There’s an elusive answer with your name on it. You conduct an almost rabid search for it. In books, experiences, travel, music, money, and mountains. Along the way, you join a cult. Or, better, you start one. You will do whatever it takes to find out the answer to the mysterious quirk that is your existence.
What unites us all in this search is a simplistic, shallow and socially-shit-headed belief that other people, people we deem successful through the above-described belief process, have the answer.
And they all feel obligated to dispense what, in retrospect, has worked for them. A common counsel now is you must hustle your way to the top — SG; DMS: Sounds good; Doesn’t mean shit — the summary of most motivational advice.
You never bothered looking here, did you, you sad panda of over-glorification. Anyway, I forgive you, and here you go.
Get some exercise. A lot of sleep. Eat moderately. Say, like, hello to your fellow humans when you see them. Forgive the assoles. Try to not be one yourself. And you know the whole spiel about killing and stealing — don’t do it. That’s it. Go fly a kite.
You don’t want to hear the answer. No answer is good enough for you because you are addicted to searching, waiting.
Writing offers a good parallel. For centuries, writers have been asked, “what is your advice to write well?” And for centuries they have said the same (frustrating) thing: read; and, like duh, write. I have spent many hours trying to figure out the answer to that question as a way to avoid, you know, writing.
Much like living.
The best advice is one where you already know what to do. The best advice serves as a reminder.
And while we are at it, here’s one more.
If you aren’t enjoying your work (for which, you are the cause), and if you think you can’t do anything about it any longer, here’s what you do: Leave. Don’t dial some successful shipwreck who worked the same job for 40 years to ask for advice. You are better off asking a kid because (s)he’s still full of life. I only told you what the kid would tell you. Here’s the only career advice you need: You are never going to starve to death. And please indulge me in some SG;DMS here: even if you do, it’s better than starving for life.
Sometimes, the collective intelligentsia that is us needs reminding of these reminders. There’s no meaning to your life as a whole. There’s meaning to the small things you do every day, the things that make up your life.
And not all of it will have meaning. Life is a summation and together there’s parts to your life that have meaning (family, music, coitus) and there are parts that seem thoroughly meaningless (family, music, coitus). As a whole, that is the most obvious constitution of love.
There is a meaning to your life, it’s just not equally divided. People who find what they love just ensure their life scale tips toward deriving meaning out of the simplest, most obvious things. Their life is not a sophisticated self-improvement exercise. It’s the simplest change. It’s not a search. It’s a find.