Ask Andrew W.K.: How Do I Keep the Demons in My Mind at Bay?
[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]
Dear Andrew W.K.
Thank you for spreading your power of positive partying. I am ready for a move in my career and know that I will not be able to go any higher at my current company. If I were to follow my passion, it would mean leaving my current city, but I am in love with where I am living and with my friends and family here. I'm worried that if I DO follow my passion for my career, I might end up very unhappy being so far away from the life I've built, but I also know that if I stay, a big part of me will never be satisfied. I feel like my heart is invested in both sides of this dilemma equally. In your infinite party wisdom, what would you suggest I do? Follow my dreams and leave town or stay close to my friends in a job that is not good for me?
See also: New Weekly Feature: Ask Andrew W.K.
Dear Indecisive Over-thinker,
Thank you for your question! First, I'm not sure there really is such a thing as "over-thinking." How can you tell if you've over-thought? What if you start thinking about over-thinking and end up thinking too much? Why does hardcore thinking have to have such a bad reputation anyway? It seems we're proud to be hardcore and extreme in all sorts of other ways, why not in thinking? "Hey! Don't over-think it, man!" Why not?
Moments of deep contemplation are crucial. Sure, we don't want to immobilize ourselves by obsessing to a standstill, but don't certain moments deserve deep consideration? When we're at a crossroads, shouldn't we look at where we stand in a self-conscious and thoughtful way?
When you're thinking about how much you love your family, or how thankful you are for your friends--those are the kinds of thoughts that make life feel good; they make life worth living. Our attachment to those feelings is proof of their importance. You built a life you care about, and through your examination of it, you've realized that the time has come to move on from it.
Change is inevitable and painful. And life will throw change at you no matter how hard you cling to familiarity and security. But here, you have the choice for change. You get to choose to follow your dream, and that's the best kind of choice you'll ever get to make. Big life choices make us pause and take stock of our entire landscape--just don't gaze around for too long.
It's not the over-thinking that will paralyze you, it's the indecision. You've already climbed up the high dive--debating whether or not to jump will only freeze you at the end of the board. It's time to jump. Could following your dream be worth risking the dreams you've already achieved? You must be willing to bet on it, or what is any of it worth? Whatever happens, at least you're playing the game and playing to win. It's going to be intense, but it's going to be amazing. Even if it's not the easiest or the safest choice, it's the choice where you decided to follow your dreams. Destiny has given you this opportunity.
Your loved ones have given you the courage to take it. Now go. You owe it to them and you owe it to yourself. Just be sure to have a huge going-away party!
Your friend, Andrew W.K.
I'm in tenth grade. Like almost everyone else, I like parties. There's always one near me, but no one ever tells me about it. See, I have a group of friends, but they hardly ever have parties. My question is, how do I get more people to like me so I can get informed of these parties and stuff?
Sincerely, Feeling Hated
Dear Feeling Hated,
I don't hate you! Please write me back with your full name and contact info and I'll start telling everyone to invite you to all the parties they can! And anytime I'm in your area and having a party, please consider yourself officially invited! As far as how to get more people to like you, I think it's already working! After all, just reading your letter made me like you. That's one new friend already!
Your friend, Andrew W.K.
Hey Andrew, I write to you as a fan desperately seeking advice. It'd really mean a lot coming from you, because I truly look to you as a role model. I'm almost 19 years old and have had to deal with inner demons for as long as I can remember. It seems to be the more I grow up, the more depressed I get. Do you have any advice on how to stay positive through this weird, awkward transition into the grown up life?
Party hard, Brad
Life is an overwhelming experience. I think everyone feels this way. It comes with the territory of not being dead. Being alive is very, very intense, and the longer we stay alive, the more intense it gets.
I've struggled with bad feelings and demons too, and when talking about depression, it was often overlooked that those feelings were part of the core of being alive. It's a feeling that's easy to mistake for depression, when in fact it's just being completely blown-away by how intense it feels to exist. The "feeling of being alive" isn't supposed to be cured or avoided, it's supposed to be reckoned with and respected. It's supposed to be marveled at and mastered. It's supposed to be experienced.
I've always felt an underlying sensation that something was wrong--like a flavor in the back of your mouth when you wake up every day. But the feeling that something is wrong is also what's right. The feeling of being alive is beyond wrong and right--that's what makes it so intense. The more we can focus on this contradiction, and the space between opposites, the more OK we'll feel about not feeling OK all the time.
Some people have pushed the feeling of life so far back it no longer feels like anything at all. I don't want to feel the feeling of no feeling. I think you're like me. We've chosen to recognize this feeling of being alive. We're not going to cover it up or pretend it isn't there. Life is supposed to be lived fully--in all its pain, pleasure, and stupefying glory. It's meant to be intense. Life - is - meant - to - be - intense. Beyond that, if you really feel the need for help, please talk to a professional doctor. After all, I'm only a professional partier.
Yours in chaos, Andrew W.K.
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