I find as I've settled into my mid-twenties, my priorities in life have become a lot simpler. I don't ask for much - I'm not one for buying fancy things, living extravagantly, or asking much from life. Generally all I ask for is a stress-free life with no complications. Alas, that's not always possible - indeed, it may be completely impossible. Having been out of a relationship now for six months helps a lot. I'm very much a believer in not forcing relationships, and I'm quite happy to be a single guy, in an age where there is so much pressure on people to find "the One" and settle down. It took me a while to work that one out, mainly because of the absolute state my last foray into the world of couples left me in, but it's really heartening to know that I have complete freedom to live my life as I please.
Lately a few situations have gotten a bit much, and sacking everything off seems like a good idea sometimes, but I'm a firm believer in the idea that you only get one shot at this life, and so you might as well make the most of it. As Bill Bailey put it: "Of course, the universe is gradually slowing down isn't it? And will eventually collapse inwardly on itself according to the laws of entropy, when all thermal and mechanical functions fail. Thus rendering all human endeavour ultimately pointless... Just to get the gig into some kind of context". Many people would see this as a very bleak outlook. If all human endeavour is ultimately pointless, if we are mere specks in the universe - insignificant in the grand scheme of things - then why even bother? Personally, I've never found the need to find deeper meaning in anything. I'm perfectly happy with the idea that we as people are just animals with fancy shoes. To me, there doesn't need to be a point to anything. If I can enjoy my life, experience love, make friends, see interesting things and places, then I will have considered mine a life worth living - even if it was only worth living from a Dan-centric point of view. As Douglas Adams once said: "Is it not enough to see that the garden is beautiful, without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it?" Of course, Doug was referring specifically to religious belief, but I prefer to take that point of view on life as a whole, not any particular belief system. Again, if something makes people happy and doesn't hurt anyone else, then what right does anyone else have to criticise it? It's just that personally, I don't need to be destined for a higher purpose - as far as I'm concerned, enjoying myself is enough of a purpose for me.
Wow, that got a bit deep, reading back over it. I guess the point I'm making, in my overly verbose way, is that aside from a few issues that need resolving fairly soon (such as getting a new job, sorting out accomodation for next year, and so on) I'm genuinely content with my life. On New Year's Eve, I had a good smile to myself about the state of my life for the first time in two years. Admittedly I was absolutely skulled on MDMA at the time, but the feeling was genuine, and it remains. Contentment is a difficult thing to attain, but when it does happen (however briefly), it's worth the wait.
Since the theme of this post seems to have become simple pleasures, I thought I'd end with a few things that lately have made me realise that life is a great thing. They may seem trivial to you - you may even not like some of them - but that's your prerogative. I'd recommend giving them all a try:
- The new series of Lost. I mean, seriously, how good can this program get? I'm not going to give anything away here, but if you aren't watching this program you're missing out on the greatest piece of televisual entertainment ever created.
- These Are The Breaks, by Krafty Kuts. I hadn't heard this album in years, but a friend got me it for my birthday, and dear Lord is it a great album. If you ever jig about in your room on your own (which I believe everyone should do), then you can't get a much better soundtrack than this.
- Football. I know, I know, I'm a Manchester United fan who lives in Cardiff. Oh, what a plastic I am. But fuck that, watching United is the closest I've ever come to a religious experience, and at the moment they are an absolute joy. It's also great to see Ryan Giggs in full flow in the centre of our midfield - to me he's one of the most inspiring men ever, and I would give anything to be able to shake his hand. Maybe one day.
- Writing. Recently I started writing a comic book called Ye Gods. It was coming along nicely, until I read American Gods, by Neil Gaiman - which was essentially the same idea that I'd had but done in a much better way. That was slightly disheartening, and required a return to the drawing board, but I've recently starting to put together the bare bones of a new story. Hopefully it'll come together well, but whether it does or not, it's nice to get the creative juices flowing once in a while.
- Dave McKean. Best. Comic. Book. Artist. Ever. Read Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth, or Black Orchid. Marvel at his talent. If I thought someone had designed eyes, Dave McKean would be why.