Jessica Mills
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  • Blatherings on the Meaning of Life

    I often think about what it would be like to be adrift in space.  There’s no up or down.  No left or right.  There’s just…you.  How do you know if you’re upside down?  With no gravity, does it matter?  How do you know where you’ve been, or where you are, or where you’re going?

    This is how I feel at being unemployed.  I have defined my life by the things I have DONE. The GOALS I have ACHIEVED.  And somwhere along the line that life went horribly wrong.  I turned around one day and realized I was completely depressed and miserable.

    So now I’m trying to live a stripped down life in order to really figure out what I want in life.  What do I really want?  When I die, what do I want to look back on and be proud of? If I were to die right now, what would I most regret not doing?  Not having?

    If I’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s that you can’t live for the amazing moments.  The amazing, incredible, mind blowing moments in life are wonderful, but you can’t build a life on them.

    The fact is that you have to build your life on the mundane moments.  I recently crashed with two friends and I was blown away by how wonderful the boring parts of their life are.  I thought “Damn, no wonder they’re so happy.”  The times in their life that involved ABSOLUTELY NOTHING were filled with…contentment.

    I learned a lot from living with them.  The times in my life that involved nothing were usually filled with working towards a spectacular something.  It didn’t even occur to me that there might be something wrong with that until I walked into a room full of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and felt envious.  I looked at those mundane moments and realized for the first time what was truly missing in my life.

    Just to clarify, I’m not talking about a boyfriend.  I’m talking about the ability to just be…to just exist, without a constant feeling that you’re missing out on something better.   Always before I felt contentment meant the death of ambition.  This has been proven to be untrue.  I witnessed two of the most spectacularly brilliant people I know, both of whom are in the process of working towards realizing their dreams, sitting on their couch doing absolutely nothing of import.  And I felt nothing but contentment from them and a feeling of missing out within myself.

    Life has plenty of spectacular amazing moments.  Life has plenty of heartbreaking defeat and disappointment.

    But the true beauty lies in the simplicity.  The quiet moments.

    I’m not going to lie.  I have absolutely no idea how to live that way, and I’m starting to panic.  I feel a lot like that astronaut who accidentally got untethered and is basically going to just keep drifting for as long their momentum will carry them.  All I can think about is the fact that my calendar is empty and I have nothing of import to do all day.

    But I’m working on it.  I guess that’s all anyone can really do.  I’m trying to look at the nothing and not feel terrified of the lack of something.  I’m trying to channel a little Zaphod Beeblebrox.

    I’m trying to be ok with taking some time off from having THINGS to DO.  This is what I’m saying.  Actually, maybe instead of Zaphod, I need to be channeling the Tao of Pooh.

    No, I take both of those back.  I should be paying more attention to my dog.  She took a 20 hour road trip with me.  She had no idea where we were going or why we were going there and had this look on her face the whole time:

    Yeah.  I think we should all be more like Lisa.

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