It seems like a lot of my posts are preachy and didactic. At least the titles make it seem that way. The truth is, I don’t know anything. I only believe strongly. These pronouncements are meant to only teach me a lesson. I learn lessons as I write. It’s like what Joan Didion said, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” I don’t know what I believe until I write it down and hit publish. Every “you” in this post is directed at me, but please imagine I’m writing to you. What I believe is…
Do what you want.
“Do what you want” is a primarily an idea or philosophy. It should be the idea that pops into your mind in response to any and all of the following:
- Mild depression
- Mild anxiety
- Feeling stuck
- Writer’s block
- Feeling misunderstood
- Feeling weird
- Feeling unsure
- If you are breathing oxygen
The more misunderstood, weird, unsure, or hopeless you feel the quicker you should do what you want.
If you don’t know what you want, figure it out. Take your time. If we don’t “discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled,” according to Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you want when you’ve been doing what you think you should do instead of what you want to do. The “shoulds” become your “wants” and you can’t separate them in your mind. It’s best to figure out what you want right now. Most “shoulds” involve the future.
Whenever you feel [insert crappy feeling here], your next thought should be “I’m going to do what I want to do.”
You don’t actually have to do anything. Just knowing you have the option to do what you want at any time is how it works its magic.
It means you always have a choice. You always have power. It means the most important thing in the world is taking care of yourself.
No one admires a martyr. OK, I don’t admire martyrs. Sacrifice and martyrdom have become virtues and I never understood why. I am repulsed by martyrs and sacrificers. I am suspicious of them. I’m not inspired by anyone who surrenders what they want for other people. Another word for “sacrifice” is slaughter. Sacrifice means slaughtering some part of yourself. It’s violent and the world doesn’t need more violence. The only worthy sacrifice is the sacrifice you want to make, not the one you’re required to make.
I don’t think sacrifice and creativity can go together. Sacrifice means making yourself smaller. You can’t create and make yourself small at the same time. Creativity means opening yourself up, expanding your mind. Creativity is about not giving up anything. It certainly isn’t saying “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t”. You can and you should.
Before you choose to do what would be most popular, stop and do what you want. You don’t know what people want anyway.
Before you give up — do what you want.
Before you completely breakdown — do what you want.
And do it often.