I haven’t been uploading any new videos of late because I haven’t been in the mental state to create things. My creativity was blocked because there were a lot of things on my mind, a lot of suspended particulate matter that makes everything hazy and unclear. I just needed something to go my way, anything at all.
That breakthrough came in the form of me finally getting my driver’s license for the state of Tennessee after 5 months of moving to the state. After 5 months of being stuck in red tape and having no choice but to wait, I can finally officially say that I’m a resident of this new state that I reside in. I talked about how car ownership and how the ability to drive is at the core of the American experience in a blog post I wrote a while ago. I can finally say that I’ve settled into my new place of residence, even though I have been living here for over 5 months now. I can finally say that the new chapter of my life has begun in earnest.
This saga got me thinking about the long and short of settling into a new place, a new chapter of life. It took 2 days to set up my living space. But it took over 5 months to get my Driver’s License- the key proof of residence, the key to mobility in this car-first ecosystem where pedestrians are an afterthought, and foreign passports are somehow unacceptable as proofs of identity nearly everywhere.
In the interim, my mind was full of thoughts about all the plans, wishes, and fantasies that have gone unfulfilled so far. You see, ever since I moved to the US in my early 20s, I heard the usual off-hand comments that implied I was on borrowed time, and that there was an eventuality waiting for me as I grew older. There were these unwritten deadlines written by society, by ancestors decades or centuries ago. These forces pulling me in some direction because it’s “what’s best for me”.
Living in the USA as a financially independent 20-something, I have the most agency I have ever had in my life, and yet, I am powerless in many aspects. I mean, think about it- I am living in the US on a work visa right now, and I have a long way to go when it comes to really settling here, owing to a bunch of factors beyond my control.
The lyrics to Riders on the Storm come to mind:
“Into this house we’re born, into this world we’re thrown”.
That concept of being thrown into this world, born into conditions beyond our control. These conditions affect how we live and experience the rest of our lives.
I couldn’t control where I was born, and how I was raised. When I moved to the US, I looked at it as an opportunity to start afresh, to make mistakes and learn from them on my own accord, without judgemental eyes stalking my every move. Moving halfway across the world brought its own challenges with it though- having to deal with red-tape all by myself was one of them.
As I saw myself being trapped in this red tape, I began to see all the other ways in which I hadn’t really escaped the circumstances in which I was born and raised. I began seeing those deadlines again. I began seeing those existential dead ends that society has ordained to be the ideal conditions, the happily ever afters that you aren’t supposed to question. You know what I mean- having a wife and kids, living in a house encircled by a fence and a back yard, having cordial relations with neighbors and some kind of social group that you’re a part of only to satiate your social needs and sense of community, a group that runs purely on quid pro quo but tries to convince itself that it’s formed on some deep connection.
Is that really all there is to life? Wife, Kids, Social Groups? Well, yes, that really is all there is. There comes a time where you come to terms with the inherent absurdity of the universe, and everyone’s silence on the matter. It is at that point where you either take refuge in the belief system of your choice, or you accept a nihilistic approach. Or, you decide to rebel against all of it- against both the absurdity of the universe and the world’s silence on the matter. To decide to live the way you want to live, and to give in to neither ends of this problem, just because you can.
That’s the sense of agency that I want to exercise through the videos that I make. To exercise the right to talk about whatever I want to talk about, instead of simply talking about things that people want to hear, or the algorithm wants to push, or anything else will make this video go viral- whatever that may be.
In the end, with my driver’s license finally approved, I want to revel in this sense of closure. Of finally feeling like I’ve embarked on a new chapter in my life. Maybe I’m still hurtling towards some eventuality, or maybe it’s all unknowable and absurd, but I feel like I bought myself some time, and regained a sense of agency and control in my surroundings.
I had these thoughts circling in my head for a while now and I needed to talk about them before I went about with the regularly scheduled programming. Life is weird in general these days, and my ruins with bureaucracy and subsequent intrusive thoughts only serve as a microcosm of life: the fact that this small thing was resolved but so many questions still remain is in and of itself what life is all about. About how you decide to live it, given the things you can’t change. About the journey, and not the destination.
Thanks for watching. Like this video if you liked it, share it with someone if you think they’d like it and remember:
“The difference between marketing and propaganda is ______”
I’ll see you next time.