Last night I introduced my girlfriend to The Unicorn Cowboy, a video I made almost a year ago about how to be the Unicorn Cowboy. Or Cowgirl.
Live the dream.
As I watched myself in that video, I could hardly believe that was me. I recognized myself, and, in a way, I didn't. That was me, close to 50 pounds ago. I didn't quite realize the change that was happening to my body when I began a lifestyle of health and fitness. Self-perception is so utterly skewed. I'm starting to wonder whether anyone really knows oneself at all, or whether we're prisoners to our own emotions and desires and fears, all of which cloud both our thinking and our vision. I feel as though I've come to understand myself better these past few years than I ever have before: what I value, what makes me happy, what I need to consider my life fulfilling. I didn't learn any of this through studying or by having grand epiphanies or solving any complex riddles. I learned through failure. Repeated failure. Stumbling and falling down flat on my face failure.
I broke my nose by literally falling flat on my face when I was a child. Since then I've only had one working nostril. When I was a smoker I'd show people this by blowing smoke through my nose, and it would all come out of only my right nostril. Seems like a goofy yet appropriate metaphor for my life so far. I feel the ripples in the pond of past rocks thrown. I experience the ongoing effects of events of yesterday. I realize that, for all my self-discovery, I understand so very little. I have a plan, yet still I feel like a wandering soul in search of something so elusive that I don't even know what it is I want. I feel smart, but so ignorant. I'm healthy, but broken. Seems fitting here that I cue up "Hand in My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette.
"I'm high but I'm grounded
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed
I'm lost but I'm hopeful, baby...
And what it all comes down to
is that everything's gonna be quite all right.
'cause I've got one hand in my pocket,
and the other one is flicking a cigarette."
"And what it all comes down to is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet..." Certain songs lyrics can serve as a recurring theme for my life. And since I'm making a reference to something from the 90s, here's a picture of me as a teenager in 1992 that an old friend of mine posted today on Facebook:
Not that guy from "Boy Meets World."
That's me at 17 years of age. The young man in this picture had no idea what the future had in store for him. There's no way he could have guessed or deduced the events of his future, and if he somehow had, I'm sure he'd be pretty pissed off at me for a lot of it.
A few things might have scared him, too, considering that this picture was taken during a week of summer church camp. The kid in this picture would go on to become a Bible college graduate and an ordained minister - and in the process come to realize that he's an agnostic, which would send him down a completely unexpected path in life.
"Confessions of a Heretic" has been the tag line for my blog since the very first post. According to Wikipedia, the term heresy - from the Greek αἵρεσις - originally meant "choice" or "thing chosen", but it came to mean the "party or school of a man's choice" and also referred to that process whereby a young person would examine various philosophies to determine how to live.
Sounded a lot like freethought to me, and considering how I was questioning the orthodoxy and status quo of my particular faith system, and veering off the path of accepted theology, the "heretic" label felt right.
It still feels right, but as I have progressed on this journey, I feel my focus needs to be less on the past (though never forgetting my roots) and the exodus from faith and more on the present and future, my focus on life now. With that in mind, I created a new blog: Life Garage. I have no plans or desire to shut down Dead-Logic, but my focus lately has been on my mental and physical health, wellness, and bettering my life. This is, I think, due to my being a little bit higher up on Maslow's pyramid than I've been in several years. I have more joy now than I ever have had in my adult life, and feel more positive than I've felt since... ever. My focus has been on harnessing that positive energy and making the most of this one life I have.
The biggest difference between that 17 year old and this 39 year old is that I've lived just long enough to realize that life is precious, and it doesn't last forever. I'm also old enough to know that I don't have all the answers. I spent my teenage years and most of my 20s thinking I was immortal, invincible, and incapable of intellectual inaccuracy. Now I no longer ignore my ignorance, incompetence, and incompleteness. That's why it's a life garage: a place to go for a tune-up or to get some work done under the hood. I can't be perfect, but I know now that I don't need to be. I don't know what special purpose my life has how I should answer the question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" I don't think I can. And that's okay. It's a kind of freedom, really. I can explore my options. I get to tinker in the garage.
"And what it all comes down to
is that everything's gonna be quite all right."