Lives of Quiet Desperation
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Thread: Lives of Quiet Desperation

  1. #1

    Default Lives of Quiet Desperation

    A friend linked me to XKCD. It\'s a bit of a crap comic with stick figures, but every so often it\'s rather insightful. I had just read Dragonsreach\'s comment in another thread that \"most men live lives of quiet desperation\" when I came across this gem in the archives (profanity alert):

    And to repeat:

    \"The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I\'m sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a handful of paths laid out ahead of us. We see the same things every day, we respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, each day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us.

    And no, I don\'t have all the answers. I don\'t know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: the solution doesn\'t involve watering down my every little idea and creative impuse for the sake of some day easing my fit into a mold. It doesn\'t involve tempering my life to better fit someone\'s expectations. it doesn\'t involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up.\"

    This thread is not really about the comic, but rather your thoughts on the \"lives of quiet desperation\" theme. Do you find this sort of thing inspirational? Sadly true? A bunch of bologna?

    Do you think that you live a life of quiet desperation or do you try to live a life that most people never will?


  2. #2
    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    A rut is just a very shallow grave with the ends knocked out.

    I\'ve been in despirate areas of my life. Physical, financial, emotional. (never more that one at a time - thank God). I would have to say that emotional times are probably the worse. Nothing to put your finger on, nothing that you can see to fix, but you just know it is wrong.

    My job now tends to be more rut-like but the rest of my life is anything but dull and boring. There are often times I wish it was the other way around.

    I see my brother living vicariously throu his son\'s sports successes.

    I see my daughter living via her WoW character.

    Am I better off or different than them? I think that a lot of that depends on who\'s perspective you look from.

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    I felt pretty lousy when I woke up today.
    It\'s been a shitty day since, doing very little other than sitting in front of my computer and playing poker against moronic Scandinavians with more luck than they deserve and far less skill than they should have to play at the levels they do.
    I\'m currently tilted beyond belief.
    Reading your post has not done anything to make me feel any better.

    Quiet desperation? No, screw the quiet part! There\'s been a good bit of vicious, loud swearing and punching of walls/desks/etc mixed in with the desperation.

    In summary:


  5. #5
    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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  6. #6



  7. #7


    I think it is easy to fall into a rut. Let\'s face it - we go through education to eventually find something we like and are good at, and often that leads to a vocation. After you have done that a few years, you get so \"good\" at it that it becomes almost second nature, and consequently becomes less challenging and ultimately boring. It requires conscious effort to reinvent oneself and find novelty in day to day routines. That trap of boredom can lead people to make reckless decisions, whether it be changing careers at the wrong time, committing adultery, or getting into some addiction. The fallout of all of those can be terrible (not speaking from personal experience, fortunately).

    That being said, sometimes drastic changes are needed to keep life interesting. I haven\'t been there yet, though.

    Paint more minis - you can always try something new and exciting!

  8. #8


    When I was younger I used to think it was so cliched but the older I get the wiser I hope I am getting and it does seem true.........if it wasn\'t for the crappy times we have then how do we really,truly appreciate the good that follows the bad. And unless you give up all thing must end...including the bad.

  9. #9


    Years ago, I and a few friends were sitting on a porch one night, drinking beers, and discussing philosophy. Eventually a rather nihilistic thought cropped up: \"That all we could ever do in life is merely spending time until we die.\"

    My friends felt that was entirely depressing, but I interpreted it very differently: \"Thus there is no reason to waste time on misery and miserable experience; if the end result is the same, then a life lived is the path to take.\"

    The quote in the original post reminded me of this, actually, and it seems others interpret it somehwat less inspirationally than I do (IE, lono\'s ARGGHHHHH <g>). Still it reminds me that I haven\'t been living as fully as I once pledged to do. I certainly wouldn\'t use \"rut\" in relation to my life, but it has been inching closer to quiet desperation. It\'s time for me to shake things up again.

    I\'m also just very curious how people interpret \"the infinite possibilities of each day.\"

    Sorry, been introspective a lot lately and this is the sort of drivel which comes out when I\'m like this. :)


  10. #10


    Without being poetic or ironic, or even funny, live is pretty much like that for many of us.

    Quiet Desperation, that term seems to nail it pretty well.

    It\'s not a rut when you\'ve done it your whole life, its a pattern, its the norm...always waiting for that magical day when excitement and spontaneity will come bounding around the corner, only to find yourself sitting through reruns of \'Threes Company\' and deciding just to talk a nap instead.

    But as those days somehow blurred into weeks, months, years, and now decades, quiet desperation is all I do have left.
    Safe and dependable. How can we live lives where our worth is determined by the numbers on a paycheck, the size of our houses, or the number of posts I have...god its so pathetic it would be completely laughable if not horrifically true.

    All I\'ve ever done my whole life is basically wait for something good to happen, and all that ever does is leave a black hole sized empty feeling.

