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What the fork were you expecting?
Humans love to gossip and so do I. One of my favorite gossipy criticisms that I hear frequently leveled at others in between-us-girls confidences goes something like this:
What did they expect was going to happen?
The speaker who makes this remark is usually pointing out the obviousness, in retrospect, of whatever predictable unpleasant situation is now occurring in someone else’s life.
The reality, of course, is that this criticism fails to account for the optimistic reality-distortion field with which all human beings are afflicted. If unreasonable optimism weren’t such a thing, the divorce rate would be zero because those people wouldn’t get married in the first place. No one would buy lottery tickets either. Part of the reason everyone is so upset all the time is that we all thought we could beat the odds and escape the consequences of our ostensibly bad decisions. Turns out for many of us that they weren’t just “ostensibly” bad… they were flat-out bad. The wisdom of crowds dictates that if everyone thinks you’re making a bad decision, you probably are.
(Some of the smartest and most successful people I know are just average folk who very consistently listen to their friends’ advice and/or follow the crowd. The iconoclastic genius is the exception not the rule. If you’re going to pick a religion, you could do a lot worse than common sense!)
Anywho, when it comes to life, optimism is the opposite of debilitating because failure is almost always imminent or likely. The answer, of course, is not to avoid love to skirt heartbreak, so to speak. The answer is to optimistically plunge face-forward into the uncertain future despite almost-certain failure. Where the rubber hits the road is in maintaining our composure when all that unbridled optimism meets cold hard reality.
I recently spent some time in the studio making some absolutely god awful unlistenable music. This was highly, highly distressing to me. Then again… what did I think was going to happen? Well to be honest, I thought I was going to waltz into the studio and lay down an absolute banger of an album. Well - holy forking shirtballs -I didn’t. But it turns out that I was the only one surprised and distraught at the overwhelmingly mediocre product of my best efforts.
The cross-disciplinary failure of my best efforts to produce anything other than mediocrity (and, in many cases abject failure) has been a recurring theme in my life lately. Then again… what did I think was going to happen? Time after time, I remain literally the only person in my life who is surprised and appalled that relationships are complicated, that jobs are draining, that sugar is a tough habit to kick, that good music is extremely difficult to write and record, and that dogs are very annoying and a lot of work (Especially puppies and also rough collies and quite especially rough collie puppies!)
Realistically speaking, I should give up on music. I’m a very average songwriter and my voice sounds kinda bad and annoying. I should probably give up on writing too. At present, in late summer 2022, the odds are that nobody besides you is reading this. I should realistically give up on a lot of things that are hard or difficult or that don’t make sense and I’m pretty sure no one would blame me for taking my foot off the gas when I spend so much time spinning my wheels.
Instead, I think I am going to soldier forward in this quest to make my life my own. I believe the future is ours to create and I’ve still got gas in the tank. I think eventually Diagonality will find its voice. I think over time I’ll get better at writing and at recording and at life in general. I think as a result that the next song will probably always sound better than the last. In the long run, maybe I *will* drop a banger album. But as John Maynard Keynes said, “in the long run we’re all dead.” So in the meantime, here’s the link to my new single ‘The Good Place’ on Spotify ⬇️