It’s Good to Be Matt Damon

Two nights before Christmas, I stayed up late to wrap gifts alone. I kept the TV on for company and groaned when Charlie Rose came on with Matt Damon and Cameron Crowe. I expected shameless plugging of their movie We Bought A Zoo and perhaps some vapid discussion of their “craft.” But about 10 minutes in, the interview took a surprising turn that resonated in a bordering-on-creepy way with the two biggest themes I’ve wrestled with over the last year:  career fulfillment and friendships.

Matt Damon is very articulate. And also one lucky son of a bitch.

Phase 1 (in which Matt Damon and Cameron Crowe Confirm My Biggest Fear about Career)

Matt Damon pointed out how Cameron Crowe’s movies center on a main character doing something in the first act that everyone around him thinks is crazy. They do this because “it’s something they need to do…their inner voice is telling them to do it.” You know, just like we all do to choose our path…Oops. 

Amazingly, just as I was thinking, I have no inner voice, and what the hell does an inner voice say anyway, Charlie Rose said, “an inner voice that told you?…”

Matt Damon: “I gotta do that.”

Cameron Crowe said, “Exactly.” Then they both proceeded to rub it in. Their inner voices. That they both had from their earliest memories (Matt Damon’s Mom knew he’d take this path when he was two). That were encouraged by their parents (both of their mothers worked in education). That they reached the pinnacle of success by listening to and actively pursuing (Cameron Crowe wrote a Rolling Stone cover article at 16.). But I’m not jealous or anything.

Cameron Crowe: “Someone told me…if you don’t listen to that little voice it goes away…”

Me: “Yep.”

Matt Damon: “Boy that’s a terrifying thought.”

Cameron Crowe: …”pay attention because to be out there with no instinct guiding you, that’s truly scary.”

Me: “Welcome to my world. Not sure if I ever had the voice, but if I did it’s gone now. Terrifying? Maybe. But definitely overwhelming and frustrating.”

Charlie Rose: “Do you think that everyone if they listened carefully would find it, would hear it? Is it easily unheard?

Me: “No and YES!”

Cameron Crowe just looked confused (“I loved writing, loved the written word, I just had to follow that path.”). Matt Damon: “it probably depends on who you are…for some people it’s pouring out of them, and for others it might be a softer kind of voice.”

Sitting on my Mom’s living room floor, I alternated between cutting, wrapping, taping and staring at the screen in disbelief. How did they get onto this topic? Had they read my blog? Why did I have to be the second kind of person?

I closed my eyes and tried to hear my inner voice. My inner voice was so faint I could barely make it out. It said…

your life would be a lot easier if you were Matt Damon.

Phase 1 post script: I saw this billboard off the Pennsylvania Turnpike coming home after Christmas. Even Kermit the Frog has an inner voice.

Even Kermit has an inner voice.

Phase 2 (in which Matt Damon Confirms My Biggest Fear about Friendship)

The conversation turned to Matt Damon’s early days in the film industry with his best friend Ben Affleck. Just when I thought this interview couldn’t get any more surreal for me, Charlie Rose asked, “what is it that makes a great friendship?”

Me: “No way they are going to dissect friendship now too.”

Matt Damon: “For one thing, when it starts.”

Me: “Uh-oh.”

He and Ben met in high school and had the same goals. Charlie Rose summarized as follows, “the point is that you started early, the bond came early.”

Me: “Whoops!”

Thanks to Matt Damon for tackling two of my big life questions and pretty much taunting me.

I’d been meaning to write about this so thanks to Studio30 Plus for throwing out a writing prompt that fit: The Big Question.

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20 Responses to “It’s Good to Be Matt Damon”

  1. Mudmap
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    Oh God, yes and yes. Sigh. I find myself drawn to books about people who have suddenly changed their lives following that little inner voice. Let me know if you work out to hear it again 9and not those jargony new-age things either)

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Occasionally I hear a voice, but I’m not sure it’s a good thing! Like a voice told me a few times during graduate school to quit…but I think it was just fear talking (the fear of hard work). It’s not like the voice had any ideas of what to do INSTEAD of school, so quitting school didn’t seem like a viable option.

