Saturday, September 10, 2022

Aging Back Into Fun

I've shifted my perspective on yesterday's posting, "Aging Out of Fun".

In Facebook discussion of that posting, I reframed it, pretty much topsy-turvy:
In past two years, I learned to renovate a home, to organize possessions, to market and sell a house, and the elaborate process of Portuguese immigration bureaucracy. I have described this process as a hell, enduring all the things I suck at and hate. But all I'm actually saying is that I learned things! How is this any different from an 8th grader learning geometry and haiku? The 8th grader may not deliriously love school, but he certainly frames it differently than I just did. The friction that's vexing me is born of my own resistance [to learning].
I realized that I'd previously realized this (I'm an idiot seemingly incapable of retaining and integrating his own insights). Check out Embracing Failure to Get Good, where I note that grown-ups can't learn because they won't embrace their gaps/flaws/limitations/ignorances. If you can't acknowledge and embrace not-knowing, how can you possibly learn? (I acknowledged it, but hadn't embraced it, remaining stubbornly stuck on being This Guy Who's Bad With Houses And Boxes And Bureaucracy):
If one starts out with an assumption of flawlessness, how can one grow? Learning requires wallowing in the fetid mud of your shitty incompetence. Fun! You must expect and even welcome failure, because that's the grain you’ll be laboriously grinding between your millstones. Learning isn't a glorious acquisition of virtuosity; it's a humiliating revelation of inadequacy. If you can't handle the latter, you won't/can't learn. In fact, you'll run, terrified, away from anything smelling the least bit like learning.

What is there for perfect people to practice, labor over, and develop? One can't polish perfection; one can only produce it and peer upon it rapturously. Work, practice, development, improvement, and aspiration require slop, much as soap requires dirt.

If you like to work on stuff - to improve, grow, and develop - you need to love your muck. More muck, please! When the muck runs out (spoiler alert: it never will), what's left besides bong hits and masturbation? The end of muck would be an excruciating steady state of dreary boredom.

Strange post, I know. I'm forcefully convincing myself of my own skew. But that's what this entire Slog is and has always been: unknowing and knowing locked into mutual devouring. A perfect Yin/Yang. We all straddle that paradox, but I guess I'm a bit more blithe about hovering there than most. The knowing and the not-knowing feed each other. There's no hunger if you accept the Tao of it.

Here is the final posting of this trilogy

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