Existing as Art

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I went on a whimsical tweeting spree last night that, well, was so whimsical it only lasted four tweets:

Just as an unexamined life isn’t worth living, a life that isn’t art hasn’t been examined. Life becomes art when you examine it and make your next decision after that examination. There is style, form, and creative decisions to express underlying motives and messages with everything we do.

But then again, the next morning…

What the Record Can’t Show

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When I was younger I watched Looney Toons every Saturday morning. It was the same show my father watched at the same age. Rocky and Bullwinkle was a cross-generational childhood influence too. I read A. A. Milne’s poems – much more interesting to me than Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh despite the local connection to the latter character – that my mother introduced me to, as she read them in her young years. I played with my mother’s 1950s Barbie dolls alongside my sister’s and mine from the 80s and 90s. Our experiences were integrated.

It took me a moment to think back to these things, because the idea came across that passing on one’s childhood to one’s children may be new, or revamped, for our generation, as if that’s different from the passing of cultural influences from our parents to us. As grown people my generation still claims fandom to things from our childhood, something that’s come up in cultural commentary as if it’s new and reflecting these darn young people’s refusal to grow up. But these examples came to mind and now I stand corrected. Cultural artifacts are still passed down from generation to generation – as they should be – and the parent-child relationship betwen Baby Boomers and their kids was no different. We – as every generation – just picked up our own things along the way.

Now it’s time to pass these things down. With a cousin recently having a baby a number of references to our childhood have come up, and these are things that we should be committed to passing down. Favourite toys, nicknames, and inside jokes should be passed along, because what made childhood magnificent for us is a treasure worth preserving. The best TV shows we watched as children should also be watched by this newly born generation because that is forming a bond of trust that parents were once children and know how to be children that grow up well. With every extended family there’s a rich history that overlaps broader cultural context with unique personal stories. The unique stories create an oral history alongside the recorded entertainment, and it’s the oral history that ends up meaning more. It’s not just what we watched and read and played, but how we remember feeling when watching and reading and playing that makes things worth passing on. The wealth of these experiences can’t be discarded because there’s a new brand of toys or franchise of cartoons that have been made since we left the demographic. Children appreciate what’s from the past just as much as what’s made in the present.

So keep on skateboarding, Toupée Freddie.

Purged from the Social Storage Closet

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I think I have been unfriended on Facebook by old friends because I’m not interested in weddings or kids.

These are people I used to be good friends with – school and/or work made for fun times and great memories. But we all change, yadda yadda, and many people divert their path to the middle where they pursue marriage and family and a back yard with a garden. I’m not going to be enthralled by their impeccable tastes in these things, or go insane speaking gibberish to a child in a socially acceptable way. They can post what they want to. I can ignore Facebook altogether since it’s come to serve purposes not applicable to my world.

The reason I put up with Facebook is to keep a line open between me and people of my past. I don’t expect regular interaction, and I don’t use it very well in keeping my stats on the board so everyone knows how my life is progressing (or stagnating). I don’t post much, so why do people go to the lengths of unfriending?

I’m puzzled, but not bothered. It’s not a numbers game or with any political subtext. It hits me how different I am from others, those who have strived for the standard – no marriage, no kids, and not wanting to share personal details with close family and a select set of girlfriends.

There is a lot about what matters to the masses that is either beyond me or I’m beyond.

Reduced Word Diet

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I’m a terrible conversationalist. I have a bad habit of not completing sentences. I say odd things to people and extend small talk more than they’d like. I use much of the array of non-communicative words that are now ubiquitous in everyday speech – “like”, “you know”, “I don’t know”, “yeah, but” and so on. I’m putting my foot in my mouth more frequently now, perhaps due to changes in the chemical makeup of what I ingest. I elaborate too much on the background of things, which has prevented me from getting jobs and thus contributed a small slice to my miserable pie chart. I need to be trained in conversation.

First of all, if I could get rid of the space-filler “umm” and “so” and all of the other useless stuffing I would sound much more impressively smart and decisive, suggesting leadership skills that could get me more respect and in better places. It would make me sound more mature with more sophisticated thinking. And the content will matter, so I can still say things that aren’t mature or sophisticated but come off sounding smart.

Second, I want to subdue my tongue and give the bare minimum in background. It encourages much more confidence to be asked to elaborate than to be asked to shut up. It also limits the time I have to say something stupidly offensive without thinking, a win-win situation for everyone who has ever had to hear me.

Third, I want to use this appearance of intelligence and mindful brevity to find classy ways of escaping conversations with other people who suffer from this worse than I do now. I acquired these flaws from the influence of society around me, but it’s my responsibility to change myself to ways I know are better.

So I guess my next self-improvement project is, I don’t know, talking, like, smarter and stuff. I’m not respected much as an adult yet, so…

The Lowest Tier of Motivation

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People have motivations outside of their work to keep them going every day, even when they hate their jobs. The first two tiers on Maslow’s hierarchy are where the need for money comes – food and shelter, safety and security – and the rest depend on the quality of the work environment and/or tasks of the job.

As it’s outside of the job itself, where does “not giving my mother fodder to gab about” come in?