Thursday, June 6, 2013

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

^Emerson is still my favorite.

Confession: I compulsively make lists. Maybe I've said this before, but I have lists of everything, especially of things that are not really all that useful. Two of those lists have become more important to me, at least in an abstract way, than I ever thought they would or really intended them to: Things I Hate (e.g., pet peeves) and Things I Love.

I came to the realization one day that my list of pet peeves is significantly longer than the list of things I love. And that made me a little bit sad. I sat for a moment at my computer trying to think of more things to put on my list, and I just couldn't. Maybe I'm overthinking it (in fact, I probably am), but there's something kind of upsetting about that.

Something I've always liked about myself is that I'm very easily excited. I love the little things, the things that most people tend to pass over. I find pretty much everything interesting. But high school drained me of a good deal of my motivation, and then I moved to Philadelphia, which is basically hipster central. So lately I've gotten caught up in my generation's obsession with irony.

What that means is that it's not okay to like things anymore. People look at me funny when I get excited about some really great sign I saw, or hearing the ice cream truck drive by, or finding out some little unimportant tidbit of information. I even get looks when I get excited about bigger things, like a great movie or an interesting place I've found. I guess I let that get to me, because I started slipping more and more into the easy life of complaining.

It's so easy to be angry. To be unhappy. To be irritated by all those weird little things that are specific to our own individual tastes. It's easy to complain. That's why we have Twitter accounts like "Female Pains" and "Student Pains," dedicated entirely to pointing out all of the things that suck about being a femalestudentmaleTVshowlovercatdogpersoncaralien. We can all relate, because we all love to complain. I got some good laughs out of them for a while, but it got really old. Just stop whining already.

I find the overwhelming irony to be just a little bit lazy, because you don't ever have to look for anything to really like; you can just sit back and make fun of anything that moves. And anything that doesn't. Really just anything.

Don't get me wrong: I love sarcasm. It's great. It's smart. But it's also limited. I don't think you can live your entire life under a veil of sarcasm. It's not healthy. If we can't actually be happy or excited about anything, where will we go? How will we be able to achieve anything if nobody likes anything they're doing?

My question is why? Why must I be considered a weird person for loving things? Why have we given up on being happy? Why have we lost interest in trying to make a genuine mark on the world?

I don't want to be like that. I want to take a step back and remember what being excited is like. Remember what truly loving something is like. I'm getting there, but sometimes I need reminders. Who's with me?

Sip a honeysuckle. Step on some crunchy leaves. Listen to your favorite song (your real favorite song). Eat some ice cream. Listen to a summer night. Learn something new about something you thought you knew inside and out. Hug the sheets just after they've come out of the dryer. Be nostalgic for a moment. Think about the things that old trees have lived through. Write something important to you on physical paper with a physical pen.

Most importantly, enjoy those things.

Make what the amazing Ze Frank calls Your HappyList. Just be real. Hipsters can't last forever. Just like things, for Pete's sake. (No. Not on Facebook. Geez.)

There's a fantastic op-ed piece from the New York Times called "How to Live Without Irony", in which the author, Christy Wampole, talks about why living in such a culture of irony is so dangerous, and offers her take on why my (our?) generation is so intent on living solely ironically. There are too many amazing points to mention here, so go take a look at it. It's definitely worth your time.

~Snooty Crumb
P.S. This writing is suuuuuper awkward. Sorry. :(

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