I know what I want for my birthday.

I want people to be as excited about something–anything–as I am. I want to have a good idea and talk to a dozen people about how possible it is. I want us to throw ideas around, think about plans, figure out what we already have and what we would need, and how we could get it.

It’s been such a long time. I have so many ideas, so many dreams, and no one else has any enthusiasm for any of them. Just for a few hours, I’d like to have my friends at least pretend to be interested in something.

While it’s really tempting to blame local culture… I think it’s local culture. Houston is far more committed to its problems than it is to solving them.

For Christmas… I want us to actually do something.

Pain, Fear, and Bravery

The first “Noble Truth” of Buddhism is that all life is suffering; anyone with an Associates Degree in Armchair Philosophy knows this. But (s)he also has enough grounding in Internet kitschy truisms to know that “pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” And if you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 27 years, you’ve been told by the Dread Pirate Roberts that life is pain (your highness) and that anyone who says differently is selling something.

There’s no scientific or empirical way to evaluate any of these statements. They are non-falsifiable claims. In service of a high quality of life, is it useful to hold one or the other? Or somehow more than one? Is it even worth asking?

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Can or Will?

Consider an addict having a relapse. Her promise was not to drink. Was she unable or unwilling to keep her promise?

Consider someone with crippling depression. Are they unable to feel better, or just unwilling?

Consider someone sitting at home eating Bugles and staring at his navel. Do I lack the will to go to the gym, or am I actually unable to?

These are the same question, and there’s no “true” answer. But there is an empowering answer. By holding this answer, I have a great deal more say in how things go in and around my life, and people I couldn’t relate to before, make a lot more sense.

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