Bridging Ironic Platitudes

Credit: Carsten Peter, National Geographic

Polarized platitudes are proof that no size fits all. And that extremes can be too much. But it doesn’t mean they cannot meet halfway. Like perfect puzzle pieces, wisdom may converge at some point. Or we can look at it as a man crossing a high wire – balance is everything.

Make the most of your time or cry in your deathbed. | Ease up and take it slow.

We are encouraged to cultivate productivity because it makes sense to live that one life that we have. But easing up allows us the mental space to breathe. Again, balance.

Damn it just get your work out there. | Strive for excellence first.

We are pushed to create anything we love no matter how ridiculous it might seem; Just let it go, they say. But somehow we are plagued by thoughts of getting excellent first – that gnawing perfection – before exposing ourselves to the public.

Still, we can view the practice of creating whatever we want as a breakthrough from ugly to not-so-ugly to beautiful. Constantly tossing our work out there is the first step. Excellence becomes a journey.

Be known for one thing. | Master as many skills as you want.

They say be known for one grand thing. Try your hardest to become among the most remarkable of writers, artists, musicians – whoever you desire to be.

But experiences can mold us to not one but a multitude of things. We can be a writer, poet, mother, cook, friend, clutter goddess, occasional painter, and the dancer and singer in the bathroom. We can be infinite – channel every identity we’ve personified into one that makes us the best version of ourselves.

Socialize as much as possible. | Embrace your inner introvert. 

How do we strike a balance between isolation and socialization? Personality counts. As an introvert, mingling with a crowd can be exhausting. I’d rather party with a book rather than attend a gathering. That’s not to say I don’t go out (happens most days and I’m perfectly fine). But it’s more of being intentional when I spend it out. Who do I spend it with and why?

Priority also matters. We are encouraged to embrace our inner introvert because in silent recollection lies creativity – lucky is the person who can create magic from constant upheaval. I noticed authors bring out their seminal work in moments of solitude. Their best advice to aspiring artists: ditch all distractions, sit in silence every damn day and just create; the gems will appear from thereon.

Please yourself, ignore everybody. | Create something that resonate with others.

Who do I please? Is it the audience or me? This has been puzzling to me.

How do I relate to others if I get so self-centered?

I remember what Elizabeth Gilbert said: sometimes it’s better to write for the sole reason of saving ourselves, not others. Hark if people resonate with your art.

In contrast, we can approach creation not by saving the world but inadvertently touching on the vulnerabilities that make us all human. Because it might sound like we have different hopes and dreams or that we’re drowning from patented struggles.

It turns out we are inextricably connected to one another. And we’re doing ourselves and the world a favor by staying true to what we feel and what we want to say.

What’s important is we’ve done our share of the day. 

Let the heavens do its bidding.

Are you also puzzled by ironic pieces of wisdom?


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