I’ve struggled all of my life to conform.
I come from the ‘live fast, die young’ rock and roll generation that eschewed all notion of being a responsible grown up and instead embraced a path of hedonistic pleasure, self destructive behaviours and a series of bad life choices.
I’ve smoked, drank and gambled (throw in a little light drug use too) my way through life, fallen in love with the wrong women, failed to find fulfilment in my career and struggled at times with my inner demons. Don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t all been bad; I’ve had many high points and experienced great happiness, but on the flip side too many God awful lows.
Even parenthood didn’t save me, an experience that for many serves as a seminal moment of adult enlightenment. Not me. I was far too busy indulging in an ill advised and tempestuous relationship to take my responsibilities as a father (or a husband) seriously enough.
In the book I’m reading at the moment, Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain, there’s a quote by Norman Mailer who described the desire to be cool as a “decision to encourage the psychopath in oneself, to explore that domain of experience where security is boredom and therefore sickness and one exists in the present, in that enormous present which is without past or future, memory or planned intention.
Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. Like the eponymous and deeply flawed hero of Californication, Hank Moody, I just wanted to be cool.
”Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts