Last year did not really had any cohesive theme except it being the first full calendar year that I was employed. And because of that, I feel like I haven’t been as in touch with science, philosophy, art, and ideas in general. The whole year I have been attempting to finish JR, unsuccessfully. The book is good and I love the sweeping broadness and delicate detail of Gaddis’s writing, but this whole year I have not been able to concentrate.
Since my work requires me to set goals and work towards them with fervor, I did not have the need to do the same in my private life. And so I flew through the waking moments, without specific objectives and without the will to think too much about what was happening. People came and went and I wasn’t even organized enough to want to see them again. One night, few drinks, not a lot of care about the sunrise. Art took on a new shape and I was almost bored with what I saw. The city, too, always dreadful and swaying back and forth with political propaganda and its haunted past.
Then later, I moved again and everything was again unfamiliar but distinctly western. That was a bit of a relief because I lost my patience already in Prague when it coms to bad service and shops being closed unexpectedly. It just got in the way of automating all of the unimportant parts of my life like buying birth control or getting my hair cut. Here, these things came easy again, without translation, completely automated.
But yet that’s been all to it so far. I haven’t grown to love the city yet as it feels less like one character than an ever changing sea of people and buildings that somehow seem to obscure the significance. I haven’t thought much about art except in the moments when watching a movie I noticed a scene where the aesthetics were either particularly excellent or particularly appalling. Writing itself did not leave too many impressions on me – but storytelling did become very important. I talked about a lot of novels that do not exist and I did start writing here. So some good things came of the year too.
I traveled a lot but I don’t feel like I learned a lot. I met interesting people but I am not sure if I still care about people being interesting. I thought a lot about the people who are no longer in my life and I mourned their loss, but I still did not regret that our paths parted. I started to realize what I want from myself and what I want from life and that is a lot more important to me than who I am. I know that I will keep changing because it has never happened that me last year was even remotely similar to me next year, but now I know the qualities that always remain and some of them I celebrate – like the fact that I am not a coward – and some of them I work on – like the fact that I am exceptionally selfish.
So the only focus I have is to grow. Grow like I used to before through books and art and having people around me who push me to be present. Besides that, I am slowly but surely getting back to creating. I guess at some point this year the need to create but more importantly the shame at not creating anything pushed me into the crazy waves and I had to produce something. And thank fucking god that this urge to create is only getting stronger each month – otherwise all I would be is yesterday’s business.
So there’s to the focus. One thing I learned finally is that if you tell yourself you want to be an artist, or writer, or physically fit, or financially stable, or a good friend or whatever, you will never succeed unless you first can become someone who does not fail himself. So first, focus on not failing yourself and all else will follow. And that’s basically how I spend each day: trying very hard not to fail myself.