vancouver, british columbia. september 2009.
i read this quote four, maybe five, years ago while i was working at second cup and not sure where my life was going.
“life is full of choices, if you have the guts to go for it. that’s why i get immediately bored with anyone’s complaining about how boring their life is, or how bad their town is. fucking leave and go somewhere else. or don’t.”
– henry rollins
its a stiff punch to the gut. and i remember reading it and thinking, “shit. maybe i should do something…decide something.”
it punched me into a lot of self-awareness. that if i didn’t like where i was living or the job i was working at or where my life was going or that i wasn’t doing what that person was doing or this person was doing, well, it’s a large percentage my fault. we like to escape that fact, that our current situation wasn’t our choosing or isn’t our fault.
well, maybe it is.
we like to be soft and sympathetic to people’s wailings, but what if the person sitting across from you stopped you mid-sentence and said, “i’m so frighteningly bored hearing about how much you hate your job, or that you can’t move for this reason or that reason, or that you have no one to call on friday night, or you wish you could hop a plane and go here…(in rollins words) fucking leave and go somewhere else. or don’t. just decide, for heavens sakes.”
i think a lot of people would be offended. or have hurt feelings. or be bruised and never go for coffee with that person again. because we like it when other people sympathize with our reasoning and nod in time with all our justifications. it’s why we have some of the friends we have.
we could all probably count on one hand the number of people we could actually tell to shove off and go do something about all their mouth motoring, and still be friends. we don’t like words that hurt our ears.
so maybe that’s why i’m glad a stranger said those words. i didn’t have the opportunity to look someone in the face and be offended. i was just straight-up slapped upside the head by a raconteur i don’t know.
and i’ve never forgotten it.
i’ve also never forgotten this one, also a good side-slap from a very handsome poet i don’t know.
“there’s no excuse to be bored. sad, yes. angry, yes. depressed, yes. crazy, yes. but there’s no excuse for boredom. ever.”
– viggo mortensen