Ask Andrew W.K.: My Friends Resent My Success
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]
Photo by Ashley Eberbach
I'm having a really hard time after losing what I thought was my life. I'm in a place now where I've lost my marriage, my business, and my day-to-day existence. I'm unemployed and struggling with two children on my own. I'm having a midlife crisis and don't know which way to go. I'm primarily a floral designer and a landscape gardener, and I love music. Do I focus on what I love to do? Or do I try to bust into a new career?
This is a moment of reckoning. When radical events unhinge your life, do you abandon everything and give up, or do you double down and press on with a deeper appreciation for what makes your life truly worth living?
Now's the time to treasure what you love more than ever. Now is not the time to doubt what you love or abandon it. Stay true to your passion and to yourself. Besides, you'll never be able to muster the energy and enthusiasm necessary for success in doing something you don't absolutely love to do. Why put all the time and effort into learning some "new career" when you already have one that you enjoy and have invested so much of yourself into?
Just because a particular business didn't work out doesn't mean your passion for it was wrong. Just because I went to a party that was shut down by the cops doesn't mean I'm going to give up on partying completely. You do what you love because you love, not because it's easy or it always goes smoothly. This is a judgement day for you. It's a day for you to take inventory of your soul and find out what really matters.
Recommit yourself more than ever to your passions and see them through with determination and joy. Celebrate the ups and downs in your life. When the going gets tough, the tough get a party going.
No matter how hard I try to have an upbeat attitude and enjoy life to it's fullest, I can't seem to make that feeling last for more than a few days. Maybe it's just me being young and not understanding life yet. Any advice?
-- Party Hard
Dear Party Hard,
It has nothing to do with you being young. No one really understands life. And often, the older someone gets, the less they understand and more they realize how little anyone understands.
We're all basically awash in a sea of confusion, grasping at beliefs, concepts, and grids of meaning, hoping something will "once and for all" put an end to the confusion of being alive and give us an endless upbeat feeling. But the best we can hope to do is understand that we don't understand and that we don't need to feel "good" all the time.
In that way, you're right on track! In addition, having brief moments of revelation and extreme inspiration are wonderful, but explosions are designed to be brief. You can't really have a prolonged explosion--it's meant to be a dramatic burst of energy. It's part of the process of blowing your mind--you have a mental or spiritual explosion, and then it dies down so you can study it, appreciate it, and absorb it into your soul.
If you always felt on top of the world, then you would lose appreciation for the climb. Once it feels like we're at the top, we realize there are a whole bunch more tops to get to. At first, it can be discouraging and even exhausting, but try and appreciate the moments of revelation and the moments of contemplation. Look forward to the next break through and just keep on going.
Life is full of contrast, and those dynamics make it more thrilling. Appreciate all the moments as much as you appreciate the upbeat ones, and realize they're all part of your individual path. Besides, what's a great life--or a great movie--without some ups and downs, challenges and victories, friends and foes? We don't want an easy life, we want an incredible life, one worth living and re-living, watching and re-watching.