I was awake for two hours in the middle of the night yesterday, because I was thinking about how people conceal most of the important things about their lives, and what really matters to them. We do this for all kinds of reasons. So I decided to reveal some things that I have rarely talked about.
This post has very little to do with movies, but it's like an extended version of the brief scenes in Amelie, where we learn the likes and dislikes of some of the characters.
If you have an opinion about me at all, it will probably change if you read all of this post. You might reach the conclusion that I am arrogant, snobby, crazy, full of myself, or any number of other things. Feel free to let me know.
Here's one example of someone finally telling the truth in a movie (offensive language warning):
The truth can be funny, but it can also be a hard thing to reveal. Do you tell a close friend that their spouse is cheating on them, they suck at their job, or they don't have the talent to come close to achieving their dreams? Probably not.
In this case, I'm revealing the truth about myself. I can decide exactly what to reveal, and you can decide whether you want to read it. I say that because one of the things I know about myself is that I have stopped engaging in small talk. Let me explain:
Have you ever been trapped in a conversation in which you have no interest, but you fix an inane grin on your face and endure it for the sake of the person speaking? Well, I don't want to inflict that kind of pain on my potential audience, so I spend most of my time listening to other people. If I genuinely think that they want to know something, I'll talk as long as they like, but I don't force my opinions on people. I save that for here. The difference is, you can stop reading without offending me. Are you close to stopping yet?
The next thing I'm going to reveal is something that I almost never mention. It's an asset, but I never mention it on job resumes. It just annoys people and makes them believe that I am saying that I am somehow better than them. It's also one of the things that gives me the most pride. I'm intelligent. I have a 158 IQ. Websites claim that I should be capable of winning a Nobel prize, but here I am writing a blog while I wait to watch Django Unchained with my evening meal. I've never come close to winning a Nobel prize. In fact, I've contributed almost nothing to the world in my 50 years of life. Does that make me a failure?
That brings me onto a related subject. What constitutes success? Most people would say financial success and possessions are the best measure, but I can't agree. Those things are meaningless if you don't have the time to enjoy them. I think success is achieving your personal goals, and it's different for every person. One thing I do know is that I am happy. When I look around at most of the people I know or encounter, they are complaining about something that is missing in their lives. Some of these things are so trivial. However, I'm not saying I am completely successful. Maybe wealth and possessions are low on my list because I don't have much to brag about?
What I really want to do before I die is change the world. I will probably never have children, but I do want to leave this existence with something positive to my credit. It's probably not going to be worthy of a Nobel prize though. I think my best shot is to write something that touches people in some way. I'm a big fan of science fiction and treasure books by authors such as Orson Scott Card, Dan Simmons, and Lois McMaster Bujold. Maybe if I made a real effort, I could create something worth publishing?
I've never had any idea what to do with my life. If I had thought of it while I was in school, I might have pursued a career as a film critic, because I do enjoy reviewing movies. That's partly why I give up some of my weekend to add a review or two. If I can encourage one or two people to see a film they would otherwise have missed, that's a small positive contribution I have made to someone's life.
Am I boring you yet? Let's tackle a couple of big topics.
Religion is important to a lot of people, and I don't mean to infuriate anyone with my thoughts on this topic. I think it's fairly pointless to spend your life worshipping whatever deity you happen to believe in. It's far more important to do what you think is right. Everybody instinctively knows when they do wrong. Just stop yourself and try to do something that adds to the lives of other people instead of putting them down. I can't believe that any superior being would encourage followers to kill in the name of the cause. Oh, I can't abide racism either.
Politics is another inflammatory subject. I've stopped devoting time trying to figure out which party is likely to adhere most closely to its manifesto. I consider it a complete waste of time attempting to decipher those lies. It makes such a tiny difference to my life one way or another, so I spend my time on more important pursuits, such as writing this post.
If there isn't life on other planets, I would be extremely surprised. I only wonder whether I'll ever have proof before I die.
So what do I care about?
I like animals. Especially the furry ones.
People matter to me. I'm sad that I'm growing up without seeing my brother, sister, niece and nephew. I have very few friends, but the ones I do have are important to me. I prefer connecting deeply with a few people, rather than having a book full of almost meaningless acquaintances. I don't measure success by the number of followers I have on social networks. Some of the closest people to me are those that I rarely see, or have never actually met in person. I miss my grandparents, and friends left behind in other countries.
I'm passionate about music. You wouldn't know it if you met me. But some of the best experiences of my life include attending concerts by my favorite bands. I flew 3,000 miles to see a Throwing Muses reunion, and have been to hundreds of concerts in my lifetime. There's nothing quite like live music. Feeling it as well as seeing it enhances the experience dramatically. I'll probably never miss a concert by Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Television, Pavement, or a whole host of favorite bands, if there is any realistic way of getting to the venue. I'll never forget the many nights I spent listening to John Peel, or the role he had in helping me develop my taste in music.
You already know that I love film. I focus on reviewing films that I already like, or those that I expect to like based on actors or directors I admire. That's why most of my ratings are high. I tend to focus on the positive things in life, and distance myself from people or situations that anger me.
Sports is the other big passion in my life. Part of the reason I moved from England to North America was to be closer to an NFL team. That grew into a writing job, enabling me to give my opinions on Fantasy Football. I've followed Liverpool FC for almost 40 years, and still watch six NFL games every week during the season. My happiest sporting memory has to be Phil Mickelson winning his first major.
I can never be bored unless I am with another person who is boring me. I could sit here on my own for the next 20 years without running out of things to do. I like that I can live inside my own head.
I'm ridiculously honest, and always try to do a good job. That's true whether I am working for someone else, or performing some task purely for my own entertainment or amusement. I don't like doing anything badly. That's not to say that I always do everything well though.
Deep down, I believe I can learn any mental task with the proper training. Unfortunately, very few people agree with me and put it to the test. That's because we are all so guarded in our interactions, and so set on doing things the conventional way.
Communication is probably the most underrated skill in existence. Think about all aspects of your life and you'll realize how true that is. It's vital in your job, with customers, with family, with loved ones, with your children, and on an international scale. How many wars began through a misunderstanding of some kind? How many relationships were threatened or ruined because the truth was never told? I try to be open and honest with every person I interact with. It's vital.
How am I doing?
You're probably not used to devoting so much of your time to random thoughts such as mine, so I'll finish there. My one piece of advice is to share some of the things that are important to you with those who actually care. Find out what makes you happy and figure out how to make it happen.
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