11/21/2013

The thoughts I have about things

At the library today, I picked up a book called Timetables of History. It was a simple listing of historical events dating from Sumerian times to 1990. I tried to interest my daughter in this, but her interest lasted about thirty seconds before she went to look at a DK book that shows all of the locations in Star Wars.

Initially I was bothered that she wasn't interested in real life but instead wanted to learn more about a fictional universe. But, I quickly realized I was also more interested in the book, which was colorful, detailed, animated, and was of more interest to her than what someone did back in 903. 

And here we are in 2013, and I increasingly feel like pulling back from the moments of the day in order to concentrate on the moments of my self. I spend so much time thinking about what happens in the now, writing about public policy in my community. I'm aware of the importance and the non-importance of it, all at the same time. 

The totality of myself is formed both by the genetic make-up that was determined at my conception, as well as everything else that every other human has ever done. How many people have been on this planet by now? How many billions of people have walked this earth? 

And who am I? I've spent a good chunk of my life writing about the decisions that get made, but I am not satisfied with the work that I have done. I am privy to watching people talk straight up about their community, but there are so many gaps in the discussion and I can't do anything about that.

I'm also not allowed to give my own opinion about things. I have to relate everyone else's arguments, but my own are kept from public view.

There are now well over seven billion people on this planet, a fact that everyone should think about carefully. We face a century of severe change as our climate continues to become more erratic. Despite our large population, so many of us feel so tragically alone, myself included.

I think this is because we have a listening deficit at the moment. Maybe we have always had that, but more than ever, every single person with access to the Internet feels they have the right to express themselves, and they have the right to be right.
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I don't know. I'm not any of you. I'm me, the second son of Joseph and Phyllis Tubbs, born in August 1973, a date that will eventually make no difference to the universe at all. It's all us, it's all what we do, and none of us seem to realize how fleeting all of this is. 

So we fixate on the small shit, we fixate on what we hope to control. 

I am leaning more and more to disconnecting to what I used to think what important - public policy. It's both important and not-important. That duality is confusing, because most people can't hold two competing thoughts in their heads for very long. 

Me? I'm plagued with the madness that happens when you have to keep everyone's view in mind in order to synthesize a narrative that captures moments in time. 

But, I'm not satisfied I'm doing enough to show up in a future edition of the Timetables of History. That's not necessarily my goal, but I wish I could reduce my fear of being disliked enough to get into the fray of human conflict more. Maybe that's why I'm so unhappy of late. I don't get to make a mark. I'm just a guy who writes the stories about things that may or may not matter. 

Important and not-important.

Cognitive dissonance writ large. 

I conclude this post with an improv recording from July 19, 2013 that feels passionate and fulfilling to me and me alone. 

At 40, I realize that the frustrating thing about my life is that it is absolutely impossible for me to communicate how happy I am being human to other people. I try, so hard, but it's not working. People regard me as strange, odd, somehow not normal. I wish I could express myself to people in a way that was clear enough to sell out the Paramount Theater, but that's just not how I am ever going to be. 

My plan for the rest of my life is to just be me, to try to carve out space to make my own artwork that captures what it means to be a human living on a world that orbits a sun 93 million miles away, living in a system that tends to forget that everything we do is malleable.

I demand happiness. But who do I make that demand of? Who is responsible for that?

Me.

So, there I go.

This is not how I thought life would turn out for me, but I'm still alive and capable of making some noise. And if people don't like it? That most certainly is not my problem. I have just got to try to meet more of my 7 billion fellow humans in the time I have left. 

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