Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Have you ever gone through periods where you're just a little too interested in someone else's life?

It brightens my day to surf on over to tha pbdotc or Verbungle and get some thought-provoking musings, and often a laugh -- that's fine. But lately, I've become a bit too zealous in checking Restaurant Girl and Viva La Vida.

I feel a twinge of discomfort when I read these blogs, because at the heart of my bookmark-check is a belief that these two people are living more satisfying lives than I am.

Like, while I crop yet another photo at work or take myself for a gerbilly jaunt on the StairMaster, Restaurant Girl is harvesting grapes and going to underground dinners and playing basketball until 4 a.m., and the author of Viva la Vida is making projects with palm leaves on a Honduran island with her boyfriend. It all leads me to the question: Where did I go wrong -- or did I?

When it comes to seizing the day versus ruminating about it, my track record is mixed. On the seize side, I have: lived in London for a year; gone skydiving; gone to work for Club Med; sung in front of 500 people; biked 60 miles in one day for charity; quit a job I hated even though I lived alone in NYC and had no other job lined up; ended my dysfunctional love-hate relationship with NYC by leaving; pitched aside (almost) all my fears to move across the country and get hitched.

On the stuck side, I have: failed to take a vacation anywhere cool in the last several years; put my immediate comfort over my long-term best interests; stayed in a line of work I have known for a long time is not for me; wasted time with people I didn't actually like all that much; put off learning to cook and play drums way too long; not bothered to really pursue writing.

So when somebody does exactly what they want to do, and has a ton of fun in the process, it makes me jealous -- but also confused. How did they do it? What sacrifices are they making?

Whose life do you most admire?


  1. Anonymous8:14 AM

    as someone who has done nearly everything he wants (not hedonistically, but my sexual desires are not one of the ruling forces in my life), i can tell you exactly what the sacrifices are.

    sleep, alone time, and money.

    fortunately, the frenzied activity has kept me sane in the way that not being broke, getting enough sleep, and having time to Just Be would, otherwise.

    the balance is shifting now as i begin to prioritize mental development and a sense of peaceful well-being over not missing a second of anything that might be fun, but for several years i didn't let myself get slowed down by any practical concerns. it was fun, beautiful, and exhausting.

    i enjoyed it, but like sushi and skydiving, it's not for everyone. i think it must suck to lack a taste for those things, but i don't try to push them onto people who just aren't interested or who are actively scared.

  2. I appreciate the way this post elucidates the tradeoffs. Thank you.

  3. If I may be so bold, I believe the price Viva La Vida had to pay was to let herself be stuck with a charming, handsome man, who happens to have a way with money. Oh, and her soul is in a jar on a shelf right next to a bottle marked "Robert Johnson." (If you're reading this, I'm just kidding, A.)

  4. Oops. That sounds like I'm saying, "if you're not reading this, I'm dead serious." Oh, well.

  5. This is a great post. I feel a cosmic bond with you -- we share the same tendency to think about stuff and wonder why it is the way it is, and how it could be or could have been different.

    As to whose life I most admire, I woiuld probably go with any of the numerous people I know who have remained true to themselves even when it makes them look like an asshole. Meaning I too often back away from delivering the hard news or being the bad guy because I want to be liked.

    Besides those people, I'd probably go with Kris Kristofferson.

  6. Shucks Hans, you're doing it better than I am. I totally identify with avoiding certain statements (or for me, saying certain things) because I'd rather be liked.

    Come on, Goedi. Tell me there's like no plumbing in that place in the Honduras, secretly everyone'd dying to go to the multiplex every once in awhile. I gotta have something here.


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