What is experience and how can I get some?

A post by this fellow, Anonymole, got me thinking about experience and the poor use I make of my life.

I have never had anything that would qualify, in most people’s books, as “experiences.” I have never traveled more than 75 miles from home. Never camped or drove across the company. No concerts. No bungee jumping or mountain climbing or backpacking through Thailand. I’ve never been on a family vacation. I’ve never lived alone. I don’t even drive.  

Good fortune located me relatively near a major city, so that I at least had the opportunity to earn my graduate degree there. Ah yes, my worthless degree, depreciating by the day.

My first impulse is to blame it all on my excessively overprotective parents who stunted me for life and from whom I inherited many neuroses. But then again, my older sister had no trouble learning to drive, finding a job in the field she studied, getting married, and buying a house. Me, I sit at home with my stuffed animals. Thank God I am in a committed relationship or I’d really be screwed. And honestly, have I not reached the age when it’s time to stop blaming my parents? First, they never had any means to begin with, and second, at this stage of the game it’s my own damn fault.

I don’t know what it is that separates people who have the strength and spirit to go out there and do whatever they like from those who cannot even muster the courage to take the bus by themselves. How I navigated around that big city by myself—though within a specifically defined area—when I was in graduate school is absolutely beyond me. I have nothing in common with that self anymore except fear and insecurity. All I can do is sit by and enviously watch other people, you know, live.

I could be tempted to offer the excuse that  I suffered from undiagnosed epilepsy until I was thirty. My extreme fear of attacks prevented me from trying to do things on my own. There was a period of time when I could not even enter a grocery store because I had several of what turned out to be seizures in them, among other places. But even then, there are people with much worse problems who are able to succeed. Oh, poor me, I have psychic seizures, I cannot go out—yet there are plenty of people with poorly controlled tonic-clonics who do as they please and have great success. So it’s clearly a question of courage and will, both of which I seem to lack.

(At least I have the good sense to stay off the road, though.)

To make myself feel better, I tell myself that the seizures fried my brain. Yup, that must be it. Although my shit retail job didn’t help either. I leave behind a trail of dead brain cells everywhere I go. Yup yup yup.

Some of my ignorance is simply unavoidable. Having never traveled, it’s quite embarrassing to be seated at a table with others (the future in-laws, in particular) who travel around the world regularly. Places whose names I’ve only see on a map or heard on NPR roll right off their tongues, as though they were merely saying they went to the next town over.

I would love to be able to claim over them a massive intellect and knowledge, but I cannot make that claim, either; not by any means because of theirs, but because of my own failure to maximize the great intellectual opportunities I do have. Instead I sit there dumbly, and pray no one asks me about my family and where would I like to go on our honeymoon. That’s another issue entirely: asking me about things neither I nor my family can afford, or when I’m going to get my passport. I don’t even drive the one mile to work, and yet you ask me where I’d like to vacation?

But don’t I have twenty-fours in a day, the same as everyone else does? I have no right to complain to anyone but myself if I don’t make good use of them. Take even this little blog, for instance. I haven’t posted in over two weeks. You wanna know why? Because I’ve gotten addicted to Mario Kart Tour on my phone and I spend all my time in the evening playing that instead of writing. I feel like an idiot for even admitting that.

I can only blame my parents for so long, because no one can smother your mind unless you let them. One has the right—and should wield the power—to fight for the sovereignty of one’s mind and imagination. If I give that up not to them, nor anyone else, but to a phone app, or whatever stupid thing that takes up my time, whose fault is that but my own? And I can only blame seizures for so long. I had them all through college and managed to excel. Now all of a sudden they prevent me from using my head? If I’m not leaving the house by myself anyway, why can’t I use that time to do something intellectual? Oh, I remember why: because I’m a lazy piece of shit.

The diplomas on my wall silently mock me. What a waste of a good education. I’ve forgotten more than I learned. Every minute of the day, I could choose to do something other than whatever nonsense I happen to be doing at that moment. I cannot help what I do at work, but I can help all the rest of the time. Hell, my job doesn’t even require all that much brain power. I don’t need to stay up to 2:00am trolling and fighting people in the YouTube comment sections. I could try reading some of the hundred books waiting to be read between my bookshelf and my Kindle. Instead of staring into a magnifying mirror and hunting for blackheads to dig out of my face, perhaps I could try, I dunno, learning the state capitals or the presidents.


Related: In Search of Lost Knowledge

43 thoughts on “What is experience and how can I get some?

