Monday, December 18, 2006

What life really is

My senior year in high school I saw a short animated film on TV. A man on a bicycle rode up to a museum and walked in. As he roamed through the museum and looked at the different pieces of art, his physical form would change. When he looked at a Picasso, he became a little more square. When he looked at a Monet, he became a little more fuzzy and muted. Each experience with the art left a physical mark on him. By the time he walked out of the museum and got on his bike, he was a totally different person.

This is how I feel most of the time. Everything I read, all of my friends, all of the movies I see, the people I watch on the train, they all leave this imprint on me. In a way it's interesting. I think it's good to be open to different experiences and influences. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if I really am an individual seperate from other people or if the only way I can define myself is through other people and things.

As I mentioned earlier, I am reading Killing Yourself to Live. The part I read on the train this morning, Klosterman talks about how at some point he stopped doing certain things (going to meaningless keg parties - making random intense friends for only a night) and that he didn't mean to stop doing these things, he didn't concisously decide to stop doing these things, but he doesn't miss doing these things, and unless he really sits around and thinks about it, he didn't even realize how much his life had changed. I think everyone has these types of experiences. Those nights at the bar where you pratically share your entire life story with some person, feel that you connect with this person on every level, your thoughts are racing so fast it's hard to form the words, and you can barely contain the excitement in you at having found this person - and then you never talk to them again. Going out dancing, or to a show or to a movie almost every week and each time realizing how wonderful and full life is, how lucky you are that you get to have these experiences, and how they make you whole only to turn around and realize that you haven't seen a movie or show or been dancing in over six months. Some things that were important to you 10 years ago (even if they weren't all that profound), probably aren't important to you now. And these kinds of changes, these seem to me to be pretty universal events.

But are they really? Do I think they're universal because I consistantly define my life by the actions and thoughts of others? Because Klosterman says they happen to him and to everyone else, I feel they happen to me (and everyone else). Or even more importantly, because he says they happen to him, they have happened to me. And even more importantly than that, because I read this passage in a book about life and changing and whatnot, I immediately start to think how that defines me, what it means to me and how I can incorporate it into myself and then spew it back out so you believe that this is what is in me. Beginning this blog with a story about how going through life being open to experiences means being under the influence of these experiences. When maybe it's not what's in me, but a representation of what I saw in a short animated film and what I read in a novel, and these ideas were taken from other ideas and so on and on. Then again, maybe (and I'm saying just maybe - because I'm really not sure and doubt I'll ever be) that's what life really is.

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