A Quick Word

"In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." -Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

30 September 2009

This day in history.

Exactly twenty years ago, at around 10:30PM, my mom gave birth to me in a hospital in Flowood, MS. I have come a long way since then, but not far enough to drink.

Here's to another decade (hopefully quite a few more), and all of the fun that will come along with it. Because let's face it, turning twenty is the last time hitting a new decade is cool; hitting thirty is so bad it sends one into a "crisis." (Which also happens around 40, I think.)

24 September 2009

A new paradigm.

On a completely unrelated note to the rest of this post: I like iTunes 9. The layout is fresh--makes me feel like I've got a whole new iTunes. Anyway...

As I have alluded to in previous posts, the transition to life at Illinois has been a rocky one. It has made me even more aware of the gaping problems in my life, and also reopened a few old wounds that I thought had healed over. Be that as it may, I believe I'm making a great deal of progress in sorting it all out. For one, I came to the realization that the problems I have faced this past nine months are not new to me-- in reading through a few old journal entries, I came across instances detailing difficulties almost identical to the ones presently plaguing me. Reading in my own handwriting the words of desperation and frustration spill out across the page brought me a sense of relief. Obviously, I pulled through a slump like this before, so I should be able to do it again.

Second, I became aware that my present state of mind is defeating itself; I perpetually shoot myself in the foot simply by thinking and living the way that I do. I have not been placing adequate importance on the things that I care most about, with the result being that I only spend my time doing things I don't like to do. I spend too much time fretting over the wrong assignments, doing the wrong activities, and not going to bed on time (which, as stupid as it sounds, is important.) Ultimately, this leaves me feeling depleted, both physically and psychologically.

As humans, we must have a sound structure from which to live our lives. If our foundations-- the way we view ourselves, the things we do, our hopes and dreams-- are not strong and well-defined, then we tend to crumble under the weight of life's mundanities and obligations. In my case, I have an idealized form of myself in my mind which I try to live up to. The farther my actions deviate from this idealized "me," the more I deteriorate and more purposeless I tend to feel. If, however, I am staying true to this idealized form of self, then I tend to perform better and be an overall happier person. It has now become my goal to reorganize my life so that I can--with hope-- move closer to living the life I want to live rather than the life I settle for.

For me, passion is everything.

21 September 2009

An autumnal reminiscence.

I remember running through the autumn air when I was in grade school. I remember its chill, fresher than normal air--crispier, too-- and the crunch of the dead grass underfoot as I scampered along its vast infinite surface. In an odd way, it was magical, mystical to be outside on a fall day. The leaves had turned colors, and some of them had already turned as crisp as the air, turned brown, and busied themselves with scraping along the pavement as the wind carried them off to somewhere. I remember playing football with the other boys in the neighborhood. I remember the thrill of the game-- I played quarterback-- and wearing my old Brett Favre jersey so I could pretend to be him for the day. It made me a better player, I was sure of it. All of us wore jerseys-- all of us pretended, I suppose. We would play until the sun drooped too low in that brisk autumn sky and we couldn't see anymore. Usually, we played in the neighbor's yard, and their floodlights would come on as an unspoken sign that we should go home because dinner was ready and our houses were warm and lamp-lit and forgiving. I remember the grass stains on my jeans, the smell of the outside on my fleece jacket, and the scent of everyone's different detergent as we slammed each other into the hard earth. Our noses would run--our ears and noses turned pink and burned in the cold. My hands, much like they still do today, would turn dry around the knuckles, and sometimes they would crack and bleed, but I didn't care because we were playing football and I had to lead the team. I was so full with life then, too human, too strong as a ten year old, that it only bolstered and goaded me on. Real players bled. I was Brett Favre. Do the math.

15 September 2009

From a cafe on Neil.

If you read this-- and feel so inclined-- you can comment on it, even if you don't have a blogger account. Just letting you know. I don't want to resort to Facebook notes again, and so I tell you this in hopes that I can reach a vocal readership without having to tag people. Anyway...

I'm learning about the topography of life-- namely, that there are hills, valleys, mountains, and canyons, and that plateaus are only for those ignorant of the sudden drop that exists a few miles ahead.

13 September 2009

The business of being backlogged.

My ideas for updating this blog have all been excessive in scope; my topics are too broad, and the things that interest me often require more words to tell than people express interest in reading. (Not that I think people really read this, anyway. But if they did, I would want it to be accessible.) So, for posterity:

I'm still struggling to get into the swing of things. My bout with the swine flu really threw me off, and has resulted in an accumulation of assignments, which, as any good student knows, simply translates into hours wasted on Facebook rather than actually spending time completing the assignments themselves. It is a vicious (though seemingly inevitable) cycle.

Despite the time I have needed on Facebook, I have found the time to do other activities-- I attended my first Big Ten football game last night, watching the Fighting Illini defeat the Illinois State Redbirds 45-17. I have more analysis for this (and every other football game that has come on this weekend) than I do for John Locke's views on education in the 17th century or for Coleridge's "Kubla Khan." My lack of opinion regarding these latter two subjects is problematic, as a two page write-up on the Illini's current position in the Big Ten, no matter how well-written, will not garner me an A in Enlightenment or British Lit. And thus, I face a week full of Latin charts, ancient Greco-Roman mythologies, Romantic poets, and wars between science and religion that I must trudge through before the freedom of next Friday.

I'm learning the importance of purpose in one's activities, and the crucial nature of conviction regarding outcome and consequence.

06 September 2009

Back in the saddle.

I finally beat the swine flu. Perhaps I'll get back into the swing of things...

01 September 2009

Easing the adjustment.

I tried my hand at writing poetry today-- or rather, I adapted my prose into something like poetry. I realized that, at my best, my writing can sometimes contain its own rhythm, meter, and internal rhyme that adds a very lyrical quality to it. Curious at my new discovery, I took a grouping of sentences I had written earlier this year, put them in lines and verses, and tried to pass it off as a poem. I'm not sure if it is genuinely good, as I was just pleased that it exceeded all of my other attempts at writing poetry. Ironic, I thought-- finding a poem in a few lines of prose. But, I did not complain.

As it is, I found the experience satisfying. In many ways, it represents my life lately. Here's the poem. Don't be too harsh. (Remember, it was born as something different.)

The Overlook

Somewhere over the mottled hills
And into the burning twilight,
There lies a hope that beats
So softly against my chest.
It is where memories sleep,
Where emotion breathes, and
True beings sing hymns and lullabies
And hum for the approaching moon
--and stars.
Even the wind and breeze seem
Bent on making it over those hills
To this place of quiet refuge
Where my dreams, unfettered, thrive.