Man Seeks Muse

It’s a beautiful late spring morning. The sun is ascending to its post high in the sky. The birds are chirping and lingering in the air is a slight chill – a reminder to enjoy these mornings for they will come to an end shortly. For in the coming weeks the greens will yield to brown and the sun will unleash biblical floods of heat. Right now though, it’s perfect. I can hear the gals next door (chickens) rising from their slumber. Huck is lying on the patio next to me. Violet is standing guard as usual. Always on alert for potential threats to her dad and brother; pacing, tail wagging, possessed by pure joy and contentment. These are the types of mornings that I dream about during the week. Being able to wake when I choose. Being able to sit on the porch with the pups and enjoy some coffee and the quiet, still, start-up of the world around me.

And yet, inevitably, this feeling will yield to a combination of anxiety and boredom and the question, “What’s next?” Should I do some pushups? Go to the farmers market? Wash my car? Learn how to play the accordion? This is one of the hardest questions that I can possibly ask myself. The reason, I believe, is simple. How to alleviate the confusion and frustration, and how to correct it going forward isn’t as simple. At its core this question is my philosophical Achilles heel. For as much time as I spend in my head, I can’t seem to unwrap the fortune inside the cookie. I’m sure that it’s there. I’m sure that it’s ‘hiding in plain sight.’ If its a snake, it’ll probably bite me. Are you as tired of the platitudes as I am yet?

Purpose. Meaning. Mission statement. A calling. I understand the words. I understand the connotation. I can imagine what it would be like to posses them. To harness them. To exploit them. To use them for good or evil. I just don’t have ‘it.’ I want ‘it.’ I want it more than I want money or success or happiness, generally speaking.

I’m going to be 35 this coming week. Over the past several years I have been coming to grips with my own mortality. I had never been scared of death. Never really paid much attention to it. One, because I was young and didn’t feel symptoms of the continual and slow deterioration of this fleshy consciousness containment vessel. And two, because its a biological necessity that cannot be overcome. It has to happen. It’s going to happen. You can’t stop it. What I have come to appreciate about death though is the power that it holds over your psyche. If I found out tomorrow that I had terminal cancer and had three months to live, would I be content with what I have accomplished up to this point? Will I glide into death with resolve and peace for a life well lived or will I be racked with regret for what could have been?

It is my belief that a life lived with purpose and meaning is what allows a person to make a stoic and peaceful exit from this realm and join the next without any of that pesky mind-cluttering baggage. It’s difficult to describe what it feels like to know that you are wasting time, but not having any god damn idea what to do to correct it. Equally frustrating is not having any desire to do anything. Not out of laziness, or even the confines of depression. It’s more like knowing that I could spend my time hiking to the top of a mountain and immersing myself in the great outdoors or spend the day cleaning my bungalow and organizing the pantry and still feel the same at the end of the day… 🤷‍♂️ I keep hoping that inspiration or ‘the answer’ will just get tired of me being me and come out of the ether and slap me upside the head. But I know that is not how this works. The answers arrive by doing the work. By putting in the time and effort. Crops don’t magically grow themselves. One must tend to their fields in order to reap the rewards of harvest.

So today I will keep trying what I think is the best approach to discovering that overarching and guiding principle through which I can live with purpose and meaning . I’ll keep reading the books and listening to the podcasts and searching for inspiration. I’ll read about Tom being Tom and rely on the wisdom of Mulder that the truth is in fact out there somewhere. Like SETI shooting messages into to space looking for a reply, I’ll keep thrusting feelers into the void hoping to snag a muse.

If yours isn’t currently busy, have em’ call me, K?

7 thoughts on “Man Seeks Muse

  1. Dylan, I love the way you think and that you are thinking about so much, all of the time. Your writing is, as ever, brilliant and inspired and of course, thoughtful. “For as much time as I spend in my head, I can’t seem to unwrap the fortune inside the cookie” I love this! I am always so happy when I see you have posted. Enjoy your time on the patio with your dogs, the taste of your coffee and the moments of Spring. Forget about the mountain for a little while. It isn’t going anywhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How are those accordion lessons coming along?

    (somehow i misspelled accordion and windows had to correct me. who misspells “accordion”?)

    I was 35 once, believe it or not. I was so afraid of 40 I threw my life away. Literally. At 35 I was in the aftermath of dumping my business, my home, my hometown, and all the friendships I had built over the first 1/3 (okay, roughly half) of my life. And I was afraid to die, like you wouldn’t believe. Not for the usual reason, or maybe it is. I was afraid that, someday, I would stop being Tom. I mean, I’ve spent my whole life on him, how can he just someday VANISH?!

    It’s the only time I envy the religious folk. They have convinced themselves of an eternal life fantasy I don’t share.

    So, about that time, I went into reading (and writing) about immortality. “Live Long Enough to Live Forever,” Ray Kurzweil said, and I wanted to believe it.

    But now, I’m 50. I don’t see that event on the horizon, not in my lifetime. And 40 came and went and instead of wondering what I’d accomplished by the time I was 40 (or 50) I had the best decade of my life. I ain’t gonna tell ya to stop pushing; I wouldn’t change a thing about my 30’s because without that evolution my 40’s could not have happened.

    So I’ll just say I love you, man. I love you exactly as you are. Dylan being Dylan is my favorite thing. I WISH you would have come over this weekend and had all-day margaritas with Christie and me, but if wishes were horses we’d all be drunk all day.

    No idea what that means.

    But just keep being Dylan. It will come. Your muse showed up this morning (two days ago) and you wrote this wonderful piece about life, spring mornings, dogs, and the meaning of damn life. That’s pretty impressive.

    And, you know what, you can borrow my muse anytime. Just return him (her?) when you’re done in roughly the shape you borrowed it/them. New ones are expensive and hard to find, and never have the same feel as the original. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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