  1. That YouTube trolling is mind jello. Fuck those people. The quantity of idiots only increases as you look for them, so don’t. Otherwise, if you’re distracting yourself to clear your mind to think, cool. If not, slap yourself. Look, we’re all insecure and foolish, waiting to be discovered as frauds or pretenders regardless of how well we execute. So shrug it off. The very first thing that’s important is nobody cares as much as we think they do, screw them. Admit you don’t know what a Bernaise sauce is. or when you order cold, undercooked tuna when you have no idea what you’re ordering because it’s a French restaurant in Mexico City eSt it or push it around your plate and listen to the conversation. People don’t care if you join in or not. I should tell the story of a flatland Okie Boy’s first real west coast introduction to his future as an artist relations manager.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks. You are right, as usual. In-laws and future in-laws, though, have a vested interest in seeing you squirm. If they can expose you enough, maybe you’ll go away. Because, obviously, you’re a terrible reflection on them, right? Well, works both ways… I don’t worry about them too much anymore. It’s just a nuisance. It’s more shame and anger at myself because I have wasted opportunities to learn.

      I could reduce trolling, but I can’t give it up. There’s a.. certain belief system.. and this system has a… founder…who married a 9 yr old, tortured people for money, dunked flies in his food, and walked around covered in semen. And when you point this out to his adherents, hilarity ensues when they defend all of the above. Trolling them is a popular hobby among many people; at least until they kill you, anyway.

      What happened to the Okie fellow?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The founder up there sounds like a standard issue resident of the woods outside Arkadelphia. I spent a year there one week in an old trailer with a loaf of stale bread, a couple of packages of baloney, a paper bag of bad, dry weed and a 10 inch black and white TV.

        The Okie? He went from hillbilly space case to cleverly disguised hillbilly space case. A case of true vocational camo.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Hetty. Just a thot.
    I think it’s neat how streamlined and efficient your life seems to be. How little effort goes into it.
    Y’know what would really suck is if you were jet-setting and working your ass of and were STILL wanting more.
    You’re digging into something real here. Real human, quite relatable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll take that at face value. I don’t know that my life is “streamlined and efficient,” it’s really more treading water because it’s my fault I didn’t make the effort to learn to swim. And yes, I should work harder and put more effort–that’s another reason for shame. Being at home may sound easy, but there’s a price. Namely, being your parents’ parent, among other things.

      I do agree, it would suck if I could do it all and still feel lacking. I believe we can only find meaning within ourselves, wherever we happen to be, whether it be faith in God or whatever one chooses to fill in the hole with. The lacking cannot be outrun, it finds you under your bed or in a skyscraper on the other side of the globe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Being at home can be tough. But when we turn our outlook around even that changes.

        In life there is always a feeling of lacking, as what we chase is an outwardly world. But if we go inside and work on our character and goodness, then we have tools not to feel lack, and we feel whole. Or at we at least get ourself out of a rut.

        Laziness hits us all. So does overwhelm. And sadness. So does seeing lack in our life.

        Parents, in laws , are all people, all work in progress. All have hardship. Learn their story, what they where like at school, at home with their parents, as kids,, what was married life like. You will find their story, and how they dealt with the hand life dealt. You will see their difficulties, their dreams, what they face up, what they tolerated and you will learn so much. It will be a true learning. And you will realise something . I realise she is my mum but I don’t her that well. I love getting to know her story.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Hot,

    We all have to make our own way and every moment is an experience. If one can be kind and polite, they are halfway home, and we are all going home. What of the rest? Everyone is twisting about and either one ventures into the world or the backyard, neither is superior to the other. The thing to avoid is boredom. Isolation is the friend of boredom. I wish you luck and please know that luck is a real thing. Duke PS, the Convert is right, as he usually is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s nice to see you, Mr. Miller. I’ve missed you. You are right in everything you say. Boredom is a real waste of time, a precious resource, perhaps the primary resource. That’s why I’m mad at myself. At least there’s a remedy to be grasped at any time.

      Thank you for the song. It’s something I would have liked right away if I found it first.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m busy publishing next book which will be ready in a week or two. I’m expecting you to talk to your boss about making a bulk purchase for inclusion in your Christmas inventory. I suggest placing it near the lady’s lingerie. Mr. Duke

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That sounds very exciting! I would talk to her, but judging by her emails, I don’t think she knows how to read. The funny thing is I did sell lingerie for a while so for a second I was like whooaa how did he know?!

