How’s the hangover?
Writing this is the end to a long hiatus in which I gave up social media and starting working on some bigger projects, namely a novel. I’d like to think this two month freedom I’ve had from social media has given me a new perspective on life—not to mention the continuing formation of my beliefs and interests that has occurred with my nearly obsessive consumption of non-fiction. Theodore Dalrymple, Peter Kreeft, William Strunk, and even Stephen King have all kept me company.
I started to read a little more fiction as well, starting to get a feel for the sci-fi markets out there at present for when I start trying to get some more of my stuff published. I recommend the Daily Science Fiction Magazine. It’s delightful. Although I was upset not to see my story yet published in Em Dash Literary Magazine, this because their autumn issue has continually been pushed back, I was overjoyed upon my return to twitter to find out that yes, they are still going through with it.
But enough of this, I want to talk about you. Yes you. Today is January 1st, and that can only mean one thing. It means you’re probably spending the day off nursing a headache while you read various articles from the net, hoping for inspiration to live a new life, a push to be a better version of yourself. After all, 2013 wasn’t your best year was it? All that junk you ate? All that time you wasted? That one horrendous thing you did that nobody knows about and you can’t stop feeling guilty over every time you look in the mirror and how it keeps you up at night?
… Just me?
The point is, surely you can do better than you’ve been doing. 2013 has been consumed like a satisfying but empty chili dog. It tasted alright when you first bit into it, and the sauce was saucy and the beans were beany, but now you’re scared that 2014 is going to be a series of unfortunate bouts of diarrhea. After all, our past impacts the future, doesn’t it? Are you doomed to spend 2014 on the shitter like a poor moaning soul with C. Diff?
In short: no. In slightly longer: people have freewill, and you have the freedom to do better.
Think about it.
I could spend a lot of time talking about freedom but I don’t think it would do any good. Suffice to say that if you do not recognize your own ability to choose, innately and without reservation, I wouldn’t trust you to recognize the difference between a slap on the cheek and a kiss on the mouth. You commit yourself to slavery to deny your own freedom—you freely sell yourself away to victim status. Victim is a legal term and it has it’s uses, but it is a dangerous one to associate yourself with in real life. Victims do not have freedom to choose, victims are chosen for. Victims are not active, they are passive.
I once received these wise words from a small-town Catholic priest:
“We are not victims in this universe, we are choosers.”
Is it a controversial thing to say? Perhaps for those sissified among us who are so used to playing the victim. They want everyone to stoop to their level and say, “You’re right. You play no part in the outcome of your life. Everyone is a meany and you’re so special.” A good father never does this, let alone a good friend. A good friend slaps you on the back and says, “Now that you’re done whining, let’s go have a beer.”
The world hasn’t changed from 2013 to 2014–it isn’t a new thing. There will still be wars, politics, gossip and Hollywood remakes. There will still be that neighbor of yours who shovels the snow onto your side of the lawn. There will still be that nagging urge at the back of your head that you need to be better, that you ought to exercise more, that you should do more creative stuff, that you should keep up with your friends a little better, that you should forgive your parents for the mistakes they made when you were a child. They only thing that will be different in 2014 is you. You are not a couch cushion, waiting for the finest ass to sit on you and give you some purpose. You are a stalwart adventurer, navigating the world like its a stormy sea.
So go ahead.
Set sail and shut up.