Oh no, another existential post

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Robert_Z, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

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    Do you ever stop and ask yourself if you're happy? Do you ever stop and ask yourself if your life is what you wanted it to be?

    I used to ask myself those kinds of questions all the time, but honestly, I had not introspected in a long time. Then, the other day, I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Something about that movie made me take stock of my life up to now.

    Am I happy? Am I content? Do I yearn for more? The truth is -- and yes, I will quote the great Pink Floyd -- over the years, I have become comfortably numb.

    I have a good-paying job, great girlfriend, nice house, yada-yada. And ... that's it. Is that enough? Should I rest on my laurels? Or should I want more? I guess only I can answer those questions for myself.

    Then my GF asks, "What are your goals for this year?"

    "Goals???" I thought. I don't have goals. Goals are for kids. I'm a working stiff. I do my portion at the office, try to keep my cholesterol in check, pay my taxes and otherwise stay out of trouble. What's this nonsense about goals?

    Well, my back hurts. Maybe I'll add to this post later. Feel free to chime in.
     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    My goal has always been contentment, not happiness per se. Happiness is fleeting to me - I experience it, but I don't see it is as a sustainable condition. With contentment as the goal I can come to appreciate the things I have; with the pursuit of happiness I find I easily become dissatisfied.

    I think there is value in having goals and ambitions, but they needn't be anything grand. It can be anything that enriches your life, even if it is as mundane as controlling your cholesterol.
     
  3. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    "Find another girlfriend!" [​IMG]

    I do have a goal this year, and that's to launch my cable television channel. But that's because I chose that particular goal, and not because it was imposed on me by someone else. Imposing goals on yourself, or allowing others to impose them on you, is like making a New Year's resolution: it's all BS and will more likely make you miserable than happy.

    Live your own life, and not someone else's life.
     
  4. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    LOL!!
     
  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    how about this for a goal.
    add a chorus to this then some music and you have a guaranteed
    number one hit song.

    It actually nearly works with Jackson Browne's These Days.
     
  6. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    Some people use the start of the new year as motivation for goals, but for me, they come and go as needed throughout life.

    With your girlfriend posing that question to you, it makes it seem like you have to have big goals. But I think anything is fine. Learn the guitar. Learn a new language. Lose 5 lbs. Organize your DVD collection. If you don't want small goals, then there's nothing wrong with it.

    As someone here posted years ago, one doesn't need to travel the world, experience the luxuries in life, have a successful job, etc. If going to work (maybe even working two jobs) and providing for your family and seeing your kids grow up happy is what you want in life, then that is as much a rewarding life as what some other people may look down upon.

    ~T
     
  7. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    That question used to get my hackles up too, not being the particularly ambitious sort. But then I realized I do have goals, they just aren't grand ones that result in my ruling the world. Then I wondered if big goals were what people had in mind when asking the question. I do know that a question I always responded to better was about personal growth and self-understanding.
     
  8. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    How long has she been your girlfriend? Try to think about these questions from a womans point of view. She could possibly be hinting at something.
    Are you happy? (with your relationship with her)
    What are your goals? (marriage) [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Dave's got it. This isn't an existential question, though discussing it as such is certainly worthwhile and enlightening.

    This is a question from a Significant Other who wants to hear you tell her that she rocks your world. If she's the one for you, and you know it, then tell her so, and don't hold back.

    ===

    From an existential point of view, when I first heard Woody Allen's joke that 90% of life is just showing up, I was young enough to think it was just a funny joke. But now I've reached an age that compels me to think that it's more true than I first imagined. No matter what I do, I'm heading steadfastly to my grave. All I have to do between now and then is not get fired from my job, not commit a colossal act of stupidity or violence, and not give away the home world. The rest really is just showing up. The day is fast approaching when my only two concerns will be whether I've had a bowel movement each day, and whether the nursing home will be serving pumpkin pie for dessert.

    But I'm a little more introspective than usual. I just turned 50, and as of today, it's official: I'm having a bad hair century.
     
  10. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Translated into guy talk, this statement becomes "Dude, when the hell are you gonna get off the stump and ask that chick to marry you??"

    Glad to be of help. I'm also fluent in overbearing mother and bitter ex-wife.
     
  11. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

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    That could be the case ... we've been on and off for about 10 years. But this post really isn't about that.

    Somehow, I feel guilty for being just an ordinary guy. My boss talks to me about this, too. He often asks me about my career goals, but phrases it like this: "You want to make a lot of money and advance up the ladder, right?" What can I say other than, "Uh, yeah."

    But the truth is I'm content to have a good-paying non-supervisory job and stay put in that job for awhile. I don't do good in office politics and brown-nosing, so I prefer to avoid that scene altogether. I do my job better than most, get my 3-6 percent annual raises, and leave it at that.

    Many of you have said there's nothing wrong with that, and I agree with you. But I wonder if bosses, coworkers and girlfriends view that as weakness. And this ties into the mindset I had when I wrote my original post. I thought to myself, how dull of a movie it would be to watch The Curious Case of Robert_Z. I've had no adventures. My life so far has been extraordinarily ordinary. But I wonder, do I think this simply because of movies like Button and the countless other flicks that show larger-than-life situations? If I had never seen these movies, would I have a different perspective about my life?

    Society debates whether the media, movies in particular, have any effect on people. I think that varies by individual. For me, some movies make me examine my life and wonder if I'm doing enough. I know a recent study indicated that romantic comedies have skewed many couples' expectations for relationships. They expect their relationships to be as wonderful as the ones on the big screen. For most people, that will never be reality. Likewise, I doubt the rest of my life will measure up to Button or any of the other characters that aren't coming to mind right now. I just have to keep reminding myself that there's nothing wrong with that. I'm a real, live human being, not a movie character.
     
  12. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    It was just a wild guess anyway. Surely I am no expert on what women think.

    As far as goals go I have always been trying to improve myself in both my career and personal life. I am not content unless I have a certain level of challenges. I don't know how much further up the "ladder" I can climb. Currently I am bored stiff at my job so I find challenges at home like building a house or website, etc...

    There is nothing wrong with people who aren't like this. I knew someone who put stripes on bicycle fenders for 20 years. Never even wondered to the other side of the factory to see what else was going on. But he is content with his life. He makes enough money for his needs.

    My only goals for 2009 are to make it through with out financial troubles.
     
  13. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    Who cares what bosses, co-workers and girlfriends think? The only important thing is what you think. If you're happy with your circumstances then that should be all that matters. As for adventure, plenty people go looking for it and when they find it they suddenly start wishing that they were back living a "boring" life. How many guys and gals have ended up going to Iraq thinking it was going to be an adventure, only to end up wishing that they were back in their boring hometowns, living boring, peaceful lives? I'm sure there are plenty of them sitting in some shitty sand dune right now thinking those thoughts.
     
  14. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    The problem with most movies is you're seeing the adventures but you're not going through it yourself so you're only seeing one side of it. The truth is most adventures (or any conflicts in life) suck and are scary and uncomfortable. It is only after the fact that they can be worn as a badge of honor and looked back upon. Most people don't really want real adventures, they want controllable adventures.

    Or to quote Repo Man, "Most people spend their lives avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations."

    Same with all these movies where a so-called "free spirit" type helps some stiff, buttoned-up type "loosen up" and "enjoy life". Have you ever had to actually deal with a free spirit in your real life? It's a fun place to visit, but believe me you wouldn't want to live there. The ups are generally offset by terrible downs. Anyone who thinks they can live without responsibilities has everything catch up with them at some point. There's always a "crash".

    So culturally in these movies we are conditioned to think the ideal is to be free and just live day-to-day, but in reality it is not necessarily more noble to be a rebel, unless that's what you truly want and believe in. And if you're not living it already, you probably don't really want it.
     

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