31 December 2010

sketchy beginnings

This happened the first time I was behind the computer, staring at this screen.

I have been sitting here for a half an hour deciding what to write as my inaugural blog post. I'm not new to blogging, nor am I a stranger to writing in general. I've written short stories, a novella, some poems, articles, narratives, editorials, and I've started even more projects than I have ever finished. None have ever been published, except my blogs. That is what makes blogging so unique for me. I just sit down and type as ideas continuously synapse through my brain. No waiting, no publisher, no copyright or contract. I write for as long as I want, and I write what I want, which totally exploits the First Amendment to the max. It's like a public journal, a big giant tweet.

I first toyed with the idea of creating a blog last year when I went to study in Oxford, England, and I finally decided to do it a few weeks before I left. It was a way to keep track of what I did, and so that everyone at home could know what I was doing without sending out mass emails or spending hundreds of dollars in phone bills (which happened anyway). I decided to post the day before I left, as sort of a guide for anyone who visited.

It was a lot harder than I thought.

Starting anything is always hard. A new school year, a new sport, a new project, a new pet. It's always hard. It's because we thrive on patterns, for the most part. We like knowing what is going to happen and we like constants. It's comforting to know that the sky will be blue when we wake up. If we woke up and the sky was, say, green, I can imagine that the general consensus of emotions would be panic.

Anyway, as I come off of my tangent, blogging was pretty easy after that. I went to Oxford, soaked up everything, including the square shaped toilets in the airport, and I blogged. Every day. It became ritual. After a nice afternoon in town, I would come "home" and blog. For about an hour.

So now that the ice has been broken, I can move onto this blog. I was a little more impulsive about this blog; I made it the day I came up with the idea, rather than a couple months after. Once you become more comfortable with something, it's easier to build on to it. Like in gymnastics. You can do a bridge, now you're reading for a back bend. Once you've got that, you can do a back walkover facilement. Then you're even more eager to try a back handspring, and then a double, then a back tuck, pike, layout, half, full, and the list continues.

So as I was saying, this was an impulse blog. Up to this point that's all you know. That's because I go off on tangents a lot. But this helps keep it casual and conversational. I just love reading things when you can actually imagine the writer speaking the exact words on the page, verbatim, and not sounding pompous. It's more fun that way.

So. The blog. Anyways, here goes.

A couple months ago I read Walden by Henry David Thoreau. He was already my favorite philosopher before I read it, but reading it made my mind happy. He talked about how he moved out into the woods near Walden Pond to get away from society and think his own thoughts. He also said that people who are rich often have nothing; that it is those who are materially poor who are truly rich. Those who have much are not happy because they are enslaved to the things that they have. I almost cried at this wisdom. And it makes so much sense.


It doesn't mean that all poor people are happy and all wealthy people are not content. But Walden got me thinking about happiness.

Since then, I've been picturing myself in different situations. What if I wasn't born here? What if I wasn't this lucky? I look at pictures of the world's poorest countries, where people travel miles to find water that isn't even clean and wear weathered and old clothing. Then I find myself here in my less than 10-year-old house, with brand new clothes, furniture, and anything else one could want.

Yet sometimes I am not happy with my life. And I think, what more could I want?

So it is my new year's resolution to find happiness. And I don't expect it to be all that easy. After all, when you turn on the TV and watch the news, you don't get positive news. You get war updates, and politics, world hunger and poverty, natural disasters, the economy, and death. It seems hard to find happiness in the midst of this.

There is always doubt in a quest. I might not find happiness every day. I don't necessarily know what I am looking for. But I know that I will have found it when I do.