On Finding Your “It” & Why It Is So Elusive

You know when you’re sitting in class in high school and you’re bored out of your skull? Everything the teacher says is white noise and sounds something along the lines of his/her parallel from the Charlie Brown universe. The class is almost over but not quite: seven minutes to go. You can’t wait to leave.

How many times have you gotten a grade in a class or even on an assignment that wasn’t deemed satisfactory and resulted in the age old verbal defense, “It’s just not my thing”?

But then “your thing” does come. A different class that you actually like; a sport that you play after the final bell; a student job that tickles your fancy; working on fixing up a clunker of a car with your old man.

Your thing. The thing that when you’re doing it, it makes you wish that you could be doing it for the rest of your life. That you could bury yourself in it; forget time and space and all of the distractions of the outside world and do the one thing you love until the hourglass runs out.

Lots of people get pushed away or–even worse–push themselves away from what they love to do. Why on earth would anyone do that? Simple. Money is often the main culprit, with circumstance (family, health, etc.) quickly closing in for second. For a generation like ours, one that many describe as being pervasively entitled, living life the way we’ve become accustomed to it is an essential.

I live minutes from a financially well-off beach town that does well because it hosts many residents who work at the nearby power plants. A large portion of my graduating high school class are aiming to work there as well someday. The majority of them went off to postsecondary education in order to become mechanics, engineers, or something like this.

True, when you ask them what they really want to do (in this context, presumably forever, as fools are often wont to ask), they’ll tell you nothing new; it’s still to be that engineer. Yet, when you ask them why that is, the answer often comes back in a grinning corporate mug shot: money.

From there, the next most important thing becomes a “hobby” and labeling it as such seems to bloom desperate justification. Suddenly the thing you truly love to do has been thrust to the side and left for moments of free time because the prospect of making as much green as possible has been just too powerful.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are those who all they want in life is to make money–to be rich. This line of thinking is sound in theory, for cascading wealth no longer means living in fear of poverty, social denigration due to second-hand possessions, etc. And for all those whom money makes that happy, I am glad for you. For the goal here is to find your “It” and thusly what makes you happy, and if that’s it for you then who am I to judge?

It is an ever-nagging thought in my mind, however, that those who are satisfied to the brim with purely the cold embrace of money are also those who have imagination only to speak about the weather when attempting to spark conversation.

As for the rest, it becomes abundantly plain that your “It” has been left to mold in the most unbecoming of ways. And along with it, that same euphoria you had in school when you finally entered that class you liked.

So you know what your “It” is, or at least the general direction in which it lies. For everyone it’s different. It is that which you can always surround yourself with and feel at peace; something that you can always turn to no matter the circumstance. It is that which makes you blissfully, intransigently happy.

I am, of course, writing this with a mind toward my own generation (who are, at this point in our lives, searching for our precise “Its’”), but I hope I am not limiting my word to only them; for no matter what age you are, your “It” is always accessible. The only difference shall be how difficult it is to resurrect it as a staple of life.

It is onerous to speak of this next portion while I myself am, admittedly, in the process (but perhaps the final stages?) of pinpointing my “It”, but I feel that it is a critical piece of the overarching puzzle. That being why your “It” can be so elusive, even after you’ve identified it.

Many complications can (and will) inevitably arise even if you’ve decided to take it upon yourself to follow your “It” to wherever it shall lead you. For example, I know that my “It” lies somewhere within the uncertain waters of writing. I don’t know yet specifically what kind of writing, only that that’s the category under which my “It” makes its home.

That complication alone is a rather minor one. An early one. But it sets in motion many others. Continuing with the example of writing, finding a method to do “It” becomes a separate, uncharted sea. Finding a way to make money with your skill set is one thing, but being allowed to simply do “It” is entirely another.

Say your “It” is specifically creative writing: poetry, fiction, etc. You get a job working for a newspaper stressing that you remain within certain formal boundaries. You have still been able to find and acquire a position that pays you for a variation of your “It”, but by that token your “It” again becomes a less important side piece to your daily life.

Indeed, the way our society works makes for a panoply of difficulties with varying levels of elusiveness concerning your “It”.

So then, the BIG question: how do I make money doing “It”? For that, I have trepidation that I am too young to answer. If it all, certainly indecisively. But I do, as I have elucidated, believe that following your “It” is a path that is filled with endless promise and can only open doors withholding pleasant aromas.

Eventually, doing what makes you happy and believing in your “It” will be worth it.

