Monday, 24 September 2007

The Secret to Happiness (the art of complaining)

I have never felt better, i've often concluded, in the physical and subsequent mental sense, than i did when i was a messenger.
After a few months of trotting around the city at a needlessly quickened pace, dodging nyc pedestrians and efficient trajectories alike with vigor and expertise, i began to notice a difference in my physiology, my moods, my sleep patterns, and my appetite. any of you who have spoken to me in the past 6 months have heard this already, but it bears repeating.
i calculated that i must have been walking around 20-30 miles per day. i ate three big meals and stuff in between. i slept deeply from the moment i laid my head on the pillow to the moment my alarm would go off in the morning. i experienced physical exhaustion at the end of every day, which translated to a state of bliss. my appetite was huge, my digestive system worked like a well-oiled machine (heh).
perhaps my greatest piece of evidence was that during this time, i was in serious debt to my friend, i was very lonely, over-worked (i also had a restaurant job by night), and under played - i seldom went out or saw my friends... sounds like a recipe for disater.
but i was fine. i felt great. perhaps it was simply an effective blinder from whatever else was going on at the time.
but ever since i left that job and began my desky office job, i've been dreaming of returning. it's romantic to me. i video taped everything, everywhere i went. i often slipped into cathedrals and meditated. i would stretch my delivery times to the limit, cut through parks, visit friends for lunch, take N train trips over the Manhattan bridge to tape the river...
i mean, the more i think about it, the more i miss what i had. i was paid to wander one of the most amazing cities in the world.
and even though i am now paid 50% more to do things like write this blog and read the news, i often consider taking the pay cut and returning to the position. i held the messenger job during the dead of winter, and owed much of my success to my infamous ski pants, which i took great pride in... especially when i entered an interior space and had the opportunity to take my pants off in front of complete strangers. if i were to take the messenger job again, i think i would do so when the winter hits. when i switched jobs and hung the pants up in my closet i felt like i was retiring a superhero cape.
when i bring this issue up to my friends and loved ones, they often encourage me to try to get my old job back. it seems like a no-brainer; take the pay cut and stop talking about how great being a messenger was, if you love it so much, if the health benefits were so great, than isn't that enough?
the answer to this question is part of an even bigger issue, which is where the meat of this blog entry lies...

I am trying to save some money up, preferably more than i've ever held in a bank account before, to prepare for the next phase of my life, where i propose returning to school to get my Master's degree in fine arts. In the past few years i have written a number of passionate and dumbed-down rants about my hatred for life in new york. i am always on the fence, rocking back and forth between loving it up here and despising my quality of life since leaving florida. these rants have never concluded with a desire to return to florida, but they have left me hungry for leaving New York. One of the big reasons is that i feel like i have no time for nurturing my passions. rent is so high that we are forced to work long hours, the commutes are so long... the result is a scramble to enjoy a few things on the weekends. this is terrible, stupid, and will not do. sorry if i sound like a baby, but i have things i want to do in life, places i want to go, and i'll do it wearing rags and stoing away on ships if i have to.
i started thinking that if i went back to school, i would not only have the time to focus on what i want to do, i'd have dedicated professors devoting time to me, and i'd be connected to the industry that might someday support me. the financial strain troubles me a bit, but i'd rather be a failed and impoverished artist than a mildly successful and disgruntled shipping coordinator.
I've thought of just taking out a huge loan, paying for school and not working much, if at all, and just living the dream in NYC while i'm here.i didn't come here to work my ass off at dead-end jobs. i did that in florida. i came here in an effort to immerse myself in a world that might embrace what i love to do, extending tethers out in all directions, holding on to the idea that one might eventually grab hold to something with a charge. isn't that why every dreamer comes to nyc?
so far i have these truths to hold on to:
doing the art thing independently/non-academically while working a full-time job to support myself is not working for me.
debt is not something that i fear enough to stay completely away from.
a rigorous physical routine is essential to general happiness and well being.
the more money i make, the more money i spend. my bank account doesn't seem to grow in relation to my income.
i have spent three years in new york this month. i feel like i am at square one. many times i feel like moving back to florida and re-grouping, planning another 'push' in another place. as reliable as the wonderful distraction of NYC is in making me smile from time to time, i can rely equally on the return of my anxiety and discontent.
I was all geared up to start this new plan when i started researching grad schools, and reading their application requirements.
i felt a little stupid when reality bit me in the ass... i have done practically no new work in the past year. aside from sketchbooks, which are a strong point for me, i have made one sculpture. no new paintings, significant drawings, and i never completed a series of
boats like i had planned to. i really don't have the time. the schools i want to apply to require recent work in submission portfolios, preferably from the previous year.
all of this means that i have a lot of work to do, if i want to apply to school for Fall 2008.
thinking about waiting until 2009 is a downer. So i have decided to get on it, and if i don't make my deadlines, then at least i'll have a relevant, updated portfolio ready to go for 2009.
as far as everything else goes, i have relocated and lowered my monthly rent, which helps immensely. i feel a little more in control of my life, and i love my new apartment.
i'm sick of feeling like every moment has to count up here, too. that's definitely a new yorkism that can suck it. i like to relax.
i don't give a shit about how hard people work up here. that doesn't sound like fun to me.
'till next time,
p.s. read
plasticblog, it's good.


my current plan is to write a monthly blog.