What’s Your Narrative?

Divorced white male, retired from a career in construction industry, spends most days at the gym or taking solitary walks, evenings watching old movies or PBS American Experience.

What have we here; a psychopath in training.

 

 

Successful architect who left the profession at the peak of his career to pursue activist agenda that includes international service, advocacy writing, and conscious engagement across societal boundaries.

Sounds exhausting before we ever reach dessert.

 

 

Middle-aged son of an alcoholic with long history of depression can be immobilized in the morning, especially if he doesn’t have mandatory activity plans.

Quick, someone hand this guy a pistol so he can end his misery.

 

 

Late blooming gay man, still single after all these years.

Hard to feel sorry for a bloke who channels Paul Simon.

 

 

It’s that time of year again: New Year. Time to invent yourself, reinvent yourself, rip out your guts and reinvent yourself again. Once upon a time, so I hear, New Year was an inflection point, a moment of reflection and projection. Where have we been? Where are we going?

Who has time for that posh now? Our era of accelerating speed, relative truth, and endless spin demands that we tweet and tinder personal narratives spiced with ever-bolder claims on a logarithmically shrinking timeframe. These self-descriptions shape the way the world sees us; then they reinforce our own self-image and identity; until they become our self-image and identity.

It’s all just a simple tangent on the relative-truth, alt-truth, pick-your-own-truth-and-stick-to-it-despite-any-conflicting-facts-truth. Those bubbles of skewed reality that each of us inhabit.

How did all this come about? I blame science. Back in the day of objective truth, an apple hit Newton on the head and gravity became a thing. We loved it. Three indisputable laws of mechanics described everything we needed to know. Then the Twentieth Century arrived. Instead attending to regular haircuts, Einstein postulated relativity. Heisenberg codified uncertainty. Once science went squishy, everything else caved.

Only nineteen years in, the guiding precept of the twenty-first century is selective reality. Colin Powell kicked it off in 2003 with his weapons of mass destruction mantra at the UN; the textbook example of ‘if you say it loud enough, often enough, it will become true. We actually went to war—and killed people—over weapons whose incendiary capacity was mere insistence.

Since then, we are inundated by the media echo chamber of shouting and over shouting. The dominant truth at any moment is nothing more, or less, than the one proclaimed at highest volume. It defines our politics, it stokes our fears, it cons us into believing that who we want to be is who we say we are. Forget sweat and toil, suffering or direct experience. I am what I proclaim. If Amy Schumer can say, I Feel Pretty, so can I.

Dashing millionaire with waterfront mansion and limousine fleet likes to sun himself on native grasses and lap in his private pool.

I consider that an accurate description of a guy with patches of grey hair, steep property taxes, a winter-only reservoir view, a bus stop at the corner, and a slab of sunlight on the bamboo floor in the yoga studio, who occasionally lands an empty lane in the gym swimming pool. If you don’t agree, go make your own narrative.

 

 

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About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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