state is positive. We were always meant to be awesome. Sometimes we just forget.

And rather than obsess about it, thinking of how you need to be a better version of yourself, and how you need to fix all your problems, maybe you just need to chill the fuck out?

I know I do.

Namaste motherfuckers.

*To those of you who prefer your coffee black – I mean no disrespect. I can appreciate that we don’t all like the same things. I just absolutely hate coffee with no milk in it. It’s too bitter and it just doesn’t sit well in my stomach. And it stains your teeth more than if you add milk. Maybe one day I’ll be adult enough to actually enjoy a cup of steaming black tar, but for now I prefer it with milk.