Life is a small thing

Life is a small thing.

You can’t stay up all day and all night. You can’t eat as much spaghetti as your gusto for tomato and basil would dictate. You can’t drink as much as your taste for malt and hops would have you do. You can only imbibe so much coffee before anxiety becomes a tangible thing in your chest.

You have to prune a tree. Otherwise it grows into a bush, and the many limbs share equally anemic amounts of its strength. You have to prune it. You have to cut off the branches that are inherently weaker so that the main branch, the only one that has the chance of truly bearing fruit, can thrive. Doing anything less is self-destruction.

For one who has been strangely blessed with an ability to do everything (almost), the smallness of life brings hard choices. I have already said no to many things that I once loved, to give strength to the things that I love more. I once invented languages, and I once studied the roots of language itself. I once built guitars. I once wrote a long, loud piano sonata, and I once dreamed of recording a passing train and building a piece of music out of it. I once tried graphic design and found in myself innate ability but debilitating apathy.

The one thing that has stuck with me is the putting-together-of-words. (It’s difficult to call it writing these days when I don’t have a pen in my hand but rather the poorly-weighted keys of a Macbook under my fingers.) I could have continued a musical career in academia, but I didn’t: the cost to my putting-together-of-words would have been too high. I could have trained as a professional guitar-builder; I could have taught linguistics in a university; I could have been a graphic designer.

But the one thing I couldn’t have been is one-who-doesn’t-put-words-together. That ultimate, unflinching principle of exclusion has decided the track of my life these last few years; and will continue to do so, Lord willing.

It’s strange to be back, back, back on Facebook

My virtual life has picked up right where it left off eight months ago. Aside from an obnoxious format change (the nth, dammit), the Book of Faces is exactly as mundane, tantalizing, and largely irrelevant as ever. Typing “fac” into the URL field and letting autocomplete do the rest is still a quick fix for stress, boredom, or basic blue-feeling. Clicking the little red thingies still brings the familiar rush and the familiar disappointment of finding out that you’ve been notified of nothing important at all.

But eight months away did show me something. It showed me that real people still exist and that I could still relate to them the old-fashioned way. It taught me that “keeping in touch” is really a poor excuse for an addiction to digital voyeurism. It taught me that it doesn’t really matter how I look online, because how I treat people who are standing in front of me is way more important. It taught me that my imagined digital circles of relevance were just that–imagined.

This may be the complaint of an old fuddy-duddy, or it may be a your revelation of the day. The degree of numbness you’ve incurred with repeated Facebook abuse will decide for you.