    On Monday, I look forward to the end of the day, By Wednesday, its the weekend...mix a few holidays, birthdays, or vacations in there and you have all the excitement of paint drying..(and not the good kind on a spanky new miniature, but eggshell white on a completely flat wall.)

    Saving for a rainy day, biding my time till I kick the bucket I guess.

    Don\'t get me wrong, I am proud of my kids, and don\'t regret a minute of being married and having a family. But, this isn\'t the life I was destined for, is it? Did I miss the day fate was supposed to do something for me?
    Was I supposed to be a world class golfer, but decided the sport was too expensive? Was I destined to write the great American Novel, but forgot to start?

    I don\'t know where to even look for those answers. I\'m sure it isn\'t at the bottom of a bottle, a mix of pills, hot women, or even kneeling in prayer.

    I\'m not sure about any of that , but what I do know is Mr. Roper is about to kick Jack out of that apartment building, and Crissy is going to say something stupid....I can\'t miss that.


  11. #11


    Well, crap, man, I\'m not trying to depress anyone! lol I\'m just analzying the hell out of something that grabbed my attention. :)


    And get this, for some reason I decided I needed some decent pictures, so now I\'m trying to take one of myself. How\'s that for grabbing life by the lapels? Woohoo! lol


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    it\'s how to deal with psuedo-intellectuals.
    \"Communicating badly and then acting smug when you are misunderstood is not clevernes\"
    \"Make like a tree and get outta here, you moron\"

    Does that help?

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    I get that bit, I just dont understand the words ending in Gry bit :)

  15. #15


    Originally posted by JesterzUSMC

    \"Make like a tree and get outta here, you moron\"
    Make like a cow pie and hit the trail......

    Make like a baby and head out...

    Make like a prom dress and take off.........

  16. #16
    Superfreak!!! lizcam's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. I must have a far more interesting life than I thought. You see I CRAVE having a \"rut\". I\'d love my life to be a bit predictable now and then. But every time I seem to finally get a pattern going something comes along to change the whole thing.

    Most of the time the changes are things that complicate the issue. And sure, I work at the same job and have for years. But my job is not my whole life. Everything outside of the job get challenging.

    The thing is, there are some really GOOD things that come along too. Lately those have taken over my life. I think a lot of it is recognizing the things that break the rut and focusing on those. Everyone one has to breath in and out, eat, sleep, try to make love, make money. It\'s the things you do in between those moments that make life worth it. Even the bad things!

  17. #17


    Well, here\'s the \"riddle\": (from )

    1. Think of words ending in \"-gry\". \"Angry\" and \"hungry\" are two of them. There are only three words in \"the English language.\" What is the third word? The word is something that everyone uses every day. If you have listened carefully, I have already told you what it is.

    The answer is language.
    It is the third word of \"the English language\". The question needs to be spoken, otherwise the quotation marks give away the trick. This version apparently originated in 1996.

  18. #18
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Well I can take no credit for the \"Lives of Quiet Desperation\" as it belongs to:
    Henry David Thoreau and in full is:-
    [align=center]\"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. \"[/align]

    I used it as an illustration in the Heath Ledger thread to point out that while we, in the majority, live lives of steady and stable monotony, we all had dreams when we were younger.
    As adults we\'ve either achieved those dreams or we haven\'t. So for those of us who\'s life is steady and predictable the excitment that we sometimes crave is supplied by Fiction, Music, Art and Acting and the people who create it. Which is how to some extent I suppose is how the Celebrity \"Cult\" in tabloids has been fuelled, allowing us to see vicariously into the \"lifes\" of people who we use as \"proxies\" to provide our escape.

    Personally I will not \"go to the grave with the song still in me. \" as I have found that, along with so many people on this site I have a means to express myself in painting.

    So since this thread took it\'s origins from a quotation let me give you a counterpoint to Thoreau\'s view:-

    [align=center]\"Life is not measured by the number of breaths that you take, but the moments that take your breath away!\"[/align]
    George Carlin

    And Yes this is a bit of heavy philosphy for a Saturday morning

  19. #19


    I think you can\'t just wait for the lightning bolt of life to strike. You gotta (in a metaphorical sense!) go climb the tallest tower in a rainstorm while flying a kite.

    Instead of thinking \"I can\'t, it\'s too difficult\", think \"why the hell not? what\'s stopping me?\"

    Although I did post this one on my livejournal last night, so you must\'ve got to me a bit...

  20. #20


    You miserable set of bastards! :D

    Everyone has the power to change their life, it just seems that many people lack the bollocks to actually do it.

    I reckon it mostly boils down to what I said in another thread - money shackles people. Mortgage, bills, kids, marriage, cars and the endless gadgets and status symbols we all seem to crave. All designed to keep us plodding along on the treadmills that drive our nation\'s economies.

    Think I\'ve managed to make rabid consumerism work for me, and a simpler life (less reliant on earning buckets of cash!) awaits.

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