Lately, I’ve been living by this mantra:
“The mind is so strong.”
A big dream recently came true for me. Over the next six years, I will be pursuing higher academic endeavors, and be paid to do so, filling my little brain with bigger and bigger things. In response to such huge news, I’ve been thinking about my experience on this rock and all the little things I’ve learned so far. I’d like to share some.
The mind is so strong.
I’ve learned that your personal life is largely uninteresting unless it can be A) related to by means of past experiences or B) related to by means of future experiences. This is something that is widely misunderstood in the stuff we share on the web. I don’t mean to be a nihilist, but most of the things that we consider important are simply not. The sooner you recognize this, the more interesting you become. My rule of thumb: share what you make, including happiness, not what you do.
There is a difference.
I’ve learned that entropy is essentially the trajectory of existence. What I mean is: everything over time becomes completely more and more bonkers. I’m infatuated with this idea.
To understand it, think of a piano: keys, wood, paint, chords, the works. A piano possesses a low amount of entropy because it is highly specific in its order. In other words, there is only one combination of all those ingredients that make a piano.
If you put that piano through a wood chipper, the instrument effectively becomes a mess of splinters and ripped ivories. Its entropy is massive; the piano becomes chaos. And you cannot simply reverse this action: sending the pile of shit back through the wood chipper will not produce a piano, ever.
Our lives begin as baby grands. Our lives end as a million chunks of “what the fuck just happened?”
In between: the mind is so strong!
I’ve learned that you will suffer waiting for an apology,
that you can successfully live, seemingly eternally, in someone else’s past,
that some folks are simply uninterested in being nice to you,
and that all three of these things are out of your control.
I’ve learned that it’s much easier to whine loudly about the things you dislike than it is to be public about the things you love. In other words, it’s safer to tweet and talk shit about the people at your school, or bitch about finals, or generally complain about anything at all, because mutual lamentation is inevitable and celebrated (apparently). But remember: you always have a choice to share happiness and the power to make others smile. Why flood the aether with grunts and moans? Are you creating or destroying?
I’ve learned that a future relationship with my father is largely up to me and I don’t know how to handle that at all.
I’ve learned that creators never die and consumers never live.
I’ve learned that good sex takes shameless confidence and a childish sense of humor.
I’ve learned that loving somebody does not make them a good person. This is difficult to recognize and even harder to defend, but time always tells. In the end, it’s okay to love them anyway, but oftentimes should be done from afar.
And spring-boarding, I’ve learned that I’ll always love some folks regardless. Always.
The mind is so strong.
I’ve learned that running and reading are mostly the same: an exercise in imagination and endurance. A Vonnegut novel is a few mile jog and David Foster Wallace wrote a marathon. In the end, your mind decides how far you go.
I’ve learned that sweet peppers are marvelous snacks.
I’ve learned that you become who you listen to. This is an important lesson, since I think we’re quite innocently unconscious as to whom we choose as mentors. The Italian proverb “he who goes with the cripple learns to limp” pays testament to that. Who are you listening to? Who do you worship? You are their mirror.
I’ve learned that it takes a great deal of effort to be good at something you hate. Inversely, it’s easy to be good at something when you love it. So love it.
I’ve learned that I’m mostly wrong and too young to be wise, so take all this with a grain of salt. I don’t write to teach or preach or pretend to know anything. To quote the Dude: “that’s just like, your opinion, man.” I just write because I love it and I love it and I love it.
I’ve learned that everything is pushing you towards mediocrity; that nothing wants you to be great. Television sells comfort and shortcuts to instant gratification, but nobody is encouraging you to read a book or run for president. Your boss does not want you to be better than him. I’ve learned that the successful ones are the disciplined, and the rest are the distracted.
Finally, I’ve learned that the mind is so strong. What I mean is, you can learn anything you want, and there is so much to know. You’ll live your whole life learning things all the time. That is special, I think, and worth it. I like the ones that see knowledge as an infinite and insatiable frontier. I like the ones who recognize that you become your thoughts.
I’ll be moving soon, and I’m sure I’ll learn some more about cereal and milk and love and death and why we act the way we do. For now, though, I’ll be here, living out some tunes on this baby grand.
The mind is so strong.