Saturday, April 17, 2010

In which I contemplate the ideal life.

I'm not going to lie.  This feels like an assignment from Freshmen Philosophy class, where we have to read Plato's Republic and ponder how it applies today.

But why not?

So I guess I'm going to start by wishing for more wishes.  That is, to have the ideal life, one needs sufficient money.  How much money that is will obviously vary, but for me, a good rule of thumb is: can we take that amazing trip this summer, and still be in good shape if we're suddenly both unemployed when we get back?

So, let's take what I just said, and break it down: I want sufficient money, and I want to travel.

How do I make this money?

I'd love to be a writer.  I know the first step is to own it and say, "I am a writer," but I haven't felt to urge to write poetry in ages, I never finish my fiction (I'm a repeat-loser in NaNoWriMo), and my essays?  All right, let's be honest: how many of you are actually reading this?  It's a standard confidence issue, and it's one I try to work on.

Question for my fellow bloggers: what do you do when you hit the "publish" button and the question hits: What was the point of that?  Who cares?

Needed for ideal life: confidence.  How to get?

On this point, I am open to suggestions.

What do I hope to get from my travels?

I never got to study abroad in school, and of course all one ever hears about study-abroad is that it "changes your life" and "expands your horizons."  I'm an adult now, and as such, my personality and whatnot are pretty much carved in stone.  But I wouldn't object to some life-changing horizon expansion.

That's tough, though.  For our honeymoon, we spent two weeks in Italy.  It was amazing, but we spent the bulk of the trip running ragged, trying to fit a lifetime's worth of tourism in.  And that was totally worth it, but it doesn't tell me a whole lot about what it's like to be a part of that culture.  Oh, sure, there were bits and pieces -- if you want to eat dinner at 5:00, for example, your best bet is to find a place that serves lunch late -- but I picked up maybe three words of the language, and I'll never develop a taste for tripe.  I didn't even pick up very much inspiration to write (see above), and when you're surrounded by some of the greatest examples of art, culture, religion, and mythology in the world and have nothing to say...

So, in the broadest sense, I want to come away from my travels a better person, and I want to have more, and more important things, to say when I put pen to paper or fingers to keys.

Needed for ideal life: self-improvement

That's a goal unto itself, isn't it?  I want to be a better person, which means I have to figure out exactly what that means.  And I think that is a blog post for another day.

Needed for ideal life: inspiration

But one can't sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, can one?  After all, this whole post was based on a prompt I found somewhere (I couldn't tell you where) and set for myself.

On the other hand, this whole post is so much navel-gazing, which is far less interesting than the history and patronage of the Borgias and Medicis.  So there's that.


 Well, there's certainly more I can think of that would contribute to an ideal life, but this is a good start, especially since both elements come down to the same two goals:

Write more and improve yourself

And I suspect that, given who I am, each of those will encourage the other.

I am open to advice or stories.
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