          Like

  4. Well, this has gone all touchy-feely. I’m waiting for a ‘Jesus loves you’ or ‘win one for the gipper’ meme. I’ll go a parable for you, though. There was this fella out workin’ a job site one day and the blade flew off a buzz saw, hit him square in the ass. Never got over it. Coulda lived with the scar and moved on, but no, the rest of his life he kept thinkin’ about that saw blade and which tooth of it was the one hurt the worst.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s funny in one way because of the mental image, but pathetic too, because I’ve been like that, and I know it’s a waste of time. Don’t wanna live like that, putting energy into nursing injuries. But old habits do die hard.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Dearest Hetty, big big hug. I want to say please don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have different life and success is not the same for all. Life throws curve balls non stop and it can be exhausting.

    I know that in my younger years it really got me that my life wasn’t like others it got me down. When I turned 30 I was so happy to be out the comparing 20’s. But some of that lingered into my 30’s.

    But one day I decide to accept my life, my choices, and my circumstances. I started to live, without feeling bad that I don’t the standard.

    Even our parents have it rough. They are learning too. I lost my dad at 22 and oh life never never never was the same again. Mum had to do things she never did. She was learning to drive at 48.

    My point is it never to late to change our life. We are never to old to learn, change . The Soul is always young.

    Health issues do cause issues. But honestly with help you can get past it. -i hope.

    My mum learnt driving at 48. Learnt computers to use msword. At that age. And at age of 72 she learnt data entry into sage accounts. After a triple heart by pass, dual pacemaker.

    My point is, Hetty. You to me are highly talented and skilled. You are motivated. And you are capable of whatever you dream.

    Create a dream and go for it.

    My mum and I live together. And I keep learning from her. We never went on a family holiday. I said to my dad let’s go on a family holiday when I graduated. But he died in my final year.

    I am not comparing you life and my life. I just wish to inspire you, to kind to be yourself, and to dream and you will achieve.

    And I understand the feeling of not recognizing parts of your life. I felt the same with my life.

    Also be kind on yourself as this pandemic is making us all lose the plot. We all must be kind and just hang in there. And I am guessing it is winter / autumn wear you are. The change in weather can impact our mood. Hang in there.

    I don’t know if this helps at all.

    Big big hugs. At least at home you save money, learn from your parents good stuff., cooking other things. If u want more of a life take on more responsibilities at home and you really feel so much better.
    Make being at home an opportunity to learn and grow and become an all rounder.

    Do take care of yourself. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thanks so much, Bella. I am grateful to learn all of that about you. You’re right about taking the positive approach to thinking about our circumstances. In a comment I made to someone else here, I said that being my parents’ emotional parent is a price. And truthfully, it does complicate my life a bit. But–I hear you telling me about losing your father (which I am so sorry happened too early for both of you), and then I think, geez, I ought to be more grateful I can spend time with them while I can. Life is like that, I guess. There are so many angles. I have to put more love into things.

      I am sure that your outlook has supported your mother through all these years, and she’s so lucky to have you.

      You really have helped me a lot and I’m not just saying that. I did go to therapy and I found someone who helped me using a special method to help “rewire” how I think. I used to be so miserable, negative, cruel, depressed, hopeless. No one wanted to be around me. It was bad. Things really turned around for me with the form of treatment, but I had to stop due to Covid because the treatment requires you to be in person in close proximity. But I found your website right after I had to stop and I have been able to keep growing and getting better thanks to your work. You really make a big difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww. Glad to be of help. “,rewire” keep doing what you have learnt with your therapist. The more you use the techniques you have learnt the more automatic they will and you’ll be able move forward and enjoy life regardless of circumstances.

        Oh I only shared a tiny bit of my life. There is a lot more pain along with loads of lessons. and good times and happy times. But I seen a lot of pain, and still do.

        Covid has made it hard for everyone.

        So practise all that your therapist has taught you. See the good in your circumstances. Do the things you love. Recognize where you waste time and decide not too, or allow yourself a few minutes times on the Mario game, using the pomodoro technique, and get back to doing something productive.

        See the beauty in your life and treasure it. It will make such a difference. And take baby steps forward on things you want to do, and do them if it is safe to do so in this vivid world. And be kind to yourself this covid world is really hard for all .

        I wish you all the best.

        Like

  6. Ps a jetting setting life work isnt something I could do. But have had a few overseas trips for work.

    I have taken mum on holiday.

    But I would not like to travel for work I dont enjoy it at all.

    Coming home to loved ones after a bad day at works, makes everything better.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sounds to me you’ve written the perfect manifesto of how not to live. Here’s all these unsatisfying things… Now, do the opposite.

