Life Is Absurd

warrior quotes

Over the past four months, I’ve:

  • Dropped 40+ lbs¹
  • Overcome my anxiety and depression¹
  • Performed more in the past two months than in the previous four years COMBINED
  • Made more money in the past two months than in the previous six months COMBINED
  • Begun repairing the relationships that I’ve neglected over the past 12 years

So everything should be good, right? Not exactly…

RELAPSE

life is aburd - eating pizza

The adrenaline dump of finally doing the comedy competition after months of preparation, the exhaustion of two-a-day’s in the gym, and the carb-deprivation caught up with me this week.

Cue the $20-sack, four pizzas, and a half chicken dinner at Swiss Chalet.

It’s scary, man: I don’t wanna go back to the way things were. I CANNOT GO BACK to the way things were.

PERSPECTIVE

life is absurd - smoking and the munchies

Let me not go all old-Mike in this piece…this momentary relapse in my eating habits was inevitable, and once I overcome this round of cravings, I’ll be stronger than ever. As long as I’m sober, I can control how and what I eat. That means no more smoking during the week.

[That said, come cheat day? Yo, a smoke and a couple scoops of Roasted Marshmallow will serve as brunch! Judo know about Greg’s Ice Cream?? Dawg…DAWG.]

The hardest thing to overcome, however, hasn’t been my close proximity to Dominoes Pizza, ice cream, or divine inebriation. Rather, what’s been plaguing my heart has been the absurdity of life.

THE ABSURDITY OF LIFE

Albert Camus

Since the comedy competition, I’ve been reminded how absurd life really is². Consider the following:

  1. If anything could have satisfied us, we would have been satisfied a long time ago³.
  2. Therefore, the fulfillment of desires is simply an elaborate treadmill. For example, there will always be a new goal, a new client, a new book, a new restaurant, a new destination⁴, etc.

So in spite of the money, the comedy, the health and well-being, my relapse was dominated by a single question: what’s the point? What’s the FUCKING POINT??

THE TRUSTED ADVISOR

life is absurd - lakeshore and bathurst

I live close to the lake, and after my morning swim, I headed out for my morning meditation. There’s something about a large body of water that makes the human drama recede from the shores of my mind. I sat down, and immediately felt a sense of relief.

Then my hands began typing.

LECTURE FROM THE ETHER⁵

Albert Camus

You are part human, part divine. In this life, we must embrace and attend to both sides of our nature⁶.

The divine side is inherently satisfied; it has no cravings to quench.

The human side, however, is inherently dissatisfied. Haven’t you noticed that – no matter how satiated you thought you were – your cravings return anew, much like Prometheus’ liver? How awfully quick the highs peak!

The key is to attend to the human side by following a path with a heart⁷, and by keeping the body and mind fit through mental, physical, and spiritual exercise.

Though life is absurd from a human perspective, it is possible to find joy in progressing through the path with a heart, milestone by milestone, day by day. There is an inherent satisfaction in getting better and better and closer and closer to your goals…all the while realizing that the better you get, the more you have to improve, and the closer you get to your goal, the farther (and more juicier) the next goal becomes.

BE HERE NOW⁵

Perhaps that’s why all of the books talk about being present. If you can be present during your walk on the path, you can fully appreciate and experience the highs and lows and attend to the needs that your meat body craves. If you can be present during your meditation, you can, quite literally, satisfy your soul.

I wrote about the absurdity of life a few months ago, but it took achieving goals and reflecting on how full/empty they were, to really begin to understand how things really are.

And let’s be real: I probably don’t know shit about shit. But this is as far as I’ve gotten, and that’s OK. I’m satisfied.

For now.

ADDENDUM – BEING GRATEFUL

life is absurd - being thankful being grateful

Last night, one of my best friends pointed something out: I look at my life as a project, which means that I’m constantly in a state of non-attainment. Here’s what I say to myself:

  • (I didn’t drop 40lbs) I skipped HIIT last week and my lower belly isn’t going away very easily.
  • (I didn’t overcome my anxiety and depression) I didn’t work as hard as I should have today
  • (I didn’t perform a ton of comedy) I don’t have any new jokes
  • (I didn’t make good money this month) I have so much more work to do, and I really should be making a lot more.
  • (I haven’t repaired relationships) I’m still avoiding one or two difficult conversations

She said,

As good as it is to always find room for improvement.. all this “work” you feel you have is going to have you constantly looking at what you’ve yet to accomplish…you will always find something to fix and I don’t want you to put yourself in a place where you don’t feel good enough or up to par with your own expectations…Check off the wins. Write down all the amazing shit you do everyday and it’ll inspire more of it.

