I went out for coffee this morning, which is a regular occurrence (when I can afford it). I’m staying in an area which is more sedate than most suburbs I’ve lived. It’s very difficult to find a drink anywhere without getting a meal, and the cafes are geared more towards middle-aged and senior women. It’s not really my vibe.
Still, beggars can’t be choosers, but I find myself venturing further afield to try out cafes that may be more amenable to my lifestyle. It’s curiosity to. I’m one of these people who likes to try new things. I might have favourites, but I always want to sample the alternatives.
This morning I found myself in a cafe in Deepdene. I went for a long walk the other day and discovered it and marked it down in my mind. It’s my groove, good coffee with attitude. Coffee, and everything that goes with it, as lifestyle.
I sat there sipping on my single latte and watched the comings and goings about me. The staff at this place are more typical of what you would find in the inner-city areas where I used to hang out – hip, casual, but passionate. I watched and felt one of those occasional pangs. I wished I had done this I thought, rather than go the corporate route. I could see myself in a place like this, happily making a living churning out quality coffee, good food, and engaging with customers. There’s a part of me corporate, but there’s also a big hunk of me very much not.
This seems always to be my dilemma. These things rub up against each other all the time. Generally if I’m doing one thing then I hanker for the other. The sensible way to live is to be in balance, but it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds.
This dilemma recalled to me the post I made about being brilliant the other day. The point, which I’m not sure I made too well, is not about being smart as such, but fulfilling yourself without fear or inhibition. If you’re brilliant then test it, find out, don’t resile from the challenge. Likewise don’t be obliged to follow the conventional path simply because that’s what is expected.
It struck me also that is one reason I am drawn to characters like Hank Moody. I watched Californication again last night and I realised that the aspect I never commented on before is Hank’s freedom. Sure he’s often irresponsible and unpredictable, but he lives – basically – the life he wants, and does the thing that he loves. He found out what he was about and what he should do and so lived the life he was meant to.
How many people get scared or are warned off from lifestyle and career choices that might actually fulfill them? Many, I reckon. It’s the done thing really, follow in your dad’s footsteps, provide for your family, be responsible, save, don’t take risks. It’s the conventional narrative of life, and maybe it’s right for most people, maybe, but I know it isn’t for all. How many people lose part of themselves by following convention and not their desires? How many square pegs get hammered into round holes just to be safe? How many artists have we lost because of this? How many trade individuality for conformity?
Not all of us are going to be Hank Moody, or own a cool cafe, and most of us probably don’t want that. All of us want something though, I’m sure of that.
Reality and common-sense means that for most we never really challenge that desire. It falls by the wayside, dismissed as foolish or unrealistic. That’s how we’re conditioned to think, and those few who transcend it are in equal parts admired for their individuality and abused for their impudence.
I don’t care much about that. I’ve been called all sorts of things, and many of them by my family. I’ve learned to put them out of my mind – another example, apparently, of my arrogance. It’s my life, and your life, and you shouldn’t let anyone else tell you how you should live it, and fuck convention (another word really for mediocrity). My advice to everyone is to explore what those desires might be, and to have a crack at them. It may not work out, but at least you know, and you had the courage to have a go. And who knows, maybe you’ll find you are brilliant.
I know myself how hard it is to follow what seems simple advice, but no-one said it would be easy. For most of us it’s difficult to have that clarity of desire. We have murky yearnings rather than clearly defined aspirations – but that’s ok. It’s fun entering into the murk to discover what’s hiding in there. Even then it’s hard to make it so. So be it – you have a whole life to resolve it.
In a way that’s where I’m at now. I’m more advanced along this path than most, and still don’t really know. What I know is that on the one side I’m driven to resurrect my corporate career and kick a bagful of goals. That’s part necessity – I need the money; part ego – it’s fun to be good at something; and part habit – it’s the world I know. On the other hand I have these frequent ‘flashes’ where I see myself living very modestly in a cottage in the bush, growing vegies and making cheese and walking Rigby – and writing.
For me, now, there are practical considerations I can’t ignore. As it stands I can do very little because I’ve got absolutely fuck-all. There’s still so much I have to resolve before I can do anything. The time will come when I can though. I don’t know what I’ll do then, or where I’ll be. I hope I’ll be true to myself, and, above all, to be blindingly brilliant.