As I sit here, unfettered by the expectations to get belligerent tonight, I contemplate my past two weeks out of school. A better way of phrasing school would be my normal routine. Nothing about these past two weeks has been normal, I got a car and started driving everywhere I went. Places that I once only biked, I now drove. I visited home 4 or 5 times, sometimes only for a single, 2 hour event. I ate a bunch of food that is not normal in my diet: frozen pizza, cheez-its, oreos, ham, turkey and pork. I played hours of video games and got high several times. Not to mention the copious amounts of drinking, lots of drinking. Sometimes for nothing.
Then, or now, on my first real day off. A day I didn’t sign myself up for anything and turned two invitations down. I have the login information for Netflix, so obviously I immediately went to that. These past few mornings I have been laying in bed just kind of questioning what I was doing with my life and trying to wrestle with all the possibilities of my future. Its been slightly debilitating and paralyzing. I was reminded today, after turning off Netflix that I can make the choices I want in my life very simply, I just need to do them. I can begin anywhere and I may not get to where I imagined myself getting there but as long as I can carry happiness with my on my journey I can be satisfied. See I have this weird, sometimes seemingly apathetic view on life; where I just feel like anything is possible. Any life story is possible, farmer, laborer, community activist, city planner, or city council member or dad. Doesn’t really matter. As long as I can maintain a balance and harmony within my own life and not just let it pass me by. How can one do that, idk? by finding peace with their actions and not carrying too heavy of a load.
Ive seen and lived and felt the feelings of living a happy fulfilling life with the wife. Spending all your time with them, loving every moment of it. Even the good and the bad. Ive also lived the fully driven life where you go into work, day in and day out trying to achieve a vision and being so dedicated to that singular path so that the rest of your life suffers. I told myself that I was over that period in my life, the hustle and bustle. Now I’m right back in it because of school and my obsession with graduating next spring. So I’m caught back up in this life of trying to go go go and so I feel these internal pressures to live that life; but the other half of me says slow down. I did just that mid November, I slowed down. I took my foot off the pedal that was crushing my skull against the curb trying to force me to be perfect. Then I took a breath and here I am, fighting that balance. Now I’m not stressed out with all of these things that I was telling myself I needed to do. Im lost with what to do with my free time. Its spent mostly watching TDS, on Facebook or now, thankfully with other people. I lost the backbone that I had been creating with Lauren. The momentum building my character, at least it used to be at the forefront of my thought process but without the time for it to be there, I’ve lost the train of thought. — When i talk about my ability to not continue to think about it, is that really the case? Can I not, or am I just making an excuse? I would like to think that these things I consume my time with are only habits that I have formed, a product of my times. Id like to break them entirely but that is so isolating, very few feel that pull to live life to its absolute fullest. Especially at my age, and if they are, its only for the pursuit of money which I find to be a conflict of interest. Ill be back to this one, done for today. Finals are calling.
I am not the incredible detail oriented, perfectionist that I once tried to be. Actually.. scratch that definitive statement. Its foolish to think that I am not those things because I can be those things! Those are not outside of my grasp. Placing myself in the box that says, you are this type of person so you should only do this. That limits your potential as an infinitely complex human in an equally complex world. Im not saying we all do this outwardly, but more importantly internally. We are not asked to write a paper and then immediately ask the professor if we can just do a presentation. We do tend to have pre-existing biases about what we are good at, and what we are not. These biases form when we start learning things that are suddenly hard for us, or they take more work then was necessary than before to understand. We take in this knowledge about “who we are” and then, let that framework guide our thinking patterns which inevitably turn those thoughts about ourselves, into self-fulfilling prophecies. Not always getting it right away or having to ask more questions are not signs of weakness, but signs of resilience and conscientiousness.
Alternatively, I am not rejecting the idea that focusing on your strengths is a bad thing; but that to, cannot be swallowed as information like it exists in a vacuum. Obviously every one has strengths, but only doing things that fit those talents will leave you feeling incomplete. I have found that this brings about some vain tendencies. Confidence is merely knowing, but that line where it becomes over-inflated can be crossed all too quickly.
These two things, only focusing on your talents and limiting what other things you “cannot” do because your not “that type of person” are almost like two sides of a gold coin…in giant treasure chest. Understand yourself but don’t let that limit your potentials. Practice the idea that everything you learn about this world, including yourself, needs to be absorbed and added to the collection while not covering up what you previously thought with this knew one.
As a human being can nature not be found anywhere? I just heard Tara Stiles say, I live in NYC and you still connect with nature where ever you are because nature lives inside of you. (This is such an idea, playing off the idea of not speaking to clearly so that others may not find there own meanings) As I think about this it is so true. You must be able to release from the traditional, common place use of the word nature. Thinking of green spaces, or mountains or prairies or bodies of water as the only forms of nature is limited. Not bad, just not all encompassing. As Tara said, finding nature inside you is even doable in NYC. I can find it here in the City of Minneapolis. Sometimes I long for the days of Duluth, when I could just take a five minute drive and be in the middle of the woods. I don’t need this to be with nature, I just need to be with myself and find a quiet center within my body, like I would in the woods. Looking for a quiet center is all it takes in both places. Im already so far into this, so I shall make comment on one more word. Quiet. Similar to Nature in the way that in this frame of reference, we do not mean the common place definition of lack of sound. I mean the lack of noise, the ability to find quiet within you can be done over an interstate bridge.
This was an important lesson for me. I struggled with that for a little bit this summer, feeling like I wanted to have a car to get out. When all I really needed to do was look within to find my answer. Sometimes I wonder if I could figure these things out myself and then I get the answer when I think about how little time I spend with myself.