Surely I was unique, After all, no one shared my outlook on life let alone my struggle. My situation and dilemma were singular to me. What I want from life was 'above' the everyday ambitions of the rest of humanity. I placed myself on a perch, and looked down on everyone that accepted less from life than living their dreams..
Ofcourse, this was not only ironic, but also completely ridiculous. I was (& still am) a penniless bum; how the hell could I look down on anyone??!
Yet I found a dignity in poverty and a pretentiousness in casting aside the monetary avarice that governed the rest of the world.
I would never whore myself doing something I didn't absolutely love, just for money. We live but one life, our time on this Earth is finite; selling that time for money doing something you don't love is all the same, be you a prostitute or a bank clerk.
Bear with me; I was in my early twenties and still coming to terms with the reality of life away from the class room. It was as if I had to question the fundamentals of every thing in life and make sense of a world with new rules..
I still question everything, but my conclusions are no longer so black & white. I'm far more Buddhist these days, in that I find 'the middle way' is often the most sensible.
But it wasn't just about money. It was EVERYTHING!
Why was it that the most brash and disruptive people got further in life than those that were kind and gentle?
Why was being 'good' it's own reward, yet being 'bad' meant an actual gain?
Doing whatever the hell you felt like doing was far more gratifying than repressing your desires and trying to be 'good' (be it society's definition of 'good' or a religious sense of the word).
And perhaps the most frustrating distortion of reality was in the realm of women! (Big surprise there!)
My whole life, I was raised to be especially nice and sensitive to women. I was the 'nicest' guy there could be, yet when it came to chicks, being 'nice' was a dirty word. Despite every chick always complaining about wanting a 'nice' guy, they would in every instance, always prefer the dick-heads of the male population..
The world was not as it was supposed to be.
Now, I'll be the first to admit this, but I was REALLY thick!!
All my friends and family adjusted to the reality of what you were told to do, versus what you actually had to do to get by in life, really quickly... I think like most people, they rebelled in their teenage years and mastered the concept of 'idealism vs. realism' by the age of 16.
But even now, in my early thirties, I struggle with what I'm supposed to do to succeed, as opposed to what my heart tells me to do.
Anyway, back to me in my early twenties!
Fortunately I come from a supportive family, and my parents, after many many, many, raging arguments, finally backed off and allowed me to find my feet.
I spent a lot of time writing, and reading, and just absorbing information from every possible source.
If the world didn't make sense, and I did, then obviously there wasn't anything wrong with me, but something wrong with the world!!
So it was up to me to solve the problem!
After decades of intellectual intrigue, I finally thought 'to hell with the world!' I was unhappy living on the fringes of society. I didn't want to look down on people; I wanted to be one of them!
What good is all the knowledge in the world if you lack the knowledge to make yourself happy?
I wrote a screenplay about a character in this very dilemma: He finally realises his folly and then sets about trying make up for all the lost time.. just as he does, the world ends! It's a comedy. It needs a bit of re-writing, but I'll get around to it.
Anyway! As I was saying.
I became far less concerned with the world's problems, and trying to know something about everything, and focused more on my own personal happiness, and haven't looked back since!
I don't take everything so damn seriously anymore!
Being a carefree party animal is a MILLION times better than being a supercilious, altruistic Smart-Alec. Take it from someone that knows!
Don't get me wrong, I've always been a fun person (ask my long time friends; it sounds cheesey coming from me!), but now the gravity is gone. Everything is not as fatalistic as it once was; and my priorities have changed. I'm still inquisitive, but I'd much rather go out and immerse myself in a room full of strangers and chat to my peoples, than sit at home and ponder the reason why everything is so f**ked up in the world!
Fortunately this transition took place by the time I was in my mid-twenties, and I thought I was 'cured'. I loved people, and people seemed to love me to. You get what you give (not all the time, but in general).
But recently, as everyone's life evolves to the next step, getting married and starting families, I find myself once again on the fringe.
I mean I was never mainstream, but I'd gone from doing the opposite of what the crowd was doing, to at least moving in the same direction!
Back when I was in my early twenties, I discovered a book that perfectly described my 'condition'. Years later I finally bought it, but never read it. I didn't need to. Life was way too short for pontification.
The other day I picked it up and read a chapter.
I thought I'd made progress, that I'd changed, but all that happened was I lost the ego.
The book was written in the eighties and is called 'The Hamlet Syndrome: Overthinkers who Underachieve' by Adrienne Miller & Andrew Goldblatt. Here is an excerpt from the inside cover:
'Hamlets are bright, talented, would-be achievers who have put their idealism first, turning away from success- and from their own potentials … Torn between their dual desires for purity of heart and monetary success, these sensitive, well educated, middle-class young people avoid the conflict by taking unchallenging jobs … As the years go by they grow tired of making only enough money to survive, and become bitter – both toward themselves and toward society.'
Yikes! This book not only gives an insight into people in the 'early stages' but also the misanthropic sad-sacks they become!
Now you know how I'm a serial singleton? I mean I'm not stupid, I know why that's the case, but reading it in a book that describes other 'losers' in the game of love really makes you become aware of what team you're part of.. and it aint the champions!!
'Women look for men with earnings potential. Men look for women whose physical beauty sparks envy – read that esteem – in other men's eyes. We like to think we're more sophisticated than that, that we choose one another for nobler reasons, like love.
...What's that, Hamlet, you say you don't have much financial worth or potential? Then you damn well better look good, because otherwise you may come away from the sexual market place empty-handed.
..for most...Hamlets the prospects for finding a satisfying love relationship range from marginal to practically none … Consider the male Hamlet. He has minimal earnings potential, meaning he can't provide the material security the bulk of...women crave. Even worse, perhaps, he thinks differently. He questions the traditional family structure and may not want kids. He doesn't like the free enterprise system. He has offbeat notions about religion and government. He's honest to the point of rudeness. And fun as he may be to listen to sometimes, after a while his constant intellectualizing sounds like the bleating of a newly shorn sheep. Better to find a regular guy that knows how to have a good time.' (page 177)
Damn! My looks won't last forever, then what will I do??
Seriously though, it gets worse and more damning for the prospects of a 'Hamlet'!
EVERY chick I've ever met recoils away in an uneasy incredulity upon discovering the 'truth' behind my fanciful façade. I don't blame them either. Just like they can't blame guys for only chasing good looking chicks. It's just the way it is.
Fundamentally, although I like to think I'm unique in the universe, I am a type of person; I'm a 'Hamlet'.
Money doesn't motivate me in the slightest. I ponder life as much as I live it. I find more nobility in the pursuit of my 'dream' than in any satisfaction gained from conforming to the norms of society, i.e. chasing money and chasing women.
And whilst I'm happy being me, I'm unhappy with my place in the world. I'm unhappy with the fact that I must limit my enjoyment of the world because of a lack of money. I'm unhappy that no women will ever gamble her affections on me because I won't ever be able to make a life with her and provide for the future. I'm not yet bitter, but as the years pass, and success continues to elude me as it has done thus far, I can very easily see that bitterness some way on the horizon...
I'm almost unrecognisable from the man I was in my youth, but the journey isn't complete.
I need to change more.
- - -
Being a Hamlet is not someone I wish to be.