Sunday, January 20, 2008

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood...

(Ed. Note: So its Sunday night and I'm back from Charlotte. Nothing worth blog noting really went down this weekend. If something that was progressively awesome actually went down, rest assured, Jack Goes Forth would share the goods. So instead I'm going to drop a fantastically grandiose blogpost about....well basically its about the usual convoluted "life" BS I throw down on Microsoft Word. So go ahead and grab your Grande Sugar Free Vanilla Skim Lattes, downsize any so-called "work" documents, tell the boss you got a case of the Mondays and to fuck off, read the post , comment, and remember that I'm still happily sleeping.)

I speak with so many friends and assorted people near my age(23-30) about the concepts of happiness and life. The explanations and answers I get are sometimes mind-blowing, sometimes non-existant, and most of the time they're confused ramblings in the classic JGF style. The only real pattern to the responses I see is that no two responses are exactly alike.

The outlets for what can make a kid (23-30) feel complete or happy are many. Theres work, friends, drink, relationships, marriage, church, family, sex, drugs, music, travel, etc. Most people look to a combination of these things and through that combo they find their peace and they make their way through life. I'm no different, as I have opinions and I have "like's", and I strive to find a happiness through my personal preferences. While I may bash other people's choices in life, I certainly don't try and insult people or their way of living. People have to make their own mistakes (I'm personally learning this all to well) and in my eyes, early marriage and sticking to jobs you hate or for money are mistakes, but they're mistakes each individual has to make on their own terms. This blog is one man's opinion, not a readers personal life advocate.

The one thing that I really find disconcerting though, is that while people all have different preferences and different things that make them happy, most people (98%) all follow the same exact path, and the same exact maxims as everyone else. They think that getting married is an automatic path to happiness. They believe that if you work your ass off for 45 years, take two weeks a year to relax, and stay on the beaten path, you will ultimately retire and ultimately be happy. Now I don't sit here and proclaim to know all, but is this really the blueprint for a happy life???

Grab ten 40 somethings off of a street in Anytown, USA. Ask them about their lives. What will you hear? What do you hear from a majority of honest adults when they speak about their life? I bet you hear some of the same things:

"Well I can't stand my boss and the job is a pain, but its work....Gotta pay them bills."

"My kid starts college in the fall. Now me and the wife are just trying to figure out how we're gonna pay for it."

"I need to start eating healthy and going to the gym. I'm fat...but with my schedule...its so difficult."

"I just remarried last fall. This is number three, but I know where I messed up the first coupula go rounds....Its so much different now."

"My best buddy from college lives in Oklahoma, I think....We haven't spoke for years. Who has the time?"

You may not hear these exact phrases, but I guarantee you hear some variations of these. The funny thing is, we hear these same complaints everyday and over time we don't even realize we hear them. When someone who has little real responsibility (kid, wife, mortgage, service tour in Iraq) hears these types of horror stories, we just shrug it off. Why? We just don't ever assume that we will be in their shoes.

Now I already realize what the skeptics will say, "Jack, the point of going through these types of hardships is to take care of the true happiness in life, family and children." I understand this argument and I don't refute the fact that family and friends should be paramount to one's happiness. I just don't see why someone would volunteer their youth and physical health so early in life, to enter these types of prisons.

I'm not advocating that everyone strip off their chains and clothes to run wildly into the unknown (my ultimate dream and goal.) All I'm saying is, don't listen to married people, or older people, or people who stay in one place their entire lives...People who claim they know all there is to know about life. If someone has been on this earth longer than you do they automatically know more about living? In some cases yes, in a lot of cases...HELL No. There is NO blueprint for life and its time for a few of the sheep in this pasture to come to that realization. How you ask??? How can one break free from this crapstream of car payments, work, shitty relationships, etc???? Ha, I don't have a single feasible way out! Yet! .... But I'm ready to make a leap into that unknown.... Just gotta find the right river.

Two Robert Frost inspirational lines for you...

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-(The Road Not Taken)

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-(Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening)


Katinka said...

you've improved my monday considerably. thank you~

MAS said...

The book Stumbling on Happiness has a section at the end which describes the "super-replicator" - which pairs up nicely with your post.

We collectively engage in behavior to seek happiness that causes the same conditions we equate with unhappiness. Yet the cycle doesn't get broken, it just keeps getting replicated.

Anonymous said...

you can say... i dont want to be anon... but what i say is .. stay on..

i look back when i was at 24.. and i tell u i was stupid. but i was courageous enough to experiment. now u got good friends like roissy and rooshv to grow up with.

happiness is personal.. as rooshv says "anyone can increase or decrease ur happiness.. they cant create it". but whatever it is .. i appreciate that you are out there to experiment with things and challenge them... and i tell u it's one great thing to swim against the current, if u know what i am saying. good luck and have great fun. :)

dchero said...

It's true, people are extremely bad at:

1. Identifying what they want (harder than it sounds)
2. Figuring out how to get it (sounds hard, but it's just as hard as #1)

My current working life-theory is this: I look at people who have what I want, then I copy them until I get it. The real question is, what 40 year old guy has what you want?

Slightly Disorganized said...

intersting. the closing lines are not what i expected from you. your mastery of deep poetry is rather surprising.

Anonymous said...

Quoting cliched Robert Frost poems and expressing your admiration for the nihilism of "Fight Club" does not make you "deep" or an intellectual, jackass.

While you're at it, try doing something of more significance with your life than tending bar before you dislocate you shoulder trying to pat yourself on the back for leading such an enlightened lifestyle.

Jack Goes Forth said...


Why do all the haters post under anonymous?

Anyways, what is significance? Where does it say that I have to do any beneficial? Will anyone give three shits about what I did with my life a day after my funeral? I seriously doubt it.

Keep climbing the corporate ladder...Just four more years and you'll make middle management, and then your set baby. After that you can take your fatass golfing for three weeks a year instead of two.


Slightly Disorganized said...

jack, you've drawn haters already. I'm impressed. It took me at least two months.

Jack Goes Forth said...


Haha, thanks. I'm not sure if I'll ever reach the number of "real-life" haters I currently have, but its nice to get noticed....good or bad.


Slightly Disorganized said...

oh anonymous, where does it say that all bartenders lead shallow meaningless lives?

Personally, I think that some bartenders probably have way more interesting lives than other "normal" people. And better stories too.

you agree Jack, no?

Jack Goes Forth said...

Lets clear this up. I'm not actually bartending right now. I'm not actually doing anything (and loving it).

But to your point Disorganized...I completely agree. More interesting, more fun, more sex... Less mundane BS.