Asking yourself, “What am I doing when I like who I am?” seems to me to be a more direct way to figure out what you need more of (and what you need less of) in life, regardless of what you think you should need. Often, the healthy, fulfilling things we’ve drifted away from are things whose significance probably wouldn’t occur to us, until we start doing them again and see how much they contributed to our well-being.
Self-improvement imperatives always offer the seductive notion of untapped potential: it’s a bummer to feel like you have to change, but a thrill, sometimes, to imagine that you can. The trouble is that there is no feasible end to this process.
And this, too:
Today, young female professionals have an unprecedented amount of economic and social capital; at the same time, our adulthood has been defined by constant visual self-surveillance, a market-friendly feminism that favors any female acquisitive behavior, and an overwhelming redirection of anxiety into the “wellness” space.
To discard the stuff we’ve acquired is to murder the version of ourselves we envision using it.
Laura Miller in Marie Kondo Will Help You Tidy Your House, Embrace Your Mortality. Cleaning up is hard to do, y’all.
The piles of stuff we might need someday are an argument that we will always be around to need them. The plans to revisit those photos and take up again that course of study, the books we fully intend to finally read assure us that there will be enough time to do so. Mementos presume the ongoing existence of a rememberer. Yes, all of that is a lie, but it’s a necessary lie. And all the joy in the world can’t really compensate for having to let that go.
Cf. “Our unlived lives…”
In telling the story of how you became who you are, and of who you’re on your way to becoming, the story itself becomes a part of who you are.
What I learned from Prince and Muhammad Ali was that it’s possible to love yourself so much that everyone else does, too.
Give your past, present and future selves influence in proportion to what each has earned. Which one of you is working with the most reliable information — about you and nobody else?
When people say, “I’m the kind of person who,” my heart always sinks. These are formulas, we’ve all got about ten formulas about who we are, what we like, the kind of people we like, all that stuff. The disparity between these phrases and how one experiences oneself minute by minute is ludicrous. It’s like the caption under a painting. You think, Well, yeah, I can see it’s called that. But you need to look at the picture.
He who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even in youth among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. He carries ruins to ruins.
They undertake one journey after another and change spectacle for spectacle. As Lucretius says: “Thus ever from himself doth each man flee.” But what does he gain if he does not escape from himself? He ever follows himself and weighs upon himself as his own most burdensome companion.
It really got to me when someone asks what I did for a living and I realized I didn’t have a good answer. And it was just, I don’t know, it was like I’m in my apartment alone all day editing this thing that I’m calling a film but it wasn’t actually a film yet. So yeah, there’s a couple of times where I just gave up and decided I was going to go back and get a job and actually have a good answer to what I did for a living. That was going to be that.
All these people, telling stories about the stories that their things tell about them.
Fear and defensiveness, the architects of so many of our lowest moments.
Our unlived lives–the lives we live in fantasy, the wished-for lives–are often more important to us than our so-called lived lives; we can’t (in both senses) imagine ourselves without them.