Have even procrastinated with completing this blog post because I knew I wanted to write about my revelations today.
Finally came to the realization (or rather, the open admission to myself) that a crucial difference between youth and adulthood is:
It seems morose, but that's not my intention. Even though you wouldn't know it when I explain how the notion hit me.
One of the thing I've been doing lately while trying to keep busy, was to watch an endless stream of YouTube music videos by various independent artists. Every now and then, I peeked at the top comments but they are typically cringe or eye roll-worthy, but some of them made me think of what was the crucial factor that was missing from some of the performances.
The orchestration and arrangements would be great, background visuals were beautiful, the songs were well-written, and the voices would be great but something would just not rub me (and other viewers) the right way. Then it hit me, it's the younger singers or those that seemed to have lived really sheltered or at least pretty happy lives until starting to become YouTube famous vocalists.
Not that I wish it upon them, but it seems that they have barely begun to suffer for their work. When they sing gut-wrenching songs with the lightest spirits and the biggest smile on their faces, we are left uncomfortable by the emotional schism. Yes, there are many ways to interpret all types of art, but sometimes there isn't because it was created in such a pragmatic manner. Sometimes messages are not symbolic or coded because it's good to have that type of honesty in our lives.
Life teaches many lessons and most of them involve pain.
The pain of childbirth or the pain of waiting for the adoption papers to go through.
The pain of losing a friend or the pain of being too far away from a loved one.
The pain of being cooped up in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV or the pain of burying one of the greatest influences of your life.
While we do our best to appreciate, love, and learn while the getting is good, nothing seems to drive the point home more poignantly than the pain felt when it was almost lost. That rawness and vulnerability often shows in having passion. It's like gasoline to the fire that was already burning bright even when it simmered as an ember.
Many great painters suffered as starving artists, many of the great composers were tortured, many great leaders endured heart-breaking losses in battle, and many musicians pour out amazing albums after suffering a break up.
I tried to think of examples of people who didn't endure great deals of pain and still succeeded and I'm still struggling to think of any. Artists who seemed flighty and carefree were the ones that buried their pain in alcohol and other drugs until they were stuck in an altered state. Even the most patient and saintly people of our day may not have suffered either own, but they carry the burden of others' pain.
It's not just experience the pain though, it's what you do in the aftermath that shows one's character.
"Fall down seven times, get up eight." - Chinese proverb.
When you can endure the pain and turn around the make something better for yourself and the world around you- that's one of the biggest accomplishments and tasks of adulthood. I don't doubt that these young artists haven't worked their butts off to get where they are right now, but when I see them sing sad love songs, you can tell that they just haven't experience that painful part of life yet.
Guess there are a few more things I need to mull over before attacking life again.