One thing to do to take your mind off the infinite void before you, is to just think about the ‘future' a lot in addition to (or instead of) experiencing the present.
Imagine you have two dice. Plan A and Plan B. They each have a set of variables based on your hopes and fears. The sides of each dice might be any combination of persons, places, pursuits. Just roll them around and, even though it’s utterly inconsequential, project possible outcomes based on your hopes and fears! Don’t be reserved. The more irrational the better. You can roll them about tomorrow or about ten years from now — infinite worrying! Infinite pining! Up to you! All useless!
The only problem with this game is it’s hard to quit playing. It’s like playing angry birds but the birds are pecking their way out of your eyes from the inside of your brain. (I’ve never played angry birds so I don’t know if that makes sense but I have to reference cell phone games or kids won’t read this. Right kids!? ha ha ha. Great to have you here.) But seriously. Even if you’re a totally intelligent, self-aware and grounded human being who has never played Angry Birds, it’s easy to get swept up in the projections and drown in the dingy swamps of your own manufactured anxiety.
One thing you can do to make it less torturous is to add another dice. An “expansion pack” if you will. We can call this dice Plan P. It’s sides are all things that you could legitimately do that would just turn your life in a completely new direction. Things that would take you far enough away from your current set of possible futures as to make everything in dices A and B largely irrelevant.
1. I COULD CHOP OFF MY FINGER
I could walk into the kitchen right now, grab the dullish bread knife from the kitchen drawer, and saw my way through the index finger on my right hand. (Would probably google some tips first that seems like quite a chore.)
How many tiny things would be altered by this change?
How many new futures would be brought into existence?
(Thousands of futures? Millions of futures? How much future is there??)
Would my art work, previously restrained by my brutally conventional number of fingers, suddenly attain the perfect off-kilter appeal to launch me into fame and stardom? Would I get a handicapped sign for my car?
Would I park through life with an ease that made the blood (oh, god, the blood) worth it?!
2. I COULD ADOPT A BUNCH OF WHITE PERSIAN CATS AND DIE THEM ALL THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW
|(plus one white one because when I started drawing this I thought there were eight colors in the rainbow.)|
Even after all the cats were dead, ten years down the line (probably sooner due to all that dye, etc.) it’s not like things would go back to normal. No! I’d be a million futures away from my pre-rainbmeow futures. There would be no going back. No retreat! Only forward.
3. I COULD CHANGE MY NAME TO “PENELOPE CRUZ”
I could go to the courthouse. or the wizard. or whoever. and I could change my name to “PENELOPE CRUZ” !!!!!!!!
My signature might look like this:
And when I said it out loud, like when I introduce myself, I could roll the ‘r’ a lot like “Hi I’m Penelope Crrrrrthththrrrruzzzzzzz” (wow if only there was an accent or punctuation mark that could indicate a rolled r!)
I’d probably get comments about it all the time. From the grocery store clerk, or the cab driver, or whoever. All the time people would look up and be like “huh, how about that!” and probably they would go home and tell their spouses or houseplants about it later. “I met Penelope Crrrrrrthththtuuzzzzz today.”
When I made reservations, restaurant staffs would get prematurely excited, and then, very disappointed. Perhaps I’d accidentally get some fan mail... Ooh! Or maybe I would accidentally divert one of the real Penelope Cruz’s psychopathic stalkers, inadvertently saving her life. And she would give me a diamond necklace or a beach house in gratitude.
4. I COULD KIDNAP A RICH PERSON’S BABY (THE REAL PENELOPE CRUZ’S BABY?? WHAT IF I CHANGED MY NAME TO PENELOPE CRUZ AND THEN KIDNAPPED HER BABY AND SAY I THOUGHT IT WAS MINE???) AND HOLD IT FOR RANSOM
I’d definitely do it very clumsily and get caught right away (not much of a planner) and I’d probable get convicted (not *actually* crazy enough) and go to some women prison where I would finally learn to knit, make ceramic dildos, and probably become a lesbian?? I’d definitely get some tattoos. Imagine all the tattoos I would get in this possible future.
Maybe some thuggish woman named Terry would give me a tattoo of a ‘peace dove’ but it would actually look like a sickly vulture:
and I would say "that’s okay, Terry, I’m kind of more of a sickly vulture girl than a dove girl, anyway."
I’d probably start writing letters to the kidnapped child’s family (Penelope Cruz’s family maybe??) begging their forgiveness and they’d totally forgive me because they are Christians or Buddhists or whatever, and then me and the dad would write a book together and go on book tours around to different prisons and book stores and go on Oprah.
5. I COULD GET A FACE TATTOO (OF, DARE I SAY, PENELOPE CRUZ? OF HER BABY? OF HER WHOLE FAMILY? WHO IS HER FAMILY EVEN I KNOW ALMOST NOTHING ABOUT PENELOPE CRUZ I ALWAYS GET HER MIXED UP WITH THAT OTHER SULTRY SEDUCTIVE LATINA ACTRESS IS THAT RACIST??)
I could walk to the tattoo shop two blocks away and tell them do just go crazy, do whatever they want, just fill my face with tattoo shit. And maybe write the words ‘Penelope Cruz’ (maybe phonetically like "Penelope Crrrrrrthththtuuzzzzza”) across my forehead and if there was space maybe draw Penelope Cruz’s family??
OOH. Okay. I could enter the theater and get only parts as phantom of the opera? And they could cover one half of my face with makeup and the other half could just be left as the tattoos? But the acting world is harshly competitive and superficial and I’d probably have some difficulty finding acceptance. But maybe since we’re working in the same field Penelope Cruz would hear about me through the grape vine and reach out to me and offer me a job as her family’s body guard because there’s crazy people out there, kidnappers and stuff, and they need protection, and my tattoo is like, a show of my loyalty to them. And then me and the dad could write a book together and go on Oprah. (That episode could be called “Phantom of the Oprah lol.)
Anyway that’s how it’s played. The expanded version of the game is nicer to play than the original 2-dice version because once you play out a few scenarios you realize all of those projections you made in earnest were almost equally silly as the ones made in the 3-dice version. Destiny’s a crap chute and you should just stop all of this and try, in everything you do, to do it with totality. No dice required.
okay bye! it’s my birthday! I’m gonna go make some ceramics!