  2. besidealife
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    Matt Damon!

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      I know, right?!? I kind of wanted to be annoyed at him, but he was just so damn articulate and charming. At the end of the interview, he apologized for talking so much, but everything he said was pretty interesting.

  3. cinquecentoproject
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    I love this! I am wriggling around in my head and looking for my inner voice. Love what yours said to you, I laughed for minutes. Great treat this morning

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks Jill! I’m hoping to find a voice that says something more helpful–my voice is usually all about the snark and what I DON’T want to do. It’s frustratingly silent on what TO do.

  4. Kristen Tarajos
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I guess my problem is this- I hear my inner voice, then choose to ignore it.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Hey K-10! Ooh, now you have me curious about what your voice is saying!

      Sometimes I do have a voice, but it’s not clear to me that I should listen to it–my voice is usually negative–telling me what NOT to do. Like in my response above, my voice told me several times to quit graduate school, but it didn’t give alternatives. Grad school was hard and it would have been a relief not to have to do all that work, but then I’d be living in a van down by the river. Or something.

  5. Catherine
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    The inner voice thing? I would have thrown something at the TV because I’m often thinkning about it. I hear something but don’t know if it’s my inner voice or Satan. Maybe it doesn’t matter?
    Seriously (sort of), I thikn when it comes to something creative it’s a lot harder to find and follow the path. I believe that I want to write and its my passion but…too many buts.
    Thanks for a great post!

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      Satan-LOL. My nickname in college was Satan, so I suppose my inner voice IS Satan.

      Like I said above, I do hear something too, but it’s not a positive voice, it just nags at me RE: what’s bothering me about what I’m doing. When I do think of something I might like to do, my voice talks me out of it.

      I used to think, if only I knew what my passion was…but like you, I’d have too many “buts” about it even if I knew or believed I knew.

  6. Abby
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    I’ll echo the sentiments above and say I’m pretty sure my inner voice is screwing with me, as I can’t tell what’s real and what’s the result of too much partying the summer I turned 21 (a long time ago, mind you.) How do you know what to follow and what to keep in the back of your brain? If I knew for sure what that “passion” was–that it wasn’t simply a pipe dream–I would be more motivated and inclined to pursue it. However, there’s that whole “Have to pay the bills thing.”

    Second, yes on the friends thing. I wish I still had someone like that from when I was younger that I could rely on and not have to start all over with. As adults, it’s hard to meet people “in real life” that aren’t alredy wrapped up in their own old friends or families. I guess we keep trying 😉

    • Suniverse
      Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Excellent post.

      I’m terrified of following my inner voice, because what if I try and I fail? THEN WHAT? Or what if it’s lying?

      Except everything else keeps gently and not-so-gently nudging me toward it. So . . . jump in or edge in?

      As to friends – it is so, so, so hard to make friends when you are older. And not feel desperate about it.

      Stupid Kermit and Matt Damn. And Cameron Crowe, too.

      • logyexpress
        Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

        What if I try and fail? Right. My voice is faint and I don’t know if it’s lying necessarily, but the voice might be wrong (or stupid). Like “let’s start an ice cream shop…” yeah and what if I lose my shirt and then have to crawl back to my job and work there for 20 more years to recover my losses? If I just stick it out, I might be able to retire considerably earlier. That’s what I’m struggling with.