She’s fucking right! OK, yeah, life is absurd, there’s always gonna be another mountain to climb, whatever…but just look at that goddamn mountain I just climbed!! Remember when I scaled the northern face free-handed? Remember how cold it was, and how I never gave up? Just look at the resilience, persistence, strength, and never-give-up attitude I showed!! Damn, man! Aiite cool, yeah, the next mountain is there, and man is it ever gonna be an adventure…but let’s enjoy the view for now.

Cherish your friends, homies. Really cherish them.

RESOURCES & INSPIRATION

¹I wouldn’t have gotten better without the immense help of Dr. Ted, Naturopath, Naturopath, Visionary Health Clinics
²The Myth of Sisyphus
³Letters from a Stoic, Letter 15, Section 9
Tennysson’s Ulysses
Ram Dass Episode 12, Jump to 20:21
Don Juan on Following a Path with a Heart
Poem on a Norman Crucifix, 1632, Jump to 39:48


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About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for blogTO.com.
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3 Responses to Life Is Absurd

  1. Adam Ward says:

    Hey Mike
    Just wanted to say I’m really enjoying your posts. Really proud of everything you’ve been doing, keep up the great work!
    Also, because I read a lot of the same subject material check out ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’ by Chris Guillebeau (being in the moment/chasing goals) and ‘My Stroke of Insight’ by Jill Taylor (finding everyday nirvana; how its linked to the right hemisphere of the brain)
    Again, really great to read stuff like this. Keep it up 😀
    Adam

    • Hey Adam!

      Aw, thanks man! We should eat ice cream and pizza sometime 🙂

      Thanks for the recommendations. It’s awesome to have someone that can suggest readings that will shed light on the challenges I’m facing; it’s like we’re walking lock-step on our paths with a heart! An old prof recommended the Teachings of Don Juan and I’ve never looked at fear in the same way again.

      I’ve just uploaded Chris’ Guillebeau’s Google Lecture and Jill Taylor’s Ted Talk to my phone. Going to take them across to the lake right now and give them a listen!

      Your friend on the path,

      Jagdeo

  2. Hey Mike!

    MOTIVATORS

    It’s Mike from the future. How tings? Yeah? True!!

    Anyways, last week, August 17th, I took a vacation from eating right and exercising; quite frankly, I needed the break, and don’t regret doing it.

    But on Monday…I just couldn’t bring myself to work. Tuesday came, and same thing. On Wednesday, I’d had enough.

    Not being productive gives me anxiety, and I felt myself becoming depressed again. So, I literally went down the list of everything that could make me feel better: Learned a chune on pan (Lionel’s Stuck on You), did some reading, tried listening to podcasts, went outside, heck, even dusted off the guitar I hadn’t touched in YEARS and struggled with a D chord…none of that worked.

    Then I remembered a quote from Tony Robbins…”Happiness is an inside out feeling.”

    So, for the first time in almost 10 days, I hit the pool. Oh – that’s nice. Then I did another work out – chest and back. OH!! So THAT’S what was missing! Exercise!

    So yeah man, as much as you sometimes need a vacation from the rigid life, the other side of the coin is that eating right and exercising is literally the best motivator money CAN’T buy. Even if it’s just a light workout in the morning, Pharoahe Monch that shit.

    I’M THE SHIT

    And another thing. Yeah, it’s good to be thankful and shit, but there’s another dimension to all of this: recognizing that YOU’RE THE SHIT. It’s one thing to be grateful, but don’t be so grateful that you ignore the fact that you worked your goddamn ass off to get here. You worked HARD, man!!!

    Two-a-day’s in the gym, HIIT, P90x, all of the books you read, all of the lectures you went to, all of the failure you persevered through, all of the disappointment…THAT’S YOU WHO GO THROUGH IT ALL. You changed. You really did!! You changed! The top two abs are coming in niiiiice!!! It’s OK to feel proud of yourself! It’s not vanity.

    So yeah man, be thankful, but then pat yourself on the back for making it this far.

    Your best friend,

    [Future] You

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