Do What You Love

The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction.

~ Allen Ginsberg


I learned a lot about love at the homestead I developed and recently sold in New Mexico. The primary motivation of the exercise, beyond heading off the Sixth Mass Extinction, was to extend my life as well the life of my beloved wife. I exchanged life in the “ivory tower” for brutally long days with a pick and shovel. I misspent thousands of hours performing rigorous manual labor, in the name of love.

I learned the unpleasantness of abandonment. And I learned how to be pleasantly alone.

Hindsight is a marvelous teacher. Unfortunately, the lesson comes after the exam.

Now, too late to further that most important of long-term relationships, and many others, I know better than to throw myself into the breech. Now I do what I love and I encourage others to do the same. Sacrificing the work I loved for the woman I loved cost me both. As a result, I no longer recommend that approach. Balance and moderation are the two words that leap to mind.

Too little, too late. Mistakes have been made.

I worked diligently to retain my principles, and I still do. This is an approach I rarely observe in a culture characterized by indifference and mediocrity. For example, upon recognizing the costs of civilization, I could no longer contribute to the omnicide. I voluntarily left active service in the academy, and led the way toward a simpler life. And then, when I learned about the extreme nature of global dimming, I recognized the error I’d made.

Among the many errors I made at the homestead in New Mexico were giving myself away and promulgating evidence. My love was returned, almost universally, with hatred and indifference rooted in ignorance. I’ve now learned, again too late for corrective action, the ugly inner nature that characterizes much of “civilized” humanity.

Rather than pursuing principles that put a relationship at risk, I now recommend doing what you love, if you’re able. You can’t help anybody in the long run if you aren’t satisfied with your own life. And there is no longer a long run remaining for anybody reading these words. Love starts with you. Listen to the flight attendant: Put on your own mask first.

If extending your run on Earth precludes the pursuit of doing what you love, then perhaps it’s worth sacrificing your own personal satisfaction for a future with the one(s) you love. Life is a complicated mess of many choices, some of them doubtless antithetical to others. There are few easy answers in the pursuit of love, in the pursuit of excellence, in adherence to principle.

Happiness for oneself is a foolish pursuit. Happiness is an outcome, a side effect, rather than a concrete item to be snared. Taking actions that one perceives to be within the realm of the pursuit of happiness for another is the very definition of insanity. It’s a lesson I learned too late.

As is often the case, my errors serve as the mistakes from which you can learn. Safe journeys, fellow travelers, as long as habitat allows.