Well, I’ve been in Philadelphia for one full calendar year and I still don’t have a Pennsylvania driver’s license. But this isn’t about a license. Or Philadelphia, really.
In this past year of sticking it to the Pennsylvania DMV (and other various government associations), there hasn’t been one time when I sat down to simply write. Well, sure, I write everyday. Propagating brand promises across the airwaves. But really writing? Not once all year. Not that I can remember, at least. And lately, that has been scaring the living shit out of me. So much so that I’ve developed a healthy fear that I may have lost my ability to write anything longer than a sharp headline or witty tagline.
I’ve been questioning things. I’ve missed journalism. Real writing. I sold out. But then I’ve thought there must be a reason I left that world. It can’t be that journalism was the only thing keeping me from telling stories, can it? I hope not. But for 365 days, the blank page has been winning. And we simply cannot have that.
So here we are. Putting black on the white. Tap-tap-tapping the keys in the corner of a crowded coffee house atop an unstable stool with an already empty mug.
At the one-year mark in this city, I once again find my mind and body riddled with a certain sense of discontent. Not to be confused with sadness or unhappiness, I view discontent as the literal lack of contentment. One doesn’t necessarily have to be connected to the other, though it seems like many people tend to automatically tie that knot.
I’ve always found myself avoiding this contentment we speak of. Never settle, keep exploring, don’t get too attached. Seek something new when things become stagnant. So to find myself feeling this way should come as no surprise to anyone, me especially. But in what will surely come as a complete mindfuck to many, the real issue I’m having is that I am becoming discontent with feeling so damned discontent.
I’ve accepted that itchy feet are a part of my anatomy. Sitting in one place for any great length has always, after a good enough amount of time, prompted the old get-up-and-go gear. It comes on subtly, but grows, and I’ve yet to figure out how to silence it without packing my bags and shipping off towards something new. I’ve always thought I were alone in my discontent, but in these past few years, I think it’s safe to say most of us are in this position.
For me, the blossoming question is why? Why can’t we find comfort in routine? Is it a fear of commitment? A fear of redundancy? A fear of missing out on elsewhere, wherever that may be? And a more alarming question: is this how it will always be?
What if we want marriage? A family? A house that we’ve lived in long enough to make it a home? Will these things come at 30? 40?
But getting lost in those sorts of thoughts for too long doesn’t do us any good. So while they sometimes become loud enough to shake the foundation of our being, we forge ahead.
However, knowing we’re not the only ones tiptoeing among these thoughts is important, in my eyes. Because for all of the nicknames society has for us – be it Generation Y, Generation Me, millennials, hipsters, boomerang kids, lazy good-for-nothing spoiled bastards – it is our discontent that drives us, and we must embrace that.
It is acting on our angst that will allow us to define ourselves in the grand scheme of things. And it is seriously important that we continue to do so. Never let your discontent settle on the back burner. Face it head on. Find out what pisses you off and work to change it, be it on a personal or global level. Uncover injustice. Petition for the deportation of Justin Bieber. Take an Internet quiz to find out which city you really belong in, and then go there.
This isn’t meant to be any sort of preachy rant or grand philosophy. More of an internal rallying cry for the writer and whoever else might be feeling the great discontent themselves.
Never let your discontent become your unhappiness. Use it to motivate you, to fuel your next project or your next move, but never let it bog you down. And don’t look at it negatively, either. This is what keeps you going. It keeps life fresh. What good is routine if it’s never broken?
“Wasn’t he trying to light up the very dilemma the sixties had stumbled over? The problem of how to go with the holy flow and at the same time take care of basic biz? Sure, you can to thine own cells be true and liberate parking lots from the pigs, but how do you keep them free of future swine without turning into something of a cop yourself?”