17 August 2013

In Honesty and Concrete

I've been sitting in this car for two days. Fortunately enough for my sanity, the car has not idly sat in one place. In these past two days I have traveled from my beautiful, wooded, misty mountain filled home to a flat, hot, hellish place where clouds rarely bless the ground with cool, sweet rain.

I'm sorry, did that sound harsh? The reality is, I cannot make up my mind in regards to college. Two weeks ago, I was working on a post describing my excitement. You know the cup song that's been circulating recently on pop radio?

"I got my ticket for the long way round; two bottles of whiskey for the way. But I sure would like some sweet company, and I'm leaving tomorrow - whaddaya say? When I'm gone, when I'm gone... you're gonna miss me when I'm gone..."

That's the one. Anyway. I had that song stuck in my head, and despite the stark reality that I am NOT, in fact, running away with a raggle-taggle gypsy-oh and am instead getting myself into a lifetime supply of debt at a private college in pursuit of a degree which may not even get me a job in my desired field, I couldn't help but feel the same excitement as if I were running off with a devilishly handsome scoundrel. It must be the bet of $120,000 I just placed. Live dangerously, guys.

But the draft to that post remains unfinished and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Recently, I have entirely forgotten why I was so excited. In an effort to cheer myself up and start looking forward to moving within twenty miles of what is probably my least favorite place on earth, I started a list of things to love about California. I succeeded in finding one thing I was genuinely excited for - awesome Mexican food - when I realized that if I'm to stick to my strict ketogenic diet, I can't eat Mexican. Score one for brains, Sabam.

So here I am, stuck in a metal box rapidly hurtling down the freeway to a university that will take me from my friends, family, pets, and city too soon after my arrival from Southeast Asia. My doom, it would appear, is on hand.

I know that college is a different beast than international travel, and contains less physical threats, but I could really use your prayers right now. The truth of the matter is that I have no major. In fact, I have only slim chances of getting into the program I believe I'm supposed to participate in. I have an honors program which is more than enough to eat me, body, brains, and soul, and I have an inordinate amount of pride and stubbornness. Oh, and a new laptop my folks surprised me with.  And maybe my wits, if I find them before Monday.

I am being thrown headlong into a school without a heading and without a community, and am still emotionally scarred by things experienced on my travels. I am vulnerable, I am tired past the point of exhaustion, and there is nothing with would like so much as to find a warm, dark corner to have a pity party for myself. I need all the help I can get right now.

I want to go hide on Bali. Or backpack through Europe surviving off small animals and the occasional friendly local. That came out wrong. Honestly.

Every person is afraid of something, and in my case, it's failure. Unpack that, you closet psychologists. That's the last thing you'll hear from me on the matter.

But the thing is, I can't determine if I'm excited for the challenge and the euphoria I will feel when I inevitably conquer (for we know I will conquer because I am Youth and Youth is never defeated), or if I would prefer to slink off without ever trying (for I am a coward and would prefer to hide than to try and fail).

My grandad died three years ago: I wrote about it at the time. But as deeply as I felt his loss, I never saw his grave until today. Standing there in the field planted with soldiers, lost, looking for my grandad without finding him, I suddenly felt the weight of my own mortality. I'm not trying to be fancy. As I stood in the field, I had the sudden, crushing realization that one day it would be my body in the ground and the life that I have known will be no more. That it would be the start of a new, eternal life was entirely beside the point in that moment. I was not staring at a stranger's grave; I was standing on my own.  And in that instant, I was afraid. Afraid that my life would amount to nothing; afraid to be remembered with nothing more than a nice rock and a platitide picked from a catalog; afraid of the Fallen syllogism:
All humans will die.
I am a human.
.•. I will - no, must - die.

The moment passed, the certainty fled, and I was able to breath again in the confidence and arrogance of my Youth. The question of my choice  no longer remains. I will do, or die in the attempt on the summit. It does not matter if my mind harbors doubts. My feet have been set, my stride is as resolute as it can be, and things larger than myself have been set into motion. The end of days is not yet on me, but I will run as if it were.

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