01 November 2011

Excruciating Apathy

I like the cold. There is something peculiar about it that seems to wake me up, gasping for air. Just walking outside on a day like today makes things seem ... vibrant; colorful; alive. The cold breaks my illusions of apathy.

Did I say apathy? It's excruciating. Everyone gets grey days once in a while: days when everyday tasks lose all sense of meaning and when the only thing worthwhile is sleeping in a warm, dark room. Or watching reruns of Dr. Who. But this apathy isn't a mere grey day. It's misty - the way the Cascades get in late autumn when the leaves are drifting off the trees like flakes of rust. When trees and cars and ladies walking their dogs loom out of a slight haze along a deserted road. Those days it's possible to believe that unicorns exist, that chivalry never died, and that distressing damsels may hike along the path enjoying the peaceful death of summer and suddenly find themselves swept up in an adventure.

I feel like one of those damsels right now, and have for a while. The things that, by all accounts, I should be concerning myself with simply hold no sway over me. College applications? Yeah, I should start thinking about those. Take the SAT again? That too. Scholarship essays or competitions? They'd be good to prepare for. Oh, and a job. I should get a regular job.

I simply can't stop stargazing to worry about the insects.

If life is an adventure, then the teenage years must be like climbing a mountain to get to the valley of middle age. I have nothing against the valley. It must be pleasant, or else so many people wouldn't be heading down into it. I can even see some stray adventures lurking behind copses and below bridges.

But I'm enjoying the difficulty of my climb. I just want to keep climbing, until I reach the top, and then the stars, and then universe. Some people, when they've gotten this far, bound up the final rise to enjoy the view from the top of the mountain. Not me. I enjoy the trees and the rock piles more.

I feel like something's wrong with me. There are certain people in my life who are trying to pull me ever on to the path, but the open mountainside is calling me: I want to climb. Get out of my way, I'm going up.

There's nothing wrong with going to college, getting a "real" job, getting married, joining the PTA. Except, I don't have the practical dreams that will adequately prepare me for a future filled with jobs, marriage, the obligatory minivan.

It's fine if you have those dreams. There's a reason we have that tradition. But I want to live in the cold. I want to live in the frigid, breath-stealing, vital, exuberant cold of life. 

And so, these certain people, many of whom I respect immensely, do me a great disservice. The path is comfort, the path is warmth, the path is complacency and decay and the surrendering of the undisclosed desires in my heart.

I have this excruciating apathy about the things that should matter to me. Increasingly, I've come to the realisation that I will never be content in the warmth of the expected. Yesterday on the bus, a man noticed my violin case. He asked if I ever played on the street for money.

"Why play for money when you could play for joy?"

I want the tingling, burning, pleasant touch of frost upon my face. I want to join my dreams in the stars, not content to summit the next rise, but to summit my own Everest. I want to live in the cold for the rest of my life.

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