A mirrorball of long friendships, a fishbowl of harsh reflections.

March 27th, 2014, 8am

It’s difficult not to feel like I’ve been running in place for a decade. The people in my life who once seemed like they were on some distant, and not very interesting, path are now brushing by me regularly, their shirt sleeves tickling my elbows. They have advanced degrees and foreign cars. They are responsible for other people and to other people. They sell expensive things. They make money. I watched from a distance as they became important.

The distance between our lives was OK because I figured I was doing important things as well. I believed that the dots would connect at some point as Steve Jobs had enigmatically instructed. I still hope that they will but damn it if it isn’t difficult to keep the faith.

There was a point earlier in life that I created music everyday and I loved it. It felt so natural and it made me happy. However for some reason I was still haunted by the idea that the happiness that music brought me was too simple, why else would most people contrive such complicated lives? Now I believe there isn’t more, that simple feeling of connection with people, with art, with life was it. Most people had to reverse engineer that feeling. Distill it from a host of other, stronger drives. Weigh its cost against other responsibilities. I had stumbled upon it so easily and as a result I took it for granted.

I’ve found that often the really important mistakes that we make are not major blunders but narrow misses. A slight misreading of the information that we are presented. My trajectory was created by slight diversions due to misunderstanding the value of having found an occupation that was simple and probably not very lucrative but which made me truly happy. The things that I valued and chased for so long were really just the by-products of people who were driven to try and create the feeling that I already knew. My mistake was the inability of understanding what is truly valuable and as a result I’ve wasted so much time chasing the invaluable.

And yet I have never really given up the understanding of that simple happiness either. As a result I, and I think many others, occupy a sort of purgatory. Where the expectations never match the reality. How could they? The results of chasing happiness can only lead to that happiness becoming more elusive. The more you chase it the harder it is to catch.

Dominique, Heather, Ken, Tanja and 1 more said thanks.

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John McAlester

Adventure dad, writer, Content Strategist @canirank

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