“All real living hurts as well as fulfils. Happiness comes when we have lived and have a respite for sheer forgetting. Happiness, in the vulgar sense, is just a holiday experience. The life-long happiness lies in being used by life, hurt by life, driven by life and goaded by life, replenished and overjoyed with life, fighting for life’s sake. That is real happiness. In the undergoing, a large part of it is pain.”D.H Lawrence, The Boy in the Bush
“If you can approach your daily life in this way for a while – as a sequence of momentary, self-contained, eminently doable actions, rather than as an arduous matter of chipping away at enormous challenges – you might notice something profound, which is that, in fact, this is all you ever need to do. You can make your way through life exclusively in this manner. (As E. L. Doctorow said of writing, it’s “like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”) And not just that: actually, it’s all you ever could do. There is no achievement, in the history of human civilisation, that has ever been accomplished by any means other than as a sequence of doable actions.
In the end, it isn’t really a question of “breaking big projects down into small chunks.” It’s more a matter of seeing that “big projects” are nothing but psychological constructs, quasi-illusory entities summoned into existence by taking a particular view of what our lives really consist of – which is moments, and the actions that unfold in them.”Oliver Burkeman, The Imperfectionist (“How to get out of a rut”)
“Love hits people over the head when they are not looking for it, and the same can be said for epiphanies and enlightenments. We fall into them. An opening appears in regular life, and what follows doesn’t necessarily fit in regular life. That opening changes your frame of reference and then, well, anything might happen … You might assume that the implication is that you have to marry and have children and stay together for the rest of your life. That might be so, but it might not; love isn’t dependent on outcomes. You might notice that love is what really counts in life and that could mean you get a different job, spend more time with friends, forget about being famous, come out as gay, or shave your head and go into a long retreat. Both love and enlightenment are in favor of whatever welcomes more life.”John Tarrant Roshi, Let Me Count The Ways
Last night I watched Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round, a story of four friends languishing in middle age who decide to test a theory that humans are born with an alcohol deficiency of 0.05% by drinking everyday. The story closes with a quote from Denmark’s own, Soren Kierkegaard that I think articulates the need for us all, no matter our age, to take a risk:
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
I think sometimes we feel the itch to dare but for fear of the unknown we play it safe and it’s then we start to, as Kierkegaard put it, lose ourselves.
Quit your job. Ask someone out. Move to another country.
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life[.]”C.S. Lewis
I was thinking the other day how easy it is to disown my problems just because they’re inconvenient and act as though my ‘real life’ is waiting for me over there once I deal with these problems as quickly as possible. But, seeing as though life is never going to stop giving me problems, when you add it all up, that’s a lot of time waiting for my ‘real life’.