Trying To Figure Out What’s Important

It’s hard to remember the important things in life. Hell, it’s hard to know what’s important. We live in an age of a thousand distractions. It’s almost like a test. “We’re going to give you all of this bullshit to contend with and it’s your job to strip it all away and find meaning.” Technology has, in many ways, spelled the death of the quiet moment. We spend so much time furthering ourselves in our careers that everything just ends up feeling so self-serving and hollow in the end. Like one long circle jerk. We convince ourselves that we don’t need anything else. We don’t need anything other than the validation of people we don’t really care about, disposable income, and a nice job. And for a second we actually believe all of it. Then we think about the times in which we were happiest and they usually involve someone else. Oops, you’re figuring it out. Don’t run away now.

If I look at Twitter feeds and blog posts long enough, I start to feel sick to my stomach because all I see are the endless walls we’re building up, myself included. Maybe this means that we weren’t ever meant to share ourselves in such a public way.  It was all an experiment that’s gone terribly awry and now we’re left with a screwed human connection. The lesson I’m learning is this: Share yourself with everyone and you’ll find yourself feeling connected to no one. I think we try to forget how much love we have to give. We want to be earnest, we want to give away all this love like it’s a half off sale, but we’re told this is not the time to do so. Again, it’s all of the distractions that have made it much harder for us to get to the truth of things. Some of us are getting swallowed up by all of it and deluding ourselves into believing that this is it. This must be what it’s like to be human. I understand why. It’s easier to accept that this is life. It’s easy to slink away from the vulnerable moments and throw ourselves into something inauthentic.

We want to fall asleep with someone in the middle of the afternoon and wake up with the daylight gone and still feel safe. Yeah, bitch, I know that sounds like a Death Cab For Cutie song but you can deal with it. Sincerity won’t bite. You want to give all of your love to someone who deserves it, someone who won’t treat your heart like a tossed around football. This is hard to find these days because so many people seem to be protecting themselves against genuine moments. “AGGH, BRAIN IS MALFUNCTIONING FROM THE REALNESS OF LIFE. MUST TWEET A FUNNY JOKE TO KEEP IT AT BAY!” Keep getting that BJ from your computer, buddy. Go for it.

I don’t want to be a person who gets swallowed up in this reality and forgets the other more important one. I don’t want to become “open” in one way and closed off in the other. It’s hard though. Distractions are everywhere and they all lead away from the 3 p.m. afternoon nap. Of course, there’s a gross irony in writing about all of this in a blog post, but I don’t care. In a way, what better place is there to discuss the evils of the internet than on the internet?  Because, dear reader, I bet you’re picking up what I’m putting down. You get it. You’re living it.

With everything, it’s all about achieving a balance. Life would be boring if you just lived with your lover in isolation and took long naps every day. After all, we have a lot of needs that must be met. If you’re passionate about something, you can actually derive much joy from your career. It has nothing to do with making money and being a consumer. You just need to do it because it makes you happy and takes you to a powerful place. You get in the zone and it feels as good as any other amazing moment in your life. You just have to be wary of the noise, I guess. You have to swat away at the cacophony that comes along with it. You have to remember what’s important because if you don’t, if you let yourself forget, you’ll live surrounded by the static. TC mark

Image via tiffany!

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/neusdadt Arbie Baguios

    That DCFC bit made this whole article!

  • Anonymous

    The inconvenient truth.

  • Lindsaypnorman

    Favorite lines: 
    You just have to be wary of the noise, I guess. You have to swat away at the cacophony that comes along with it. You have to remember what’s important because if you don’t, if you let yourself forget, you’ll live surrounded by the static.

  • http://twitter.com/shelbyemustang Shelby Bourne

    This is a very poignant read.  Thank you.

  • Natalie

    Ryan, I’ve been a TC reader for a long time and have been following your stuff. This one is something special, thank you.

  • _DB

    “Yeah, bitch, I know that sounds like a Death Cab For Cutie song but you can deal with it.”
    Love this line way too much.
    Great article!

  • Greg E.

    ” Of course, there’s a gross irony in writing about all of this in a blog post, but I don’t care.”

    This, my dear friends, is the take-away line of this entire piece. Hell, I’d almost say this enite site. Aticles like this do very little, if any, to counter the very arguments they put forth. This only serves to validate this way of thinking, succinct and self-helpy enough that by merely nodding in agreement you’re meant to feel as if you’re actually making strides to change. You are not. We’ll never figure out whats important if all we’re doing is reading and writing ‘gee whiz, I wish i could figure out whats important. curse you internetz!’ on the internet. Most of us will never stop this madness until we feel uncomfortable, and we’ll never feel uncomfortable because we have the internet. It has made everyone self-aware enough to recognize there is a problem, but apathetic enough to not care to actually DO anything about it. Unfortunately, this only adds to the white noise.

    And with that said, I am done reading Thought Catalog. The only way to rid yourself from this angsty post-collegiate “omg ugh what is life i dont even” mentality is to not associate with it. Go out and do something.

    Or, y’know, keep not caring.

    • Tiffany

      Hate to see you go…but love to watch you leave…Bye!

    • Lauren Ramsdell

      I am taking your comment, putting it in a Word document, printing it out, then copying it in a pretty marker on lovely paper and hanging it above my door so I see it before I leave every morning.

      Then I’m getting off of the computer. Thank you.

    • Vincenttreglia

      Powerful entry, even more powerful response. Thank you.

    • Jaimie

      When I grow up, i wanna be like you. For reals.

  • http://twitter.com/SoosSahar ..

    “Share yourself with everyone and you’ll find yourself feeling connected to no one.”yeah, I do that.

  • Jacqueline

    Technology has, in many ways, spelled the death of the quiet moment.
    that was my favorite bit

  • cheeseplatter

    omg we’re living in Brave New World

  • Sophia

    I love the difference between this and your “Hot or Not” videos. It’s just cool to see you have both a really funny ridiculous side and a side that can write some really good stuff. 

  • Christopher Glemaud

    I, too, have recently delved in the…existential? Spiritual? Let’s go with the latter. I’ve successfully cut out most distractions of late (400+ “friends” on FB were deleted, useless socializing diminished, less drugs.) All this lead to me being with Myself a whole lot more. 

    There’s a moment we all have in the shower. A sense of understanding of an issue or we come to an answer to a pressing question. Why is it in the damn shower all the time? It’s because we sit and focus on ourselves. We delve into the deepest tranches of our psyche, and that, my friends, is one scary place. 

    Distractions — like the internet — simply stop us from delving into our minds. From figuring our own shit out first and THEN figuring out the world and what’s most important. What’s important? Love! Loving yourself and accepting yourself. Loving life and its up and downs. Loving everyone and all they have to offer. The Universe is kind to those who love from the inside out. 

  • http://twitter.com/mitzyredmango Mitzy

    “If you’re passionate about something, you can actually derive much joy from your career. It has nothing to do with making money and being a consumer. You just need to do it because it makes you happy and takes you to a powerful place.”
    I think this is what a lot of people are missing these days. They work for the money (well, because they have to), and some end up really miserable about it. Some really dare to go after the career they want despite it not being well-paid. But, if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, you enjoy it no matter how small the pay is. 

    This is a nice article. :) 

  • Tiffany Shinn

    Absolutely love this.  I couldn’t agree more.  In other words, yes, I’m picking up what you’re putting down. 

  • Jessica

    Thank you, Ryan

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