How you can’t trust the future you

When I was a kid, I was really worried that the future me would start smoking. As soon as I typed that sentence, I took my laptop into the other room for a smoke. The other room is my bathroom. It feels healthier to smoke here, even though there are brownish-yellow cobwebs hanging from the ceiling which I never clean. I expect the future me to clean them, but she never does. My whole bathroom is disgusting because the future me is a lazy piece of shit.

One thing I’ve learned is that the future you is going to do whatever she wants. It doesn’t matter what the present you has in store for her. You can’t even count on her for simple tasks, like doing laundry or getting all that work done at the agreed-upon time so that the future future you doesn’t have to feel all that pressure the night before. The future you might do some of the stuff you demand of her, but very rarely all.

Taming the future you is part of growing up. But growing up is kind of like trying to cram down garbage overflow. It’s not all going to fit in the bag. Some of it will fit in the bag, but the rest will leave a giant slimy mess that you’ll have to come back and clean up piece by piece. Because growing up is a messy process, involving many items of garbage, the future you gets to fuck around while the present you focuses on things like being a considerate friend and behaving like a professional.

Those are things you can do in the moment. But abiding a schedule involves a trust relationship with you that takes a really long time to develop. Just as the brain is actually many brains living in you, you is actually many yous living at different points in time. And just as the many brains are always getting up each other’s craws, the many yous are always letting each other down.

The way I feel about the future me is a lot like the way my mother thinks of the present me. I have great hopes for her, but I also hope to God she doesn’t screw up. I worry all the time that she’ll screw up. I nag her to do stuff and even though I know she knows I know what’s best, I can’t trust that she’s going to follow my advice. It is extremely likely that she will ignore lots of my advice and keep screwing up, and that drives me nuts.

Like my mom I should ease up on her a bit, because at the end of the day she’s gonna do what she’s gonna do, but not too much, because it’s important for her to feel guilty. The future me will never be perfect, but I will always love her as long as she never kills anyone.

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Having a pizza all to yourself

Last Saturday I decided to give myself a day off. I did very little until 9 pm, then I went to a friend’s place to watch a movie. Even beforehand I knew that I was going to order a pizza. If you know me, you know that I ordered pizza from Massimo’s, because that’s my kind of pizza. Most pizza not from Massimo’s is a waste of calories, like spiking your coffee with grease or eating an entire loaf of bread.

When the pizza came I got anxious, because I am extremely territorial about my food. Have you ever tried to share a meal with me? Don’t, because it’s a huge pain in the ass. I will not stop checking how much you’ve had, and I will scrutinize the size of each helping so that things are exactly equal. We should really just order two dishes to ourselves, but even then, if you ask me for a a bite of whatever I’m having, be prepared for me to say “help yourself” and then turn my head because I can’t bear to watch you helping yourself. If the spoonful you take has any paneer cubes in it, you are going to get an earful. I’ll tell you I’m just kidding, but really I’m not.

On this particular evening, once the pizza came, I went into surveillance mode. The way I feel about pizza when other people are around is probably similar to the way parents feel about their kids when there are childless adults circling the playground. Even if the people around me didn’t want any of my pizza, and that’s impossible because everyone wants pizza, I would still be distracted because hey, there’s pizza. There’s really no point in me being out with people if there’s a pizza to be had, the same way there’s no point making small talk at a party when you can go somewhere and have sex.

Once we ate all the pizza, we watched a movie and I passed out. When I woke up, I had to walk home in the cold. Even though it was nice to see friends, I probably should have stayed home that night and ordered a pizza all to myself. Ordering a pizza all to yourself is the ultimate way to relax. It is better than a vacation.

In life, people place demands on people, and people place demands on themselves, and everyone has to work really hard to keep everyone happy. There’s also a limited amount of time for pleasure, so pleasure has to be maximized, which also takes work. When there’s a whole pizza in front of you, though, everything else ceases to exist. No one will demand a slice of pizza from you, and the voice in your head that would be screaming at you not to eat that pizza is muffled because you’ve gone and done it anyway. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about making the most of your slice allotment, because all the slices are yours. By the fifth slice you’ll feel sick, so any whole pizza is basically infinite pizza. And that’s what really makes a whole pizza better than a vacation: you will actually be glad when it’s over.