        Last year I made a pretty big effort (for an introvert anyway) to meet new people and it’s been good, but also a bit exhausting. And it makes me miss old friends. I don’t relish the “get to know you” stuff, I prefer the real and intimate conversations once past that part. And that can take a long time to get to, if you ever get there at all.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      Abby–you have crystallized my thoughts on the inner voice thing better than I have. I do occasionally hear something, but I can’t tell if it’s coming from a place of big dreams and passions worth pursuing or coming from a place of desperation for something new after 15 years of the same work. At the end of last year, I got this idea to open an ice cream shop. I’ve been batting it about in my head for months. But it’s crazy…right?

      I’ve been a pretty shitty friend in terms of not making more effort to keep in touch with people. Reconnecting with some old friends (like Kristen in this comment thread!) has been one of most rewarding things about starting this blog. But I do wish I’d done a better job of hanging on to more of my friendships over the years.

  7. jesterqueen1
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    I’m sort of the first type. My husband is very much the second type. And it is NOT horrible and terrifying to be him. It’s actually quite peaceful, because he’s capable of taking each day as it comes, of adapting to things as they need attention, and of stretching himself very thin to fill a lot of roles in our home. Me? I’m manic. In all senses of the word. I’m never settled, always edgy, constantly constantly constantly grumpy. I can only do one thing (barely) at a time, and whatever it is, if it’s not writing, I’m vaguely resentful of it. So while, yes, it would be nice to be Matt Damon, I’m not sure being you is a bad thing at all.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Thanks, this is an interesting perspective. I think my problem is I’m no longer peaceful. I think I’ve hit the wall with my current career in terms of growth and what I feel I can learn and I am just quite frankly tiring of it. So I’m edgy and no longer settled and pretty grumpy a lot of the time, but I don’t know what to do instead. My voice just keeps saying: “Must. Get. Out.” It’s like an extra hurdle to jump. Then once I jump that hurdle, if ever, I have to face the fact that my dream may not be possible or a rationale thing to pursue.

  8. Rebecca Latson Photography
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Yeah, living your dreams is great – if you can afford it. My dream is to become a full-time photographer who can afford to pay the bills after quitting my current day job, with enough discretionary income left over so I can take some neat photographic trips to Alaska, France, Yellowstone National Park….you get the gist. Now, I just have to figure out if this is a pipe dream, or if I can actually accomplish this before I die. People like Matt can now afford to say all of that shit because they *can* afford it. Will ya listen to me? I’m usually a half-glass-full kind of person, but then reality starts to set in. I’ll keep you posted on just how much closer I get to my dream as I get older. I’m going to be 51 this year, so I figure I’ve got a good 49 years to work on this issue.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      Yeah, I’m a realist too. No matter what, I’m not going to be Matt Damon. Although I do believe the intensity of one’s passion is correlated with success at achieving it. Doesn’t mean everyone with strong passion will succeed, but I think the strong passion and clarity about it is a necessary condition. And I don’t have that part. My passion is to not be in my current job until retirement (unless retirement is very, very soon!).

      So I’m sort of jealous not so much of Matt Damon’s (and Cameron Crowe’s) huge success as much as I am of their clarity of what they wanted from such an early age. I think back to when I was a kid and I just didn’t have these types of career dreams. Still don’t. Lots of things I’m interested in, not really any I know I’d enjoy pursuing for $$ (or am good enough at…).

      So I’m jealous of you too. You know what your dream is. AND, you take excellent photographs. Photography is a hobby of mine, and seeing your pictures and your doubts about whether your dream to do it professionally will pan out makes me sure I couldn’t pursue it!

  9. nikkianne
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    I think my biggest issue with my little voice is that when I share with others what it tells me, they often tell me how ridiculous or impossible or unreasonable it is. I am starting to accommodate it in my life and it’s voice has grown stronger – give an inch, and it takes a mile, sort of thing. Not sure where the path will lead but I am glad, I let my voice live.

    • logyexpress
      Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      I have a tendency to tell MYSELF how ridiculous or impossible or unreasonable it is and never even reach the point of sharing with others! I really have trouble distinguishing what I should heed vs what I should ignore. I hope you find what you want!

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