Saturday, October 01, 2011

That Was a Good Episode

Anyone out there read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller? I won't go so far as to say it's a good read - don't get me started on the myriad issues that make it a terrible read - but it is definitely an interesting read, and depending on your personality, it could be a very good read for you. Still, whether you like it or not, it has some interesting points to consider. One the book makes that happens to be one I've thought about for years is this: Is your life the kind of story people would want to watch? Are you living the kind of story people would find compelling, or would they be bored by your main character (i.e. YOU)?

Possibly because of my narcissistic nature, I've lived my life this way for a long time. Of course, for a long time, I was narcissistic enough to think people actually were watching my life all the time. This turned out to be true only in my head and nowhere else. But still, I like to think about the what-ifs of my life as a reality show, or a memoir, or a bio-pic. Now, that's not to say I've always done a good job of living out an interesting story - I've only recently, like in the last couple years, gotten better at following through on my "What if people were watching this?" and actually responding, "Well then I'd better make it interesting."

Last weekend I think I did a better job of that than usual. I slept in late, and when I eventually stirred myself from bed, I began to consider my day. For a while, I was strongly tempted to make it a lounge day - you know, the kind of day where you never get out of PJ's, and after a couple hours of watching TV you feel like it's already time for a nap. But I figured that's not very interesting, neither to me nor to the imaginary viewers of my reality show. It also doesn't create any memories, and what's the point of living a life that's not worth remembering? So I decided to create some memories. I walked downtown, had some coffee, and bought a day-pass for the train that runs up and down the area. No planned destination, just a day for adventure.

Way more fun than a lounge day, at least in my opinion. Not sure about my viewers - I haven't seen the ratings yet.


And, to end, some highlights of my work wardrobe recently:


fjd said...

It occurs to me the desire to see one's life as a story may be associated with enjoying character-based stories. I generally prefer hard science fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction about scientific discoveries to character-based writing. And I have no interest in viewing my life as a story in which I'm the main character. (It would be hideously boring.) However, I *do* sometimes imagine other people going through my code, notes, and reports and figuring out how various technical challenges were overcome. Kind of like hard science fiction or a mystery novel. So, to increase the sample size to two: do you prefer character-based stories to ones that focus on abstract ideas and plots?

Clair said...

I used to live in Hillsdale. I hope you enjoyed your adventures there. My last year of college, five friends and I lived in a house, and we used to often consider what our viewers would think if we were a sitcom. It definitely prompted us to turn off the TV and do things on our lazy days. I may have to adopt that mindset on the days I want to hide under the covers.

Anonymous said...


Still check here in every couple of months for old times' sake, but don't really comment. Glad to see you're doing well.

I guess this kind of sentiment was what I was trying to spark years ago when we rode around aimlessly on stupid bikes downtown. You were borderline despondent; I was reeling from a fresh divorce and the deaths of several friends.

I guess after that I never really stopped. Stepping blindly off the cliff, I suppose. Kept going. It led me around the world and back. After even more pain and wonder it gave me a great fiancee and a (I kid you not) a 3-legged asshole of a cat.

So while I really have nothing of importance to say, I would encourage you to keep unraveling and see what's at the end of the string.