30

I’m 30 now, the age I was always meant to be. This seems like a good time to write a post with some subheads of conclusions I’ve reached in three decades. Luckily, I have subheads AND conclusions, though I reserve the right to modify both.

1. The work is its own reward.

For me, “the work” is writing. (Also sometimes photography, and frequently video editing, but in this particular instance, I’m mostly talking about writing.) For you, it might be something else. Woodworking, perhaps. Or design. Or maybe it’s writing. Regardless, in any creative endeavor, it’s easy to get caught up in the end result.

What will I do with this?

Will anyone buy this?

Will I ever finish this?

For me, these thoughts have been often prevalent. What’s the point of it all, anyway? Money? Acknowledgement? Surely the work must have a concrete, tangible, validating end result to make it worthwhile, yes?

Through a fair amount of seeking, I’ve found the answer to be, “not really.” These things are nice, yes, and we need the occasional sprinkling of them to keep motivation (I do, anyway). But the truth is, the real reward is just the work itself. Not even the final product, but just the work. The process of sitting down to write, or firing up the space heater in the garage and getting into a hunk of pine (or ash? Oak? Whatever you people use). The process. The challenge. The act of engaging, of concentrating, of working through it. Of consciously tuning out distractions and giving the time to yourself to do your work. This is the gift. The cathartic, unique, independent practice of doing your work. And, when it’s over, of having done the work.

That’s where the reward lies. And, whatever the medium, that’s the reason we started doing it the first place. The purpose is the work, and the work is the purpose.

(For more on this, I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Right up there with any book on craft/process. Motivating, enlightening, and an easy read.)

The One Thing I’ve Read That Actually Explains the Trump Thing

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It’s Not About Red And Blue States–It’s About The Country Vs. The City

I posted this to Facebook, but I’m putting it here, too, because this is by far the best thing I’ve read in attempting to explain how the Donald infiltrated American politics. Kudos to friend of the Lodge Zach Barnett for bringing it to my attention.

How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind. Via Cracked.

Yes. Freaking Cracked. It took the guy from Cracked Magazine to examine this in an honest way. God help us all.

Here’s why it’s good:

Here Are Some of My Least Favorite Phrases

“Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

No shit. Who’s saying it is? I’ve never once thought, “life is kind of a dress rehearsal.”

What’s the analogy here–we’re all just playing dress-up and pretending? No one thinks that. Everyone understands that life is actual, real life. Who are the people out there who think life is a dress rehearsal and need to be told it isn’t? I’ve never met one.

“Life’s hard. Wear a helmet.”

I’ve never understood this one. Again, the allegory is lost on me…is it because hard things can damage your head if they hit it? The hard/helmet thing…is that what’s at work here? Literally or metaphorically, wearing a helmet throughout life does not make sense. Am I dumb for not getting this? Should I have worn my helmet?

“A hot second.”

How long is this, actually? No one’s been able to tell me. How is it different from a normal second? Why is it hot? Please have the bugs work out before introducing your hip phrase into the general population. Beta test or something.

Faith vs. Religion

god-mohawk-cartoon-characterI’ve been on a spiritual journey of late. I’ll spare you all the details—they’re scattered and frankly hard for me to corral—but in the last few years I’ve been trying to reconcile my feeling of connection with a higher power with the seemingly arbitrary (and sometimes hypocritical) boundaries of organized religion. I think we all have that connection, actually; I think a spiritual longing is a deeply embedded part of the human race. It’s part of us, the want for a connection with God. Some call it Christianity, some Islam, some fishing. Even atheism is a form of faith—such a steadfast belief that the only things that exist in the universe are those we can perceive with our limited human senses takes more faith than most religions, in my opinion.

But for years now, I’ve asked myself, “why this religion?” Can it really be that a single set of rules and regulations is the one way, truth, and light, and all others (most of which are shockingly similar at their cores) are flat wrong? What a coincidence it would be that the religion I was born into is the only one that counts. I’m already white and male. I can’t be that lucky.

Bob Ross Thursday (Netflix Edition)

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Yes, friends, I’ve heard the good news. I’ve gotten the texts and tweets and notifications. June 2016 will go down as a milestone month, because the Happy Painter himself, the greatest man to ever grace our television screens, Bob Ross, is finally on Netflix.

This is a tremendous advancement for the cause, and is one more step toward our ultimate goal of having Bob Ross in every American household all the time. And Netflix’s twitter account is pretty hilarious right now—they keep quote tweeting random stuff and adding Bob quotes to it. Kudos, Netflix.

It’s a small step, though, as my sources indicate it’s just twenty-some episodes that are currently available, a paltry fraction of the full Joy of Painting collection. And, of course, us hardcore fans have known where to get our Bob fix all along—since YouTube lifted its restriction a few years ago, nearly the whole series (all 30+ seasons) is readily available there. I’ve been drifting off into quiet wonder on my iPad before bedtime for many moons, as I’m sure you have as well. No matter; the Netflix expansion is a way to reach the masses, and I can’t argue with that. Happy painting, friends.

 

Things That Do Not Impress Me

761. Criticizing Fox News and/or Nickelback.

I understand the negatives. I am aware. We all are. But these two are the lowest of low hanging fruit when it comes to criticism. They are also both filthy damn rich, which means they’re doing something to please someone, somewhere in the world. Let that be, and let’s move on to hunt the next witch.

Yes, one is a sad excuse for a news network, and the other has completely degenerated into the worst of thoughtless radio butt-rock. Pointing this out does not make you a deft observer, as is the subtext of so many Fox News and Nickelback criticisms. You’re not pulling back the curtain on some great evil. We are all right there with you.

2. Which celebrities are doing what.

I’ve decided this is one of the most useless interests a human being can have. Not to keep up with individuals you admire—a musician, a particular actor, perhaps—but to devote time to watching, reading, and observing what THE CELEBS! as a whole are up to. A hobby of keeping track of what other people are doing. Might as well pick up some binoculars and go sit in a bush.