Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Cowboy's Guide to Life

I've been thinking about this for about a month now.  When I was in Jr. High or so I had a list of rules, Cowboy's Rules.  I actually wrote them down.  They were based on (what seemed like but really wasn't) my vast life experience at the time.  All fourteen years of it.  Most of them were pretty good, well, for teenagers anyway.  They were a lot of things like "Don't date friend's ex-girlfriends" and things like that.  I had friends violate that one, and later on I violated it myself, and it never led to good things.  Not once.  Shocker.

For about the last month or so, I've been thinking of redoing it.  Sortof a Cowboy's Manifesto, if you will, just to see how it's changed at this stage of my life.  It's still a brainchild at this point, but then Rory Blyth posted Rory's Code of LIfe.  Aside from the initial "Hey, I was gonna do that" reaction, I thought it was fucking awesome. 

So there's a few problems now. 

  1. I haven't really thought out the new rules.
  2. I'm not really sure I want any.  It doesn't really fit with the whole epiphany thing that happened in New York.
  3. If I post it now, I look like I'm a lame ass who's trying to copy everything Rory does in order emulate his massive coolness. 

While that last one might be true anyway, It wasn't the case here.  Really.  But I think I'll share with you some of the reasons there is this mass of coolness that we refer to as The Cowboy.

  1. Wu-Wei.  I've talked about this before.  It's a Taoist concept.  The closest Western equivalent is "Go with the Flow".  I always think of the Chang-tse parable where there's an old man struggling in the river, then instead of fighting the river, he gives into it.  He works within the power of the river, and it saves his life.  That's me.  I don't wait for somebody to hand things to me, but I don't fight the universe either.  It's too big, It'll win.  I'm awesome, but not that awesome.  Not even Rory is that awesome.  I threw a pebble in the lake last November and rode the waves it created.  It's landed me somewhere interesting, but I'll have to wait to expand on that.
  2. Be Cool.  For me, that's easy.  For the rest of you, maybe not so much.  I'm just that awesome.  Women adore me, Men want to be me, and I secretly suspect that my entire life is being filmed in a real life version of The Truman Show.  Seriously, I've been catching myself on this lately, especially with my kids.  Big Bad Parental Rules that The Man (me) used to lay down, don't seem quite so important now.  My son wants a second glass of milk at dinner, why the hell not?  Why am I saying no in the first place?  Giving him the second glass gets a scowl from my wife, but it gets a grin from my son.   Net score in the positive, if you ask me.  Small example, but that's how The Cowboy rolls now.  We'll see where he ends up....  Hm... Referring to myself in third person now, not so cool.  Kindof Bob Dole, actually...
  3. Do things that make you happy.  These are kind of in order of importance, but this one is pretty damn important.  I forgot it for a long time, and now, thanks to one of those damn Virgos, I'm aware of it again.  Of course, when 3 is in conflict with 2, 2 wins out.  For instance, if killing random people makes you happy, you need another hobby, because that's not cool.  For me, it's music.  For years now, I've limited my music to involvement with the local orchestra, Puccinifest (I'm in that picture BTW), and an occasional quartet gig.  There's so much more to me, and I've been denying myself that.  Why?  Because I thought I was supposed to.  Because somebody told me I was supposed to.  Fuck that.  What the hell kind of example is that to set for my kids?  Do what makes you happy.  Don't teach your kids to be miserable, because guess what?  From now on, I teach my kids how to be happy. 

I want to share where all of this is going, but I can't yet.  It's fascinating seeing Wu-Wei at work, and how everything is changing as a result.  Stay tuned....