Thursday, May 6, 2010

Life Lessons from Eddie Brock

Man, high school. Let me tell you something that I wish to God someone would have said to me. All this stuff--this stuff you're feeling... this girl that--that girl this... Five years from now--not fifty, not a hundred--five years from now... you won't even remember her name. Swear to God.

This stuff, it's sooo important to you now... oh, the drama. Let me tell you--thing is--it only hurts this much now because you have nothing to compare it to. It's all just training wheels, man. It all fades away. When real life starts--when real life starts you'll know it. Trust me.

--Eddie Brock, Ultimate Spider Man #33

It was a long winter.

Cranking out YouTube videos as fast as my weary voice would allow. Driving all over creation to choir performances in towns I'd never been to. Making road trips to different states every few weekends. Regularly visiting a friend in the hospital. Working one job in the midst of the holiday rush while searching for a more permanent job. Writing essay-length posts every night for two different websites. There was always something to do, and scarcely a chance to stop and breathe.

Now it's spring. My neverending YouTube project is complete. Concert season has come and gone. The next road trip on the schedule isn't for another month. My friend has recovered and is now at home. This week I officially started as a full-time, salaried employee. After an entire month of rushing to finish time-sensitive posts-only to release them no sooner than a week after they're relevant--writing is now something that works around my schedule, not the other way around.

For the longest time, I was so caught up with releasing my videos in a timely fashion and visiting my hospitalized friend on a predictable schedule and keeping up with all the latest post-worthy news that I stressed myself out. I bought comics and video games that I looked forward to, yet I never made the time to play them. I cut short time with my friends and my soon-to-move-away family in order to finish up one project or another.

In five years, will I remember that article I wrote about someone breaking the world's all-time best Donkey Kong score, or will I remember a time in my life where I holed up in my room and ignored the people around me? It's hard to say. We can never fully know the impact we have on those around us. Even if no one on the entire Internet reads this post, it was worth writing because it signifies one more day that this crazy little blog dream of ours can live on.

I believe in the importance of the projects to which I have dedicated my spare time. It is the process that has become sooo important. The notion that the clock is ticking on every side project I undertake. Some of my YouTube viewers demanded more videos, and I hurried to appease them--rarely have I been so in-demand. I had very little experience to which I could compare the situation, and it took me a while before I was able to let go of the self-imposed deadlines and make videos at my own pace.

Little by little, I've been letting go. I'm feeling sick and almost didn't make it to work this morning, and it is only because I feel like writing that I am still here, an hour past when I needed to go to bed, typing up this post. I was fully prepared to do a two-paragraph filler post because the blog would suffer less for having a throwaway post than I would by staying up late. I am letting go of this notion that every post needs to be deep, meaningful, funny, and whatever other adjectives I choose to aspire to.

There's a fine line between letting go and giving up. I see the value in writing a solid post for this blog, but I also recognize that I've been overexerting myself and should take it easy. I'm letting go, not giving up. I'm drawing from past writing experience to keep the words flowing, even if I'm not exactly sure where this post will end--I spend just as much time staring blankly at the screen as I spend writing, and if I can find a way to not deliberate about how to phrase something or how to segue, I'll cut my blogging time in half and still find time for sleep.

In that regard, everything we do is like having training wheels. If we stopped learning and practicing once high school ended and real life began, there wouldn't be much of a future for us. This new job of mine requires a great deal of problem-solving, and many little tasks I did just a few days prior have shaped my thinking and allowed me to come up with solutions I otherwise wouldn't have considered. I'm drawing from current experiences and experiences long past in every aspect of my life, and I'm sure I always will. Every time one set of training wheels comes off, another set goes on, even if we don't realize it. Perpetually in training for whatever comes next.

Five years from now, I may not remember this post. Perhaps it will fade away, sticking with me only as an unspoken lesson about how going to bed early when you're feeling sick is more important than staying up to write, no matter how much you feel like writing.

"It only hurts this much now because you have nothing to compare it to." Perhaps. But that suggests that life's only going to get worse, which will make our current struggles look foolishly easy. If we are always learning and growing, then our hurts will subside because we are better equipped to handle them. No matter how foolish our troubles may seem to an outside observer, they're still our troubles. Sometimes we have to step back from everything we're doing to get a fresh perspective.

For my part, my most pressing problem is that I'm desperately in need of rest, and I think it's time to put those years of learning to use, drag myself away from the computer, and toss myself into bed.

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