andrew catellier

negativesign

Why Am I Not Doing Exactly What I Think I Want to Do?

[previously posted on November 5, 2010 at srsly.thisisreal.net]

There’s a feeling when you go to a concert that you get when the first chord of every song is played. You know what song it is because you’ve listened to every song so many times that if you needed to, you could transcribe all of them from memory. You emit a celebratory yell that simultaneously signifies that you know exactly what song they’re about to play and that you can’t believe they’re playing that song, right now, in what seems to be the perfect moment, the perfect spot in the show, and makes the perfect combination of their old innovation and their new, mature masterpieces.

This is a picture of one of my favorite bands playing a song that got me through a lot when I was younger for the first time in all the times I’ve seen them.

That doesn’t even make sense. How can a song get you through a situation? How can a song that someone else wrote make you feel like you’re not the only person that had this particular problem? The writer was probably referring to his or her cat.

But, whatever it is, there’s something about seeing the band play the song that completes its statement, that completes the idea you’ve built in your head over years of obsessing over it. It’s a bittersweet ending to a part of you that you don’t necessarily want to let go, but has been outdated since you thought you loved that one girl whose name you can’t remember.

You recognize the band for their artistry and the magnitude of what they’ve created. You wish you could accomplish only a fraction of what they have. If you could make just one thing that means half as much to someone else as what they made means to you, you’d be a success.

The performance reminds you of who you were and how you got to be who you are right now. When you’re working too much, when you’re too stressed out, when you’re not really happy about your accomplishments so far, it reminds you of your humanity. It reminds you of your aspirations and makes you ask the question: “Why am I not doing exactly what I think I want to do?”