What I’ve Learned

I feel myself slowly but surely becoming the man that I’ve always wanted to be. The man that I’ve known I could be. To sit quietly and calmly at the end of the day, enjoying a beer and staring idly at a burning candle or a clean and cozy room or a familiar movie and knowing that I’ve done my work. To no longer live like an amateur. To have turned pro.

In “The War of Art” and “Turning Pro,” Stephen Pressfield writes about the importance of behaving professionally as a person, specifically as an artist. But is turning pro really as revolutionary and decisive as Pressfield claims it is? Can the “Eureka!” moment truly be so profound, or is he taking poetic license? He makes it seem like it’s some monumental shift that occurs on a night when the stars are properly aligned, but I feel like it might be a gradual shift, and if it is then I know I’m on track.

In the past 6 months, I have trained myself to run 5K from scratch, developed a steady exercise habit, given more attention to by diet, lost about 10 pounds, and probably read more books than I have in the previous 4 years combined. I have found excitement in philosophy and history and nonfiction, and discovered some truly life-changing works of writing. I have learned to approach my life and actions with greater awareness, deliberation and restraint.

I accept that the world is one big power game. I realize the importance of strategy, and have begun to absorb its laws and patterns in order to apply them to my own existance. I have learned that the meaning of life is a question I must answer, not a question I may ask. I understand that creative acts can give life meaning, and so can a simple act of love. So can suffering, as long as it is done with dignity. I accept that very soon I will die. My body will serve as fertilizer; as the seed of whatever will eventually emerge from it.

What do I want when I die?

Only this:

I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna throughout my lifetime.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, http://youtu.be/k9vYdTZT79w?t=1m17s