The other thing about eating a whole pizza is that it’s death behaviour. When your weekends consist of staying in and ordering whole pizzas, you’ve pretty much given up on life. This is meaningful because in life you have to balance wanting to get things done with wanting everything to stop so you can get some goddamn peace for a change.

When everything stops, you are dead. But who wants to actually die? That’s why, when you order yourself a whole pizza, you should skip breakfast the next morning and do laundry instead.

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Periods when you feel awesome about yourself vs. periods when you feel shitty about everything you do

I felt really great about myself this summer. Every day it was awesome spending time with me, and I had to take it on faith that I am a shitty person in many ways. At a certain point I thought, “What kind of jerk likes herself this much?” Then the smarter brain, which was my favourite brain, said, “Enjoy it while you can, because in a month you’re going to think you’re a shitty person and have to take it on faith that you’re even OK.”

Well, the smarter brain was right, even though big whoop. Right now I am a whiny whiner with a whining problem. I am dissatisfied with myself and everything I do. I feel like everyone I know is making fun of me, which is both crazy, because no one gives a shit, and not crazy, because actually believing that is a good way to get people to make fun of you.

I’m not trying to whine. I’m just describing the phase I’m in. It’s a good phase to go through, because even though it makes you a bummer, it prevents you from being a jerk who likes herself too much. Also, thinking you’re shitty helps you get better at the million things you suck at.

I don’t understand why phases have to be like pirate ship rides, though. Why can’t we all go through just one phase, in which we act upon honest assessments of our strengths and weaknesses? I think it’s because music would be a lot more boring that way, and no one would ever finish their novels.

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The right song for the way you feel

I have been feeling a certain way lately that I want to find the right song for. But I don’t know any songs that work for it. The only song that comes close is a Feist song. Feist is great but I can’t have my song be a Feist song. Someone reading this might say, “Who cares if it’s a Feist song? If you like the song, just have that be the song.” But they don’t get it. It’s not even an exact fit anyway.

If I found the right song I’d listen to it over and over and over again. I’d think I was getting sick of it, but then I’d put it on once more and the cycle would begin anew. No amount of listening to that song would ever seem like enough. It would hurt not to be listening to that song. What would be great is that I could always listen to it again.

There’s nothing else in the world you can do that with. You can’t do it with movies or books because they take too long. You definitely can’t do it with food. And the fact that you can’t do it with places or people is the reason you need songs to do it with in the first place.

Half the time, at least. Sometimes you just really like the song.

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Believing in astrology

I don’t believe in astrology, but I also believe in it. You know what I mean? I choose to believe in it because it’s fun. Also, it’s nice to be told what to do sometimes, if the person telling you is authoritative enough. The cosmos aren’t a person but that gives them more authority.

There’s no harm in believing your horoscope. I will take slightly more pleasure in life if I think I’m going to come into some money in the near future. And if my horoscope tells me to do something reasonable, why wouldn’t I do it? For example, if my horoscope tells me to be extra friendly to people this week because that way I’ll get money, I see no reason not to that. If it tells me to kill a cat or all my friends will die, I won’t. But horoscopes never tell you to do things like that because all the horoscope writers probably want to get syndicated.

I think believing in astrology is actually a good thing, because it reminds you that you can believe in something and also not believe in it. It’s good to be reminded that your brain is not just one brain but a bunch of brains all hanging out. It helps you feel better about all the fucked up things the rogue brains think.

Another thing it does is remind you that your brains don’t necessarily have to agree. For example, one brain might think someone is an idiot and deserves to die. But another brain knows that brain is just angry at something the person said or did, and it’s unfair to draw conclusions about someone’s character based on a perceived offence. Likewise, one brain might think that being born on a day makes you the same as everyone else born on that day, while another brain might think that’s insane.

