I stock up on dopamine* in the mornings by dancing, sometimes singing to my favorite songs. These range from So Whatcha Want by The Beastie Boys to the opening of the 2013 Tony Awards as sung by Neil Patrick Harris (thanks, internet, for all your flaws, for bringing me this ode to excess.)
Being a stage performer, particularly in musical theatre where you might have to be singing, dancing, and acting all at the same time, is tremendously hard work. It is physically demanding, often debilitating. Lots of musicians bring the same energy to the concert stage, not just in rock but across the board (it’s Britney, bitch.)
It’s not just the dopamine I’m chasing but the calorie burn. So I’m not ashamed to say I had to bail out about two minutes into the Talking Heads’ performance of the song Life During Wartime in the seminal concert film Stop Making Sense.
IDK what David Byrne was eating those days (looks like nothing) but he never stops moving and neither do the rest of the band. If you don’t regularly exercise, you’d never keep up, because they are beasts. MF, they are playing their instruments while running in place and has Gen Z seen this shit yet? This is a TikTok challenge waiting to happen, amirite?
So I thought, what a great candidate for a stupid goal. To be able to do David Byrne’s bit in Life During Wartime.
Get delusional, isn’t that what the kids say? This is a theme for me right now, after a post I made about impossible goals to a lively group of professional writers blew up, getting a few hundred comments from writers at every stage of their career. Why not carry this energy into everything I do?
I need delusional goals. Ordinary ones don’t seem to motivate me. So why not try something ridiculous? Absurd and not wholly useful except that it spurs me to be more active. A chance to score a symbolic victory over my human tendencies—taking the easy way out, hoarding calories in case of famine, anxiety about my appearance and social rank.
We have so little time on earth, and there’s so much that we might do that we’ll never have the time to even read about in someone else’s words. We’re dying the minute we’re born and I think if more people understood that we might as individuals and as a civilization use our time better.
I’m old enough to feel this in my bones. They say youth is wasted on the young because it’s only the accumulation of years that make you understand time at the cellular level. There is no solution to death. I don’t know that I’d choose eternal life even if it was offered. All we have is today, this hour, this second, this heartbeat, this blink of the cosmic eye, our every breath one more pearl strung on a thread that grows shorter and shorter.
Do it now. The thing you always wanted. Do it now because there is only now. Only this moment, this breath. This.