The Notorious B.I.G. – Machine Gun Funk


untitled

Every once in a while we are taken out of our bodies, out of our minds and out of our world. These are the slow motion moments that suddenly everything is clear. For me, these moments often coincide with music. This time it was The Notorious B.I.G. – “Machine Gun Funk”. I am not exactly sure why this particular song spoke to me. It’s not one of my favorite Biggie songs and it’s not particularly moving lyrically. Don’t turn your nose up about rap songs being particularly moving, if you want to argue with that then go listen to “Keep Ya Head Up” by 2Pac and tell me that doesn’t move you. Interestingly enough, I am not necessarily a huge rap fan in my recent years. Granted, I love old school rap and I’m never opposed to it, but it’s not what I reach for. The last few years have me reaching for Frank Sinatra and Janis Joplin. If I’m in a particular gloomy mood I might turn to Jimmy Reed, there seems to be a time and place for rap and I just do not find myself in it very often any more.

Although, nothing seems to work better than good old fashion gangster rap when I need to get motivated to work out. If you’ve read my past posts, you know that I am fond of this method. So, having this experience come from a rap song meant to simply motivate a work out as background music was somewhat odd. However, here it was. The slow motion, the emotional awareness and the power of being in the now. Everything in my mind was clear, not clear in the sense that is all made sense it was just clear. The rest of the world seemed to slow way down to a snail like crawl around me. It was as if I had complete control over this moment in this space in time. It was brief and followed by a stronger sense of self awareness. For some reason I had this strong fear bubble up inside of me, that I think has been there for quite some time. I realized that I currently was building someone else’s dream and would probably continue to do so for the next 30 years of my life. For the next three decades I was to be someone’s tool, I was to be a means to an end. Is this all there is? Sadly, in a sense I am living the “American Dream.” I make a great living, I am financially comfortable to a point, I have great benefits, I have freedom to travel, I will probably own property very soon. This is the dream. This is what people from all over the world come to America to achieve and yet, it terrifies me.

 

I often joke with my fiancé that we should just throw caution to the wind and start our own business. While he laughs this off, I think if I came to him with a legitimate plan he would probably get on board. What makes us all tick? This is always the question that rolls around in my head. What is it that appeals to the masses, what is the secret formula? I wonder if we’ve lost the “start-up” magic that so many were able to achieve mere years ago. Maybe everything that can be thought of was already thought of. Either way, it’s terrifying. Maybe that is why so few people actually pull the trigger. The comfort of a 401K and health coverage is more appealing than the CHANCE your business will take off and actually turn a profit. Although, I find myself looking to the road of startup more often then I care to admit. Sure, you could just try something on for size while you enjoy the security of a 9-5, but I wonder if that is enough? I recently read “The war of Art” and one of the things he wrote that I found interesting is that you have to make your passion like your job. He then went on to describe his “routine” of waking up in the morning and writing until noon none stop even if everything he wrote was crap. I know what I was supposed to get from this, but instead I just found myself thinking “who has the time to wake up every morning and write until noon? Doesn’t this guy have a real job?”. A real job, indeed.

I say all the time that I wish I was really good at something. I wish that I had some kind of skill that I loved that no one else was really good at. I don’t think that overanalyzing qualifies. It’s a shame, because I am REALLY good at that. I wonder if I’ll be brave enough to take the leap one day to start building my own dream. For now, I guess I’ll just keep plugging away at the 9-5 until I figure out that I am only saving to die, really. I mean, it’s not like any of us is going to have any other outcome in life. So, what are we doing busting our butts to achieve “The American Dream” when we could be busting our butts to achieve our own personal dream. Even if that means we don’t end up having the white picket fence and the fancy car. Maybe we are too concerned with material items and the way other people perceive us to truly go after it. Maybe I just overanalyze things too much. I guess I’ll leave it to you to ponder.

 

Advertisements

The Truth About Turning 30


  • 995019_10152164777718179_64491131_nChina Bathroom

    The whirlwind of traveling to China, turning 30 and family holidays has finally come to an end. There are a few interesting common grounds I’ve learned to be true with travel and age. One being that you cannot possibly understand your true perspective on things until you have actually been there, no matter how much you think you know. I guess that might be a confusing statement, let me explain. When I was in my early 20’s I was absolutely dreading turning the big 30. I felt like my life would be over in certain ways. My ass would never be as firm, I would forever loose the chance of becoming a super star and the reality of my internal clock would start to click. With the knowledge I felt I had in my early 20’s, all of these things became truth in my reality at the time.

    In planning my most recent trip to China, of course I researched culture, food and clothing in order to assimilate as much as possible. As much as a 5’8 white redhead could at least.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t offend anyone, so I did not blow my nose in public, avoided public bathrooms, prepared to stick out like a sore thumb in crowds and packed sensible shoes. I strapped myself into my seatbelt on the airplane, grabbed the inflight magazine and prepared to start my long awaited and well researched trip. Once I opened the magazine I found a section that was all about western culture. Since I had just done so much research on their own culture I was curious to see what they had to say about ours. Here are just a few things the magazine had listed under corresponding photos that helped to illustrate their point.

    1.) “People in the US like to travel alone.” – This was coupled with a photo of a white male setting up a tent in the middle of nowhere and yes totally alone.

    2.) “On Memorial Day, many people in the US like to buy stationary”… Um?

    3.) “People in the US like to enjoy outdoor activities in their time off, like camping, hiking and Frisbee” – I suppose this one could be true enough, if not a generalized statement.

    It was in this moment that I made a horrible realization. Could it be that all of those “truths” I had read about the Chinese culture could be as ridiculous to them as these were to me? Yes. Yes, it could be true and was! Need to blow your nose in public? Please by all means do what you need to! Sensible shoes? Only if you count the 6 inch stilettoes that the girls wore EVERYWHERE, including on the steep steep great wall walk. All Asians are thin and short? All Asians are as diverse as we are. Public bathrooms are a disgusting sight better left unused? Actually, for the most part this one was true.

    My point you ask? There is simply no replacement for experience. In my experience so far, being 30 is amazing. I think my ass actually might be slightly tighter these days due to the decrease in alcohol that it was used to holding. Lost dreams of being a super star? Eh, I guess that depends on your definition of fame. Just last week my niece’s neighbor asked me for my autograph and not on a credit card receipt. Biological clock ticking? I’ll admit my uterus does start to hurt at the sight of adorable children, but I now know that these days child birth at 35 or 40 isn’t totally out of the question anymore.

    So, in 2014 I hope to make more discoveries through experience. Perhaps one day I will be able to set some of the records straight, but more likely you will prove me wrong with your very own experience and perspective. On that note, I will leave you with the last wisdom my Grandmother provided me during our traditional “what would you change about your life?” conversation on her birthday “Don’t get married and travel more.” Perhaps, I will have to let you know the experience outcome of the first suggestion in about 6 months.

    Happy New Year