    Or not. I know you’ve got your god twisted up with your persona, but, if you’ve read anything I and others have written within this circle of ours it’s that none of this matters. The Universe is Absurd and so what? If you want to write a different dissertation of how you’d like your life to progress — you will. Or you won’t. It just doesn’t matter.

    I will admit, however, that existence does feel better when you challenge yourself, push into new territory. I mean, if you’re gonna stick around, and I hope you do, contest your current view of your world, shake shit up a bit. “Try now, you can only lose…” Or not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I would certainly advise people not to behave like I have. Think of the things I have held back from confessing for the time being.
      I dunno. There is something to the idea of the absurdity of the universe. Millions of years of evolution to result in my boss. That in itself gives me pause. But really, for me, I believe that who we are, what we do, does matter in the grand scheme. Life is too precious to not matter. And to say that the “Universe is Absurd” is a principle, then, that’s sort of creating a hierarchy of views, isn’t it? Because if the universe were absurd, then it’s equally absurd to class one view as superior to another. So, ultimately, I guess it really doesn’t matter what view someone takes, whether one imposes an order on the universe or not 😉. For example, keeping a wedding vow is absurd if the world is absurd. Why ought we to care how someone else feels, or about our own integrity, if none of it matters?

      At a certain point, we cannot find any more proof for our worldview. It’s like each one of us climbs a particular mountaintop, our worldview becoming more and more complex as we study into it, until we reach the summit. And there we all stand, looking around at each other from our respective mountaintops. We won’t know until we close our eyes for the last time. Perhaps I will find I am right. Perhaps you will not find out that you are right. Perhaps in the worst of all possible scenarios, we’ll both find out that islam is right.

      I am not afraid to contest my view. I earned my MA at one of the most infamously leftist/Marxist universities in academia. I didn’t see the point of finding myself a nice comfy echo chamber. I wanted to test myself. And my views have changed a lot over the last thirteen or fourteen years. I don’t believe someone should be afraid to hear someone they don’t agree with. If you can’t stand up to it, then, well, that already says a lot. What I will say, though, is that there wasn’t one student beside myself (at least that I met) who was willing to do the same thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Society, and the folks within it, choose to ignore the fact that the Universe is Absurd. Humans create meaning from nothing. So, your statement: “For example, keeping a wedding vow is absurd if the world is absurd.” is true in the Universal sense. But for society, it breaks down as it violates our mores. Again, in a trillion-trillion years, when the heat death of the Universe is complete, how could anything have “really” mattered?
        Humans are the ultimate self-delusionists. DNA wouldn’t have it any other way.

        This whole thing is just here to point out that it doesn’t matter, ultimately, what YOU do. But you can choose to make it matter–for yourself, in the interim.

        So, you gonna choose to go skiing, or snowmobiling, or ice-fishing, or something entirely outside your comfort zone? Or not. (tee-hee)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When you put it that way, that really isn’t all that incompatible for me. To flip it around, what is the universe to me?

          Although I think I will stay off any sort of mobile equipment. It’s safer for everyone that way.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Safety, schmafety, a snow mobile must be driven, not ridden. Go rent 4-runners somewhere. Drive 100+ miles >>> in any direction and stay at some seedy motel, one that looks likely to harbor cameras behind mirrors and a stuttering, crippled manager.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. You are wonderful exactly the way you are.
    I’m an old man, traveled quite a bit, effed up quite a bit, survived the 60s…and still…your story is mine. And so I ask every day – who are you today? And every day I get another chance to get it right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and for visiting. Am I correct that you are a convert to Catholicism? If I recall incorrectly I am sorry. It means a lot to be able to ask, who are we today.

      Like

  9. What a story. I can only imagine what it’s like to have to fear epilepsy attacks and having seemingly ‘normal’ activities turn to ones of doubt. We definitely tend to do things that don’t benefit us, but that doesn’t reflect who we are. You always get the chance to reset, and that’s when you wake up the next day. Want to read over mindlessly browsing YouTube? You can. Your past and future doesn’t need to define you. Wishing you all the best in your journey, Hetty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes it puts a damper on life especially when you don’t know what it is. But knowing makes it easier to decide how to do new things and not to get freaked out if I feel weird. Meds control the worst so it allows me to have more freedom now without quite as much fear, though it’s still there a bit bc I lived with it for so long.
      Still staying off the road though 😛. You’re welcome. If I do drive someday I’m going to have to learn it all over again.

      Oh and thanks again for your words.

      Like

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