Finally, believing in astrology is a good thing because it teaches you that pretty much all characteristics apply to everyone. For example, I’m a Gemini. That means I like having good conversations and that my brain is actually more than one brain. Both are true. But I’ve heard that moon signs mean more than sun signs. My moon is in Capricorn, which means I like to work hard on stuff I’m interested in. That’s true, as well. Believing in astrology helps you focus on certain characteristics rather than others. If you don’t do that, you might start to feel like you are no one.

At the end of the day, horoscopes are just a way of managing your million brains. I think that’s also what the self is for.

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Reasons for having kids, part one

I’ve taken lot of iPhone pictures this summer. It’s kind of pathetic, actually. Snapping pictures all the time is the equivalent of saying, “Hey guys. Doesn’t this feel great, being young like we are?” And then repeating it again and again until everyone gets really self-conscious.

But that’s exactly why I keep snapping pictures. I feel like maybe I’m at the summit of my youth, and that for the rest of my life, when I think of my twenties, I’ll think of this time right now. It’ll never happen again, so I need souvenirs. Pictures are souvenirs. Meaning is also a souvenir. Because if you can’t have your youth again, you can at least feel like you were a part of something lasting and historic.

Everything is lasting and historic in some way, but that doesn’t mean people will care about it. If they do care, they probably won’t find meaning in the parts you found meaningful. No one will ever want to hear about the time you went pool hopping and everyone was there, or the time you climbed onto the roof at St-Viateur Bagel at 5 in the morning.

No one, that is, except your kids. Kids are incredibly interested in their parents’ twenties. My dad once spent half an hour telling me about the time he saw Jethro Tull in Kitchener and I hung on his every word. That Jethro Tull concert is part of my heritage.

Kids want to think of their parents’ youths as lasting and historic, because it means that they are part of a lasting, historic lineage. Also, because it helps them make sense of who their parents are as people. But the joke is on them, because they will probably never really know.

I’m still not sure if I want kids, but I do want people to one day be interested in the minutiae of my young life, and to think it’s all super important. If that ever happens I will have lots of iPhone pictures to illustrate it for them.

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How it sucks having to be mature about things

My last boyfriend is now with someone new. They seem well suited to one another. I know this because I stalked his Twitter, and, after that, hers. Also I know this because when we were still dating he talked about her. I said, “You like her.” He said, “No I don’t.” Then we had a crazy fight.

One thing I’ve learned is that if you suspect the person you’re with likes someone else, you are probably correct. That’s just part of knowing somebody. If you’re in a good relationship, it probably doesn’t matter all that much.

I said that they seem well suited to each other. I don’t know this for sure, but I strongly suspect it. Another thing I strongly suspect is that he is not a bad person. And still another thing I strongly suspect is that we were not in a good relationship.

There are some things I suspect, and there are some things I know. I know that after we broke up I couldn’t sleep or eat for a while. I know that, after we broke up, I secretly hoped we would get back together. I know now that that will probably never happen. And I know now that that is for the best.

In a way, I wish I didn’t have my knowledge or my suspicions. I wish I didn’t even have a clue. Then I could hate his guts and talk to my friends about what a stupid piece of shit he is. I can’t do that in good faith, though, because, based on what I know, I don’t think he’s a stupid piece of shit. I think that I am a fallible human person who had feelings for someone who wasn’t great for me and it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. It’s a bummer to have to think that, but it’s true.

When you know something is true, it’s really hard to think the opposite. There was a time when I could do that, but back then I didn’t care as much about trying to figure out what was actually true. I cared more about feeling good about stuff. Now I would rather figure out what’s actually true, and then try to feel good about stuff. What this means is that I’m more mature about certain things.

Being more mature about certain things is great. Life is way easier as a result. I feel healthier, like if I stopped smoking and drinking and eating shitty food, except emotionally. When I feel bad about smoking and drinking and eating shitty food, I think, “Well, at least I’m mature in ways that some people who don’t drink or smoke or eat shitty food are not.” I guess that’s not particularly mature.

Sometimes maturity is a drag, though. For example, when you can’t eat or sleep. And when you want to tell your friends what a stupid piece of shit your ex-boyfriend is.

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