I urge all of you to find your “It”. I wish all of you eternal happiness. And know that no matter what your “It” is, it is something that is worth having.

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Of Gilglas and Glædwyn

In midst of meadow fair and green,

there brave Gilglas sought a shielded scene

to rest from the might of dark ground

which he had tread but been not found.

Safe from fell blade and dread fire-breath,

he vowed to avoid that place of death;

ere he saw black and faded fen

any beast would he slay again.

 

He cast himself upon cheered soil,

the darkling sky now set to coil

about the world in tender hold

while Lyftgyden’s gift, bright and bold,

with silver stare gazed down to see

Gilglas sleep under dewy tree.

 

Middle-aged moon shone o’erhead,

fortifying flowery bed.

Star-pierced dreams came in waves of gold

to cleanse weariness yet untold

by the mind of Gilglas who slept

still with secrets of horror kept.

 

Then, lo! the sweetest song did ring

throughout air and enchanted spring,

whereupon it graced dreaming ears;

Gilglas woke with extinguished fears.

Up he sprang to find the source,

heeding a nearby river’s course;

marvelous melody grew strong

as he stepped o’er blossoms long

to see now, in full starlight view,

Glædwyn the Snowstar, whose bright hue

made lushest grass and clearest creek

appear pale and humble and bleak.

From her lips sprouted misty speech,

caressing night where it could reach

and Gilglas felt strength fly his knees,

his gaze get stuck and body freeze.

Her azure raiment shimmered smooth,

so elegant it seemed to soothe

both trembling leaf and rattling breeze,

as she danced to put time at ease

there under sable blanket vast

with midnight pool upon her cast;

her snowy skin no less alike

to the stars’ ever valiant strike.

She moved under oak mighty and lean

upon whose branches lay no green

but blended light of courage built

from silver, gold; unable to wilt.

In her bright face lay two soft eyes,

which held deep and old royal ties

to whom Gilglas knew not, nor why

such a lady might from them fly;

for even as she turned her head,

radiance dazzling in her stead,

he could think of good reason naught

to leave her lonely and uncaught.

 

Then good Gilglas gathered himself,

and called in voice fair as any elf’s:

“Hark! To hear such song and see such dance

hath made me bold in my advance

toward this lady whom I know

from the artistry she doth show.

Though of her name I know her not,

hardest for this I will have fought.

And evil lands leave me sickly

in mind; unable to heal quickly.

Yet she hath revived me on sight;

is this merely my weak mind’s plight?

Indeed, I fear it might be so;

this fairest one might be my woe.”

 

But Glædwyn turned grey, starlit eyes

upon her admirer’s cries

and thus, she too, just like he

felt doom fill her heart with much glee

so that she knew that in this place

she would give in to his embrace.

Like clean, cool sky her voice frothed forth

unlike anything from the North:

“Be well my weary, Dark-tired friend,

for here no evil hands doth rend

rusty fetters to tie thy mind

nor foul cloth o’er eyes to bind.

Nay, what thou beholdest is pure yet;

and comes hither ere sunrise and set

to find peace from lonely tower

wherein my Lord stays his power.

But come forth, so that we may sing

and dance ere morning dove take wing

to wake us from this blissful sleep;

and give us cause enough to weep.”

 

But Gilglas smiled and answered so:

“Even Day cannot bid me go.

For here am I caught with no key

to free myself from thy beauty.

I would the key is ne’er found;

to thy will sapling heart is bound.”

 

So Gilglas the brave came to find

the Snowstar whose presence healed mind

and soul; he felt again now fresh

and under oak their joys did mesh

into lyrical song heard naught,

save in the land Gilglas had sought.

Gold and silver became just one

ere the rise of the morning sun.

 

Such is the tale in which They met;

for evermore in legend set

to rule all days of joy and mirth

‘til end the time of mossy earth.

Top 5 Favourite Films of 2015 So Far

2015 has already been a pretty great year for film. We’ve had a plethora of superhero films, some under the radar dramas, a surprising number of good action flicks and at least a couple comedies that have been worth paying money for.

There are some exciting movies still to come too: Spectre, Star Wars, Hunger Games, etc.

With that said, there are a couple of critically acclaimed films (either for the acting or for the entire film itself) I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet, so they won’t be on my list. They include: Southpaw, Inside Out, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Mr. Holmes, Macbeth, Ex Machina, Trainwreck.

Note: it is important to mention that, like most of my reviews, this article will be riddled with spoilers.

