Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thought for the day

One of the more underrated feelings in life is the mix of surprise and dread when someone sums up your situation in a worryingly short span of time. It does tend to definitely puncture any inflated sense of importance you have about yourself or your problems.

The most recent episode of Welcome to Night Vale, one of my favorite podcasts, did that for me. In it, Cecil Baldwin -- the voice of Night Vale community radio -- was summing up the plight of retired Night Vale mayor Pamela Winchell when he struck squarely on the head the feelings I have over my impending departure from newspapers. (It will happen one of these days. Honest! This charade can't go on forever.)

I know I've wrapped up too much of my self-identity in being a Newspaper Guy -- the ennui and alienation I felt during my year of Funemployment brought that home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It's something I need to address before I get out of the industry for good. How? I'm working on that.

Cecil's summation starts at 28:25 in the audio from the first link. A transcript is below the fold.

Cecil: "One of the great fears, among a life of great fears, perhaps the last great fear, is the fear of being no longer useful. We find a role in life and we do that role to the best of our ability for as long as that ability is there.

"But all of us, even me, dear listeners, will someday hit a point where we no longer are able to do that thing that we define ourselves by doing. And more than the fear of injury, more than the fear of death, this is the fear that looms -- the loss of self. The self that is the self we imagined we were our whole lives.

"But we were never that self -- not really. We were only a series of selves, living one role and then leaving it for another, and all the time convincing ourselves there was no change, that we were always the same person living the same life. One arc to a finish, not the stutter-stop improvisation that is our actual lives.

"Worry less about the person you once were, or the person you dream you someday will be. Worry about the person you are now, or... don't even worry. Just be that person. Be the best version of that person you can be. Be a better version than any of the other versions in any of the many parallel universes. Check regularly online to see the rankings."

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