Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Heavy Backpacks

My backpack got progressively heavier and heavier throughout the school year.  I'm sure it had nothing to do with my tendency to accumulate unseemly amounts of flashcards.  Every night/early morning when I'd get back to my dorm I had the opportunity to experience one of the best feelings of relief: taking off the 40 pound weight that I had trudged along with me up and down the stairs to my classes, meals, and dorm.  No matter how many ribbons I put on it, that backpack was the bane of my college existence.

Yet I couldn't go anywhere without it.  Without my backpack, I lost my immediate access to study materials and homework.  Without this access, I could potentially be in a situation where I was not being productive.  Without productivity, I felt purposeless.  Tasks and to-do lists gave me the feeling of meaning that, while ultimately hollow, kept me motivated to keep moving and learning and making more to-do lists.

The problem of the heavy backpack lies in me grasping tightly onto an identity that was built on empty definitions of accomplishment.  I don't carry around a backpack during the summer, yet I still have multiple cross-referencing task lists to perpetuate this unfounded identity. 

The paradox of the heavy backpack is that the thing that I couldn't let go of  was the very thing that was dragging me down.  A never-satisfied need to be productive is what could make and destroy me simultaneously.

Sometimes other people's backpacks aren't as easily seen as mine.  Maybe they aren't tangible at all.  I think it would be safe to suppose that almost everyone carries their own burdens that they both need and despise.

Let's try lightening the load a bit.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

#1 Fan

I think people become fans of sports teams because we need something to identify with other than ourselves.  We want our moods and happiness and excitement to be based off of something beyond our own circumstances.  We can't make life what we want it to be  so we blame our TV shows, sports teams, and friends. 

It's far easier to put the responsibility on something we have no control over than ourselves.  We can't change things around us, but we can change ourselves and that takes courage.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Uncertainty of Adventures

There is so much I'd like to say to myself.  Things that I've known forever, thought about forever, and written down a thousand times.  Repetition is my friend.

I have a tendancy to look at life like this:

Life is a constant exchange, a continous change of location and people but with one common theme of stress.  There will always be a crisis to fixed and struggles to overcome.  I will always be failing in some or every area of life and I will always be trying to pick myself up and come up with a new strategy on how to fail a little less next time.  This semester has been wonderful in many ways but rather stressful in almost every way.  The train of thought I was on would take me to the next stop of summer and see it as just a switch into more stressful circumstances.  Just different relationships to balance and new situations where I'd be over my head and incapable of doing what was expected of me.  All of a sudden, its next semester where I'm no longer a freshmen and I'm responsible for other people and need to grow up in 15 weeks and learn how to micro-manage my time and I wake up one morning to realize that I'm stuck in the adult world forever. 

Today, I choose to look at life like this:

Life is a constant exchange, a continous change of footing and placement but I'm not being asked to jump to the top of the mountain.  I'm asked to get through this weekend of finals.  I'm asked to take a few more steps in becoming a better friend and student.  This summer will make me a little less woefully unprepared for the next semester and each day, week, and month will prepare me a little more for the next one.  All of a sudden, each little new stress is really a new opporutnity to grow and be a little more ready for the next challenge.  

 I could say that life is always full of stress and I just need to learn how to best deal with that reality and that would be true (and Fitwell would agree with me).
But I’d rather say that life is always full of opporutnities and adventures and new things and the small things I am doing now will mean that I will be able to better fully experience those opportunities in the future. 

I could find something wrong with life if I wanted to, but I'd rather say that there is nothing wrong with being irrationally happy.