Bane is Not so Much a Bane After All
So I was flipping through a massage-supplies magazine last night, and (as some of you know) it got me thinking about Bane of My Existence.* And I realized how much I really fucking miss the dude.
(This post is going to be rather fragmented, but bear with me if you will. And if you won't, well then: suck it.)
Anyways, all uber-ridiculous post-pubescent crushes aside (and believe me, I'd had many many sex-fantasties about the dude**), I really really adored BoME. I hated him SO MUCH when I first started school (as in, my body would physically burn with anger having to sit through one of his classes). But by the end of my stint there, I realized he was hand's down THE best teacher I'd had in all 8 years of my post-high school education.
The dude was fucking WICKED smart. Like scarily wicked smart. And as I was reminiscing about him last night, I realized why I adored him so much, and why he was such an AMAZING fucking instructor. And it's that he was SO IN LOVE with what he was teaching.
Fart Fart Plop Plop. How very Dead Poet's Society, I know.
But I don't mean "in love" in just some generified sense of "let's stand up on a desk and make our students want to fuck Walt Whitman."
He was in love with what he was teaching in such a way that, really, I think he taught not because he wanted US to fall in love with these things as well but because he just wanted and needed to shout to the world, Oh my god can you believe all this?!? Kind of like when you're reading a book, and you stumble across some amazing fact, and you just can't NOT text or call like five different people just to say, Oh my god: listen to this.
I wish you could've seen him teach: The way his eyes lit up and the way he'd get gripped by this child-like enthusiasm whenever he was imparting upon us a particularly fascinating tidbit about something physiology-related.
His teaching came across as an inability to contain his amazement with all things anatomy and physiology. And really: I don't think he cared whether or not he got us to feel as enthusiastic about these things as he did. He just needed to shout to the world about them because it would've destroyed him to know such amazing and awesome things and to just sit there quietly.
And really: it is a powerful thing to bear witness to such love.
THAT is why I adored the man so much.
This in turn got me thinking about the fact that I also really really adored the two years I spent studying massage therapy, moreso than any of the other studying I've done. (If you were a regular reader of ye ol' massage blog, I'm sure you already realize this.***) And although some of it had to do with what I was learning (A&P rocks out), I also think a lot of it had to do with the challenge itself. English & philosophy: I can sort of cake-walk it, bullshit my way through things if need be. But there's no way to fake A&P knowledge. You either know it or you don't. And I didn't. But I had to learn. And I really loved the challenge of that. When I'm learning something new, when I'm fucking gnashing my teeth into amazing information, I feel the same enthusiasm I felt emanating from BoME. I think I would be happy just taking endless classes for the rest of my life for this reason. I love the stimulation that comes with a good challenge. And I don't find that in other places.
This in turn got the whole "what the fuck do I want to be doing with my life" question rolling, and it of course took me forever to fall asleep in the face of this.
In the past few months, I've been gripped with a certain sense of panic about what I'm doing with my life. Much of this is a good thing. We should find ourselves questioning these things so we don't stay static. My life is undergoing huge changes right now (namely the fact that in about 6 months, I will be without a job and facing a new future that I must pound out for myself), and that's part of the reason for the questioning.
But some of the panicked questioning was not so good, and these were the moments in which my questioning came from being confronted with criticisms about what I value in life and about whether I am, in fact, doing nothing useful and wasting my precious time here on this planet. (And in retrospect, I can say that at least I'm not wasting my time sitting around judging and criticizing what other people choose to value and how they choose to live their lives. THAT is for sure a waste of our precious time.)
The truth of the matter is: I have no fucking clue what I want to be doing with my life. OTHER THAN the fact that I know I want to squeak happiness out of every square inch of it and I want it to be brimming with love.
I was watching House the other night, and (as always) there was a patient dying of a mysterious disease, and one of the doctors said to her (and we all know if someone on tv said it, it's GOT to be worth repeating): "I always worry on my deathbed I'll think: I didn't do anything really important." And her response was: "You're going to spend one day of your life on your deathbed. The other 25,000 are the ones we should be worrying about. Go to bed happy tonight."
Seriously though: I can think of no truer words. I may perhaps spend the last 3-, 24-, 48-, 297-hours of my life wondering if I should've done this, why did I do that, did I do things correctly, etc. (Or--even worse--death may just sneak up and blindside me.) But those are a mere 3-, 24-, 48-, 297-hours of self-doubt in the face of so many hours of actual amazing glorious living. And I want those living hours to be as chock full of happiness and love as possible. It doesn't matter in what form. It can be the love and glee of seeing a hummingbird regularly appear on my roof every night. It can be the enjoyment of getting a thrifted waffle-maker. It can be a deep and complex love of something I'm reading. It can be the bliss of creating.
Who cares what the source of the
Really, even if it's sitting in front of a television for the next 37 years of your life, if it makes you happy, WHO THE FUCK CARES?
It's your life. You'll be the ultimate judge of whether or not you felt it was a good one. If you're concerned about whether other folks are going to deem it a valuable one, YOU SURE AS SHIT AREN'T GOING TO BE WORRIED ABOUT IT ONCE YOU ARE NO LONGER HERE TO THINK ABOUT IT. So all there is is you.
I sometimes find myself wanting to argue that I need to be doing something bigger, that I need to be leaving some sort of legacy behind or that I need to be out there teaching other people The Way. And maybe I WILL do some of these things. But really: if I'm doing them just 'cause it's something I feel like I'm supposed to be doing and I don't feel love in doing them, WHAT GOOD ARE THEY? And really, if you're doing these things begrudgingly and aren't happy in your doing of them, you're not doing anyone else any good either.
You do things because you love doing them in the moment and because they're making you happy NOW. If you're always doing them for just some "down the road" sense of fulfillment or acknowledgment, what if that never comes? If you're saying, "Well, this sucks right now and I'm not enjoying it at all, but the reward is that in 5 or 10 years, perhaps someone will notice this and then I can finally feel that happiness I was hoping for," what if that never happens? Or what if you're not around when it does? THIS is why you need to love things in the moment and be happy NOW.
I don't mean to discount the value in doing things for the larger picture or the greater good. Because there is indeed value to this. And I know all this is oversimplification, and perhaps a week from now I'll find myself rolling my eyes at everything I just said. [Even now, I'm realizing I want to go back and replace most every instance of "happiness" with "love." So perhaps I will.****]
But really, even so: There is one thing I know for certain, and it's that I want my life to be filled with the same electricity, uncontrollable enthusiasm, joy, and love I saw in BoME on a regular basis. I don't give a shit where it's coming from as long as it's there.
Fucking negativity be damned. Fucking judgment be damned. Fucking criticism be damned.
Fucking waste of time is what all that is.
Do what you do because it makes you happy and because it fills your life with love. And do it because it's doing so for you RIGHT GODDAMN NOW.
And if you're unhappy with what you are choosing to value right now, maybe you should be questioning why.
And now I need to go track down BoME and finally make sweet sweet brilliant-headed love to him. I suspect he won't object.
* For those of you behind the times, Bane of My Existence was one of my instructors when I was studying massage therapy a year+ ago.
** Many many many.
*** Sadly, I allowed the blog to dwindle out with no posts about the culmination of all my studies. This is I still sort of regret. But ah well.
**** The reason for this change: "Happiness" seems to be more passive. "Love" seems to be more active. "Happiness" is the appreciation of, whereas "Love" is more engaged in the making. I want to actively be amazed and joyous in all the things I do and see. (But also appreciative too, I guess.)