Something’s missing. I lost something along the way.
“Sometimes you get up and bake a cake or something.
Sometimes you stay in bed.
Sometimes you go la di da di da di da da,
‘Til your eyes roll back into your head.
Your mind is racing like a pro now,
Oh my god it doesn’t mean a lot to you.
One time you were a glowing young ruffian,
Oh my god it was a million years ago.”
Ever think we’re not going anywhere? Ever wonder why we bother trying?
“Prudent men are wont to say – and this not rashly or without good ground – that he who would forsee what has to be, should reflect on what has been, for everything that happens in the world at any time has a genuine resemblance to what happened in ancient times. This is due to the fact that men have, and always have had, the same passions, whence it necessarily comes about that the same effects are produced.”
-Machiavelli, The Discourses
“I’ve been dragging around from the end of your coat for two weeks
everywhere you go is swirling, everything you say has water under it”
I’m having a bad few months, and I don’t know why. Well, I know why, in the details, but I think it goes deeper than that… when I look back on the last few years, I think about the happiest times in my life: times at the lake house, Senior year [’06-’07], summer ’08, and, most surprisingly, the month I spent in France.
There’s something so true and real and happy about living in the moment. As much as I love learning and studying and the idea of being in college, all the work suffocates that instinct for happiness in me. What characterizes those times in my life that were so special? I wasn’t thinking about tomorrow. I wasn’t working night and day, or planning how to get my work done, or how to get ahead of everyone else. I was surrounded by people who were relaxed, laid back, and who took things one step at a time. I was doing things I love. I was working with my hands (photography, making drinks at Espresso Mod, working in the fields and the cellars at Clos de Trias). I was living and working outside. I wrote in my journal. I talked to my friends, my family, and my boyfriends about big ideas, big things, and love. I loved them and I felt sheltered, enlightened, and bolstered by their support.
What changed? Why is the now so different from the then? Maybe because I’m not doing those things anymore. I live in a bomb shelter called a library along the ice-caked shores of Chicago. I don’t take photographs, I don’t work outside, I don’t write in my journal, I don’t have anything interesting or enlightening to say except those vague or topic-specific ideas I put into my essays. We think we live the contemplative life, the “philosophical” life here at this university, but we don’t. We’re drowning in work, we’re too busy freezing, fighting off depression, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life in the meantime to ever have time to think, to draw, to garden, to make things, to write. God forbid we do the very things the philosophers we read in the Core tell us to do! It’s a hypocritical system, and after thirteen years of it, I’m fed up. They tell us to read, and don’t give us time. They tell us to write, and instead of writing what we want, we write about things they assign. They tell us to learn, not what we want but what they tell us we should want. Do I sound like a conspiracy theorist? I feel like one. But in some sense, I believe everything I’ve said.
This is why I yearn for summer. Not so that I can do nothing, but so that I can read what I want to, instead of what I’m told. So that I can study what I want, instead of what I’m assigned. So that I have free time to talk, think, write, and live. This is the paradox that is my life: I know what I want to do in the future that will allow me to lead the sort of life I want to lead. It’s the present – how to get through the next two years without going crazy, and while somehow not feeling as though I’m throwing away two years of my life – that confuses me. Unlike most people, I know where I’m going long-term, it’s the short-term that scares me. And I’m scared of losing a day, a week, a month – to say nothing of two years.