I’m Not Counterculture

(In that I’m not a slacker or a beatnik.) [1]

Allen Ginsberg [source: Cody’s Books]

I remember that, in my mid-teens, I assumed my cousin E. and my uncle J. as role models. They weren’t quite my dad’s age—they were one to two decades younger—and so they were role models for the age bracket I was approaching. I took these guys on because my dad was so impressed by them. And if you admire your dad, the people he admires become admirable to you.

Both were smart and capable and charismatic. One had tried out for the Olympics, was and still is a major biker, and could repair anything. The other was co-creating his own comic book and could, similarly, repair everything, e.g. he worked on crazy projects like a sun dial carved from stone for my dad. Most of all, they had what I at the time would’ve called drive or hunger. I was ashamed of myself because I didn’t feel I had this. Comparing myself to them, I felt like nothing. Their antithesis was someone who lazed around and leeched off his/her parents, and I was afraid I would become that, afraid I already was that.

I don’t know whether I got as much from college as I could have, but I feel the thrust or result of these past five years has been, figuring out who I am and what I want. I’ve finally got what I thought E. and J. had. I know what I want now. If I don’t know, I become depressed and hopeless. If I do, I can chart a course toward it. I can lay down steps and knock them out. So. I have, I think, finally become what I wanted to be: a guy in his twenties who desires success and acts on that. I’m not content with laziness anymore and that’s why, though jobless till July 1, I’m finding whatever I can to fill my time.

As a result, I’m feeling remarkably solid lately. In my pants.

[1] Actually, Kurt Cobain & Allen Ginsberg embodied what I describe. Both were artists who as it were made statements with art despite representing alternative cultures that may be misperceived as, uh, supporting laziness. Not true. They rebelled against a culture/society—the mainstream—they considered stultifying. I feel the same. Still, some part of me dislikes what I wrote above, as though it’s an admission or confession and I should feel ashamed of wanting to succeed.

[Cross posted on P.S.]