Even with those out of the way there are a lot to choose from, but here are my personal top five favourite films of 2015 so far:

5. Avengers: Age of Ultron

A lot of people were underwhelmed by the latest superhero team-up spectacle when it hit theaters. At first, I was one of those people. But it didn’t take me long to figure out why that was and, more importantly, why that thought process is unfair to the film.

People weren’t blown out of the water by Age of Ultron because they’d seen it before. The first Marvel team-up film starring Iron-Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America was something that had never been done before. It was a new breed: the ultimate crossover film. It was one of the coolest things about comics brought to life.

Unfortunately, our society gets bored easily. Everyone loved the first one because of this dynamic, but when the second didn’t have anything greater to offer, people became dissatisfied. The second Avengers film shouldn’t have to deal with that when we look at it from a standalone perspective, but inevitably it must in every other way.

Sorry, Joss Whedon.

In my opinion, Age of Ultron is actually the slightly superior film. The jokes are better, the action is just as good and now that the characters have established relationships, the writers were able to do a bit more with them in a way that was refreshing (i.e. the party scene where everyone tries to lift Thor’s hammer).

Sure, Ultron as a villain wasn’t very good (that’s one of the few downfalls of most Marvel films to date), but c’mon, was Loki really that much better?

Overall, the film did a solid job of blending campiness with all the fun and excitement of the superhero genre in typical Whedon fashion. If you’re looking for a popcorn movie, you’ve found it.

4. Ant-Man

Oi. It pains me to write this. I mean, I put this above Avengers!

Sigh.

I was one of the people (were there many?) who didn’t think that Ant-Man was going to be very good. At least, I didn’t think it would be in the upper echelon of Marvel movies. If any of Marvel’s films had a chance to blow it, this one took the cake (right after Guardians of the Galaxy, of course).

A guy who shrinks down, becomes stronger when he does so and commands armies upon armies of ants? In what way is that cool or even that exciting? Even the marketing, which I didn’t find moving, pitched the movie as a comedy backed up by the lead man being Paul Rudd.

Hoo boy. You talk about setting yourself up with a huge chance to fail.

But … it didn’t.

The film didn’t go as far as I thought it would in the direction of comedy. Instead, it was better balanced than I thought possible with action and even a couple intense moments. This was all made better by the impeccable acting of Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily (I always call her Kate from LOST), Michael Pina and (surprise!) Paul Rudd.

The moments that were meant to be funny were funny (thanks, Pina!), Rudd was a believable lead and Douglas stole the show with his performance as the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym.

The special effects weren’t top notch, but they weren’t awful. Like nearly all Marvel films, there was a level of campiness to Ant-Man, but (also like the rest) it managed to balance itself out pretty well. However, I felt literally nothing when Antony died (SPOILER! Also, it was so obvious).

Perhaps what made Ant-Man stand out from other Marvel movies and even just against other flicks from this year is the fact that it didn’t do what every other superhero film is doing these days: try to save the world.

No, this one centered around a small story, where nothing that happened would’ve resulted in a cataclysmic event. If the villain had gotten away with his dastardly deed? Bad, sure, but the Avengers could’ve got him easily.

This movie wasn’t about being the biggest, baddest thing since microwave ovens. It focused on a guy doing everything he can to reform himself to become a better man for his daughter, no matter what. From that point, it chocked itself up full of jokes, one-liners, action and took the stage.

And it worked. It just worked.

Kudos to you, Ant-Man. Also, Falcon better redeem himself at some point…

3. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Dun dun da da dun dun da da dun dun da da dunnununna!

Tom Cruise is back, baby! Sorry … I really like Tom Cruise. I think he’s a bit of an underrated actor. Anyhow …

Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise and it might be the best one yet. The acting is great, with newcomer Rebecca Ferguson making her first big splash in the Hollywood scene (no, I don’t count Hercules) as the film’s femme fatale.

Cruise, as always, plays the undaunted lead man, ready to take on any mission, should he choose to accept it (SPOILER: he does). Simon Pegg has a fairly large role in the movie and he too returns to his character as easily as if fitting on an old glove.

The action scenes are the best part of the movie (I mean, that’s what you go for with these, right?), and none of them really jumps out over the other. That’s not a bad thing though, since that just means that they’re all equally impressive.

The stunts are made even more jaw-dropping when you remember that Cruise in particular does all of them himself with no stunt-double. Every horrifically dangerous thing you see his character do for your amusement (feel bad yet?) is actually the actor himself.

