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May 20, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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A Rant

I spend much of my time wallowing about how all my aspirations of worldly greatness are delusional and that I will amount to nothing and that when I die I will be forgotten more quickly than it will take for my body to rot, which will not be very long because I have small breasts and barely any collagen in my bones.

I have been told that this is stupid and self-obsessive. People tell me that if I would only just cheer up, I could do anything. My opportunities are endless. The world is my oyster. Impossible is nothing.

Please, allow me to bluster on through this desert of self-flagellation and justify my wallowing to you, undeserving reader. What goes unacknowledged, by those who tell me that “I am my own harshest critic”, is that impossible is something.

There are seven billion people on this planet. A lot of them are geniuses with insightful and powerful brains which see the world in ways that I cannot imagine. There are those who have bodies that allow them to win medals of gold, silver and mahogany, and carry moderate-to-large-sized boxes, and run when the rapture comes. I am not one of these people, and that’s not self-wallowing: it’s an undeniable fact. Even thinking about these marvels of the mind and body is enough to make me recline and stare into middle distance, angsting about my future as someone who is no-one.

Robbie Williams said, in the tragically underappreciated ‘Something Beautiful’, that “You can’t manufacture a miracle”. It’s the truth. I have used up most of my luck on the accident of birth, so all I can really hope for is to work hard enough to acquire a car that tells me where to go without looking, and a house that has built-in vacuum cleaners beneath the sink unit and is large enough that when I speak to myself in between meals I can hear my own voice echo back to me off the shiny, shiny marble.

The point is, I’m not special, and even if I was, after a little Malthusian maths I would see that special is not particularly special. (Did you know that we all die and are all forgotten about in the (theoretically) never-ending depths of time and space (and that there are more stars and galaxies and reasons to be scared than there are grains of sand in the Sahara?)).

So there, look; my indulgent wallowing and privileged anguish is totally justified. I just proved it. But before you all expire from nausea, give me a chance to redeem myself. I too agree that self-wallowers like me are as stupid as sheeps—but for a different reason.

I’m not stupid because I’m wrong. I’m stupid because I’m misguided.

The reason that I aspire as I do is because I want to succeed, and living in a society with a population of +1, success means what everyone else says it does. But when I actually bother to stop and ask myself why I want to succeed, the moment I manage to push through the success-is-good-because-good-is-success dogma, I get to a series of reasons which all mean pretty much the same thing. I want to feel valued. I want to have purpose. I want my life to mean something.

The fact is—and I don’t know why I’m saying this because we all know it—‘success’ and living a meaningful life are different. My life—and your life, for that matter—is not made worthwhile or meaningful or valuable because of anyone else. It’s valuable because it’s mine, and I’m the one living it, and it’s the only thing I’ve got.

When people get old (as they have a tendency to do), it’s never all like, “things turned out different than I thought, so fuck, I’ve failed.” Sure they suffer from bad knees, hypertension, dementia, incontinence, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, children, glaucoma, racial intolerance, thin-to-transparent skin, vulnerability to get-rich-quick finance schemes, impotence and perpetual dehydration (not to mention Country Road Home’s infamous product recall of its winter 2003 Merino colostomy bags), but they’re okay. Maybe it seems like an anticlimax, but when you’re old, it’s not about climaxing. The things that matter change as you do. One day I’ll probably find that having some pals down at the bowls club and a daughter that talks to me on Christmas will make me happy in a way that I can’t really understand right now. So there’s no point me worrying about whether I’ll ‘make it’, because when I’m 70 ‘it’ will be quite different.

Maybe. I don’t know.

If you’re reading this, and thinking “this is a braindump about being mediocre and it is laughably mediocre”, then—well—you walked right into that one, didn’t you? I know that this is clichéd and you’ve heard it all before. In trying to write it down, I quickly became overly sentimental, so you’d be forgiven for inferring these ‘dreams’ I speak of as being a job at Hallmark, and thinking “no no, it’s in the bag.” The biggest cliché of all, though, is the one where I, like everyone else, am determined to eschew clichés just because they’re clichés, and in doing so, stay miserable. If I just took a step back and gave looking on the bright side of these smelly roses 110 per cent, these clichés would do me a world of lemonade. After all, you only live a molehill.

Once more, for good measure: self-wallowing is stupid.

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