Kanye’s final verse on the final track of Late Registration, Gone, finishes on the theme of both concluding the album as a whole (excluding bonus tracks) and touching reality with the fact he already carried such a large presence in the media that he fantasizes about just what he could do if he packed it all up and set his sights on an old pal: normality.
To quote Mr. West, “And that make me wanna get my advance out, and move to Oklahoma and just live in my aunt’s house/Yeah, I romance the thought of leaving it all behind, Kanye step away from the limelight”.
He teases something I think most wonder about, or at least question once or twice at some point in their lives. Just what would happen if you got rid of everything you owned, gave a loving middle finger to the life you’ve had all this time, and left? All those things you haven’t thought of just yet — when will you face them head-on? All those people you haven’t met yet — just how will you form a bond? All these experiences of a new setting — how can you cope with them? To say ‘life is full of surprises’ is a cliché, and an ugly one at that, but it’s also a saying that carries an ambiguous message. How will the day change from right now compared to twelve hours from now? We don’t know, and whether or not we’re willing to admit it, the unknown is what drives us each and every day.
Let’s look at the 2014 World Series. The Kansas City Royals faced elimination in the win-it-all-or-lose-it-all Wild Card game, and not only won in a historic manner, but won each and every game in the NLDS and NLCS to reach the World Series against the San Fransisco Giants. For the first time in 29 years, Kansas City was in the playoff spot, and in the limelight to get the underdog trophy after decades of poor playing. Game 7 comes, and San Fransisco is leading 3-2 coming into the bottom of the 9th. Kansas City now sits at two outs, and two strikes away from losing the world championship title. Suddenly, Alex Gordon hits an astounding triple (riddled by a couple of errors on the Giants end), making it to third base, and now stands at a mere 90 feet from the tying run. What was previously a stadium full of fans who were ready to accept their fate one minute prior now stand on their feet, cheering like there’s no tomorrow, eyeing down the possibility that, “Holy shit, these guys might just tie the game. HOLY SHIT.” (The bar I was at during Game 7 went absolutely, positively bananas. There was not a single quiet person in the building by this point, by this ridiculous twist of fate, by this late-game action driving fans, casual or not, out of their minds.)
But, as life would have it for one reason or another, Salvador Perez comes to bat, hits a popout to foul territory, and the catch is made by San Fransisco. Game over. Series over. The bar, once more, becomes quiet, annoyed and disappointed. The few Giants fans near the entrance were not shy about their excitement, which ended up driving more Royals fans out to go home and pretend it didn’t have to end on such a cliffhanging finale. All night long I re-watched highlights, but specifically, the triple by Alex Gordon, and told myself over and over, “What if he had just ran for home? What if he would have made it? What if Perez managed to hit a single and drive in the tying run?” It genuinely upset me knowing the outcome of what could have been, but was now nothing more than my imagination.
Baseball as a whole is unpredictable, driven, determined and in the bat and gloves of the beholder. I’ve often wondered why I’m so attached to this sport, considering how disinterested I am when it comes to the NFL, NBA and NCAA, but finally, my love for the sport finally had a tangible understanding: I’m fueled by unpredictability. It’s a large part of why I love urban exploration and journalism. Generally speaking, I don’t think I’m anywhere as interested in things I could easily come to a conclusion too. Not to say I don’t like that for certain things of course, but my curiosity for what’s inside an empty building, or for the outcome of a baseball game down to its final strike, or for the “what could have been” with someone special. I love it.
Or at least, I love the idea of it.
I’m often too down on myself. 2015, specifically, has been a very difficult year for a handful of reasons, and it’s because of that my mind has been fighting with my heart over the course of about three months. Every day seems to be a struggle with either the same old thing, or an added conflict. I cannot honestly tell you the last day I haven’t thought something like, “I have nothing going for me,” or, “I’m too uninteresting to stick out to anyone.” It’s an internal struggle, and one I’m annoyed about every single day, but it also manages to bring out the side of me that so desperately wishes I could stop being attached to the unknown.
Just give me what I am too impatient to wait around for, life. For once, like I also tell myself, work in my favor. Just one time. There isn’t a worse feeling in the world than to not know what tomorrow holds when you cling onto the same ideology so optimistically.
It’s in these circumstances though where I halfway come out of my slump and remember the desperate, and hurried, moves to get out of my previously regular life in Texas. To move to a city that carries a population of much, much, much than 200,000 is a task of its own, but to not know anyone at all? Am I insane? Probably, but I would have never thought such a drastic move would eventually morph me into the person I am today. I didn’t know the outcome, I was too afraid to even think of the outcome, but the underlying adventurous side of me ate that up — and then some.
I’ve hit points that felt like there was no return, I’ve hit points that felt like I couldn’t possibly be any higher, and I’ve hit points where the only thing that could have made my day any more average was to get called into work. I often drown in my sorrows, but I also recognize where I’ve come from, what I’ve accomplished on my own, and how, unlike Kanye, I’ve surpassed the point of romancing the thought of leaving it all behind. Heartache, personal failures, anxiety and fits of depression suck, undoubtedly; yet, how else would I challenge myself if I expected these? I could never live the life of someone who lives day-to-day with no real motivation. Give me love or give me adventure, I don’t care which; let me continue on the path of unpredictability, because that’s where I’ll always be happiest.