"I always thought that if I kept searching and exploring, I'd discover who I truly was," said Andrew Speth from his Wrigleyville efficiency.
"Well, I looked deep into the innermost recesses of my soul, I plumbed the depths of my subconscious, and you know what I found? An empty, windowless room the size of an aircraft hangar. From now on, if anybody needs me, I'll be sprawled out on this couch drinking black-cherry soda and watching Law & Order like everybody else."
"Fuck it," he added.
The original article was published in 2005, I'm not sure when it came across my path, but I'm certain it was near the time it was originally published. Read the original article → here.
This article has always stood out in my memory. I've gone back to it time and time again.
It has meant different things to me over the years.... I love the sarcasm and the and the picture of him smoking, laying on the couch, totally disgusting and absolutely in a state of utter "giving up"....
Giving up, is different for me. I haven't given up on greater meaning or purpose, in fact the opposite.
I gave up trying to be positive. Either you are, or you aren't. But if I'm always "trying" to be positive. Well damn, that's just exhausting.
18 years on the self help crusade. I have managed to find a bit of happiness and fulfillment. I have had positive days, damn near maybe optimistic.
Only to realize there are new levels of mental, physical, spiritual, and creative inspiration to achieve.
Everything I have gathered from all of my reading, research, and self exploration boils down to one thing:
No other one person can tell you how to make it happen in YOUR life.
Nothing I found or read from any resource has been able to answer the question of what am "I" supposed to do with MY life and how do I go about doing "it". That's an inside job.
Try to google search that shit.
I can say this with confidence, because I've been actively searching and engaging with this question and answer for 38 years.
This is a constant and ever elusive quest. Its doesn't stop, even when you quit it. It finds you in the alley when you're leaving the bar and snatches your purse and makes you question everything. It finds you on the mountain, it wakes you from your sleep. It shakes you from your blank stare, and pierces the silence.
Last night I gave up, but the world kept turning.
This morning I awoke, and the sun had come up without my effort.
Aren't you exhausted by your constant seeking?
The internal voices were silent.
Since calling off the search, Andrew Speth canceled his yoga classes, turned in his organic co-op membership card, and withdrew his plans to go on a sweat-lodge retreat in Saskatchewan. On Tuesday afternoon, he loaded books by such diverse authors as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Meister Eckhart, and George Gurdjieff into a box labeled "free shit," and left it outside of his apartment beside a trash can.
"The only books I'll be reading from now on are ones that happen to catch my eye in the supermarket checkout line on the few occasions I leave my apartment to buy more Fig Newtons," Speth said.
Speth said he will no longer lament his coding job at Eagle Client Services, but will rather "embrace the fact that I have a job that makes enough money to pay for cable." Additionally, Speth has vowed to marry "the first woman who will have me, whether I love her or not."
Though hardened and haggard from his long search, Speth expressed relief that it was over. Asked if he had any advice for those who are continuing on their own searches, Speth had two words of advice: "Give up."
You just can't take yourself too seriously.
From here on out any and all external guidance will only come from random happenings, serendipitous mistakes, or total fuck ups. I give up the search for the meaning of it all, in order to have the experience of truly living.
I welcome fate, chance, and lovely opportunity. I don't have all of the answers, and I don't want to.
Sometimes our idea of who we should be, gets in the way of who we really are.