The villain, played by Sean Harris, is a good one. He carries a sense of quiet rage that makes him an interesting watch. The way that the film plays out isn’t a twist entitled to the same praise as something like Se7en, but it’s cool nonetheless.

The movie was done by a director, Christopher McQuarrie, who knows what he’s doing when it comes to action movies (he also directed Edge of Tomorrow and The Usual Suspects).

Rogue Nation is one of the most balanced and fun action movies of the year. Give it a go.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

Talk about one of the best action movies of the year, Fury Road just may be the best in that category. In fact, I would venture to say that this flick is probably the best movie I’ve seen from head to toe in 2015.

Everything in Fury Road screams, “I AM THE EPITOME OF ACTION! WATCH ME! LOVE ME! OR PERISH!”

From the psycho being suspended on one of the post-apocalyptic vehicles while playing a flame-belching guitar, to Charlize Theron’s character ripping the face off of the film’s villain, this film has it all for not only action-lovers, but film analysts as well.

Fury Road does something that most movies these days don’t, or at least try not to. It hardly has a story; and the story it does have is borderline unimportant. The movie does exactly what it says it’s going to do in the title; it takes the viewer on a terrifying, crazy, wild, fun, intense road trip that would make the new Vacation movie crap its pants.

While Tom Hardy was the initial big name, since he plays Max himself, Theron steals the show with her portrayal of Furiosa. She’s probably the most badass female character in film (yes, I see you Uma Thurman and Sigourney Weaver). And even if you don’t think so, she has definitely some of the most incredible moments for a female action star in film; such as sniping a bad guy from far, far off while using Max’s shoulder for balance, since he wasn’t able to hit his target.

Her character has sent feminists up the walls, and in multiple directions. Whether you like the portrayal Theron gives or not, it’s undeniable that her character carries the most weight in the film and is the reason you’ll want to watch it again.

The score of the movie is incredible, done by Tom Holkenborg. It makes the whole thing seem fittingly epic. The music, like the action, never slows down. It’s a guzzoline-induced ride the whole way.

It’s hard to explain the rush that Fury Road gifts its viewers, so I guess you’ll just have to go out and watch it yourself.

1. Kingsman: The Secret Service

Here it is. My number one.

This film came out in the doldrums of February, when movie-people were too busy thinking about the upcoming Oscars to even turn their attention toward the usually boring, film-dead winter month.

Then, out of nowhere, like a freaking canon, came Kingsman. I saw it twice in theaters (which I almost never do) and it was worth it. This film is the definition of fun, man. Granted, you have to deal with some of the director’s (up-and-comer Matthew Vaughn) quirks and therefore be a certain kind of individual to like a few of the scenes, but it is one heck of a joyride altogether.

The film’s big name was Colin Firth, aided a little bit by the fact that Mark Hamill plays a minor role. Firth was excellent in the movie, and for a guy that hasn’t been in a ton of action flicks, he did a great job as a believable badass and mentor figure.

The star of the film, however, was young Taron Egerton, who played the lead character Eggsy. The kid is electric throughout the entire performance, forcing your eyes never to stray from him for too long when he’s on screen. He commands a presence, which is difficult to do in any movie let alone your first blockbuster.

Egerton fit the character beautifully and, because he’s so new to audiences, didn’t distract from the movie itself. Rather, he was the perfect puzzle piece to all those actors and actresses around him.

There were clever moments of wit and snappy talk that is prevalent in Vaughn’s films, and multiple scenes that will forever be memorable. Three of them immediately jump out to me: the opening and closing of the film, in which Firth’s character Galahad and later Eggsy use the line “Manners maketh man”; the firework explosions of people’s heads done in a Tarantino-esque fashion near the end of the movie; the church scene.

Undoubtedly the most memorable of those three is the church scene. If you have not seen it, then watch it. It’s an incredible 15ish minutes of film. Unless you can’t handle ultra-violence, in which case, stay away. Far, far, away.

Samuel L. Jackson plays the diabolical Valentine, and he’s hilarious. The lisp his character has was something he added himself to the character, and it makes everything that much better (even though it could’ve went so badly). The seasoned pro style that Jackson displays in this film bounces perfectly off of Egerton, and together they make for a dynamic clash of good and evil.

It’s been one heck of a year for action films so far. If you happened to miss Kingsman when it came out back in February (I don’t blame you if you did), do yourself a favour now and go see it.

Kingsman is James Bond on acid. Worth a shot, no?