Friday, August 19, 2011

"If Time is of the Essence Then it is the Essence of Time that Ought to Direct our Stumbling Steps"

Before my trusty thumb drive, I used to email myself assignments and essays from school so I could work on them at home. I have some friends who, when they e-mail themselves, they attach a little note so they feel like they are getting email from their past selves. I used to do this, but honestly, I got tired of cyber-talking to myself. I do that enough in real life. I couldn't bear to send a sad little blank email though. Instead, I started making up quotes and giving them fake authors. They were always delightfully ambiguous. The type of quotes that would be plastered on the wall in a high school English room. The type that people would read, shake their heads thoughtfully, comment on its profoundness, then walk away without any lasting impact made because they mean absolutely nothing.

"The road to success isn't complete without a few flares along the way"  Charles Willson

"The feeling of pain never comes into the station alone--this is what makes it so unbearable.  Its friends are some of my worst enemies"  George Oversteen

I wondered what it would take to have a quote credited to you. To say something so worthwhile that it ends up plastered all over google when people search for quotes for their essays and speeches. Then I realized, no one will ever quote you unless you have some sort of credentials. For a quote to be truly powerful, then your name has to be powerful first.
This striked me as rather sad. It doesn't matter so much how beautiful or meaningful the quote is. If the wrong person says the right thing, it means nothing. If the right person says anything, it means everything. Judging the quality of what someone has to say based on who they are instead of what they have to say seems unfair at best. I like to write meaningless quotes with meaningless people attached. Yet if I actually had something of value to say, it wouldn't matter. My fake quotes would probably be taken more seriously, as long as I used a fake name that looked legitimate.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happiness Revisited

It was rather cold this morning for August.  Driving with my back windshield fogged up because I'm too lazy to wipe it off and being awake and on the road before 8 in the morning made me feel like I was going to high school again.  However, instead of staying in the 50s all day like most school days, the sun came back and summer showed its face again. 

Today was probably just as nice as any other day this summer.  Playful sunshine and soft breezes, swaying trees and all that wonderful summer beauty.  Yet, because I woke up cold and had to put on jeans and a sweatshirt on this morning, changing into a skirt and sandals made the day seem so much more delightful. 

I find it sad that I can't appreciate how wonderful life is until I have something to contrast it with.  I don't see the sunshine until I've lived in the shadows.  I can't muster up any happiness if I never feel sad. 

Today was probably just as nice as any other day but today was more wonderful than any other day.  I have reflected back on my summer and realized it was even better than I thought.  Its been a fun experience and perhaps more importantly, a learning experience.  Even without test scores and grades to validate me, I am quite assured that I have learned just as much in the last two and a half months of living life than I did over the past year. 

I've learned how to balance my to do list and organization and obsession with getting things done with enjoying others around me and making the most of my limited time.  I've learned how to balance listening and talking, being home and being away, hiding in my writings and expressing myself out loud, staying aware of the world while staying delightfully oblivious. 

I've learned how to deem things irrelevant, such as having a balanced life, so I could live to extremes.  Quite obviously, I've also perfected the skill of contradicting myself.  At the beginning of the school year, I wrote this:  If you don't feel like taking the time to read it, I basically said that happiness was a worthless goal in life.  I still think joy is way more important yet hard to come by sometimes.  I have tested my theory and have lived an equally full life being indifferent to happiness as when I embraced it.  I'm not going to make happiness the main focus of my life by any means but there is more value in it than I originally supposed. 

Here is what I have found happiness to be good for:  Until I let myself feel happy, then I can't feel sad either.  Not feeling sad bothers me more than not feeling happy.  I suppose switching the order would make more sense, that it makes more sense to feel sad first so happiness means more when it comes.  Either way, a juxtaposition between the two emotions is needed, therefore happiness does have a valuable purpose.

Saying goodbye to family, friends, familiar places and memories in the next two weeks will be sad.  Yet it wouldn't be genuinely sad if those things didn't represent genuine happiness at one time or another.  This heartache is well worth years of happy memories. 

Side note:  This is my 50th post in the span of roughly a year.  Thank you all who make it to the end of these long-winded posts.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rephrase and Rethink

One of the most frustrating feelings in the world: having something to say that you can't express.  It feels like your entire existence depends on this one moment of self-expression.  The words bounce around in my mind until they are tangled, torn, and troubled.  I rephrase and rethink.  I try to sculpt this mess of thinking mass into something someone else might possibly understand.  I force myself to look at it from a different angle, flipping the idea over and over again until I can't remember which way is up anymore.

It's exhausting, all this fruitless thinking.  So I try to distract myself.  I surround myself with new ideas, new people, new music, new books.  Yet everything I read or listen to seems to march me right back to that holding cell with my original thought, now just with some extra perspectives picked up along the way.  My distractions might be completed unrelated to my thoughts, but I'm reading and listening only to hear what I want to think about so inevitably, it comes around.

This stifling feeling of not being able to express what I want to is equaled only by a paralyzing fear of being misunderstood.  It is this fear that makes me hesitate before speaking, that can halt me in the middle of a sentence or conversation and force me to change directions completely.  My unspoken words never even got the opportunity to escape.

Yet there is something far worse than this combination of not being able to express myself or be understood.

What terrifies me most of all is this:  I arrange my ideas meticulously, polish them for hours, overcome doubts and hesitations, say exactly what I want to, and am perfectly understood--only to realize that everything I want to say isn't even worth my breath, that this completely consuming idea is completely insignificant.