10.42 pm

One of the many things I wish I’d learned earlier in life is how to be happy. I mean, how to really just be a master at the whole lemonade-making enterprise. I do know it now — all kinds of things make my day better; what I had for breakfast, how much I ran, how many lines of code I wrote, the weather — but some days are just difficult. Well, harder.

Self-pity is one of the things that does not help. In fact, it is the worst possible fuel for my occasionally luridly colored imagination. But the problem with being a strong, independent person is that one wants other people to be strong and independent against.

Occasionally one doesn’t want to be strong at all.

I was — surprise — watching another House of Cards episode. I don’t want to reveal anything so I’ll say that this is an episode in which one of the characters professes to believing in something so strongly that he’d die for it. I wondered if I believed in anything that strongly, then I wondered if that would make my life easier. Purpose is clarity, after all.

But I suspect that life is infinitely stranger, harder, and more complex than our beliefs. Our minds can be changed. Reality cannot.

I am sometimes casually astonished by how many things that I thought of in the purest abstract have gone from theory to reality. Taxes, for instance, or holding a 9-to-5 job. I was watching the new Star Wars and Hans Solo says something like, “I never ask myself if it’s possible until after I’ve done it.” This sort of thing is true to a remarkable degree, I’ve found. It’s only when I stop to breathe that I realize how much I’m underwater.

The really funny thing about all these random philosophical thoughts is that I’m not even trying to impress anyone. Unfortunately these are the sorts of weighty things that I cudgel my brain with at 10.42 pm, when I should be thinking about going to bed.

Some days are hard because I don’t want to think; I want to be given the answers. Of course, this is not how reality works.

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