Time Slip

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The only wasted experience is one you don’t learn from.

I have been saying that to myself a lot lately, especially because of the constant chiming of “what is your purpose” keeps me thinking in during the quiet moments. It’s summer now, but an adult summer, where the illusion of more free time is in conflict with the persistent regular work schedule.  I have fallen prey to this belief, that since I am back in school, I would reclaim those precious summer moments that I adore.  This has lead to this drop in motivation and drive in the hopes of a chance to breathe from the incredulous amount of work required for this program. So what happens, time slips away from me as I meander through the day, hoping for lightning to strike and feel okay again.

So again, what is my purpose right now? What is it that will fuel me to walk up that hill over and over again like the Sisyphusian task it is.  The drive forward is like a marathon, the road stretches outward, and the mile markers are there but until I get close enough to see finish line my legs will still ache for home.

It feels like a promise from my past to my future self, one I know I will be thankful for keeping but ultimately my present self is doing all the work.  So I find myself, sitting, losing this time because my mind needs a break but needing to push forward to prove that I can do it. That my time here is worthwhile. That at the end of the day I have something to speak for.

That’s harder said than done.  Some mornings I wake up in a daze, as if I have pushed to the end and my mind is empty. I can’t do anything at all because everything just seems too distracting.  I sit in my chair, the empty keyboard taunting me, hoping and praying that my fingers find the key and I can keep moving forward.

I’m slipping through time, losing it as a move forward. I need it though because time is the only thing that will save me from this era of discontent. What will I learn from this, and will it all be worth it?

King of the Mountain of Ash and Dust

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Recently I have been thinking about purpose. This strange almost unreconcilable thing that haunts us throughout our lives and yet it feels in some ways we have no ready control of it.  Philosophers of old have taken as many approaches to this purpose as there are trees in a forest. Each person will have this conflict in their lives, and yet what does it mean.

Purpose starts in belief, many religions and ideology will burden us with the purpose to lift our spirits and find a collective purpose beyond one’s self, perhaps into the eternal. Those don’t believe in a higher power thus must burden themselves with purpose, finding and crafting until the mind conforms to it and we feel complete. It’s hard through to reconcile purpose, because if we really were to know, would we spend our whole lives pursuing it to ensure we fulfill it or spend our lives avoiding it, hoping in some way to pursue something greater than what is hoped to achieve.

Then what happens to purpose when we die. What exactly do we leave behind us when we’re gone, a cloud of dust, an empty space, a memory.   What lives on it is not part of us but what others choose to carry on their own journey. Do we impart this purpose onto the next generation? Does this transference of ourselves carry forward infinitely? Is this what memory is, a collective of generations before, attempting to pass themselves forward in the future in neural electrostatic. I don’t think we can ever know, but we still try as hope that maybe we can live on through that forever.

But giving someone a memory is not like giving someone a fruit, it’s more akin to giving someone the idea of a what fruit is. This interpretation is colored only by the personal experience of the receiver, ever-changing as it passes from hand to hand.  Like a long game of telephone, how long will it be until we become distorted and become something we are not. We can’t take this with us, and we can’t pass it on where does this leave our purpose.

We all want to know so I think a great many us desire to leave a mark on this world, our own personal scratch that cries out, here I am, I existed, this is proof.  I think we all see ourselves as something greater, something unique, something in wanting. Maybe it is the human curse, of living long and knowing one’s self that our mind needs to reconcile our time and the inevitable void that comes hereafter. We are then all kings of mountains of things, memories and moments that collect and carry with us in our lives. Mountains that for once we are gone return to nothing but ash and dust blowing away bit by bit to become something new.

Brothers and Sisters

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I am by no means an only child, my parents saw fit to provide me with a sibling from before I was even born, such forethought was reconsidered each and every time my sister and I would fight.  I have been fortunate enough to have many siblings, one by blood, two by law, and all others through experience. I am by no means an only child, I don’t think it suits me.

When I was young, prepubescent. I developed a desire to be left alone most of the time.  I wanted to leave this world and go to another because this one was painful and hard.  It had felt like I had already messed up and I wasn’t good enough to do be special.  It’s a hard thing, special because everyone wants to be it, but only in the way that’s popular or right.  So I spent time trying to create this image (with little success) to aspire to be something I was not, and that’s where siblings burst in. You see siblings are there to keep your head from getting too big or save you from smoothing out all the edges of your personality.  To keep you real, even when that’s the furthest from what you want to be. I think a lot of us have this type of experience with our siblings. We hate listening to them when we know they are right, we fight them over the stupidest things, know how to get under each other’s skin.  But all part of the process of growing up, a kind of practice for the real world with people who are willing to stand up for you because deep down you respect them.

I’m lucky though, aside from the ones tied to me, I have friends who are willing to set me straight. Keep me real, be there when I need them to be.  They are my family too because they are people I would give my life for if they needed it.  They are part of my life regardless of how long it takes between phone calls because they know we will always be there for them.

I know this isn’t deep, or as long as my usual musings but I wanted to take a moment to appreciate all those people in my life I feel like are family. My brothers and sisters who always have my back, thank you. And to my sister, know I appreciate what you have done even when you are fighting for a relationship with your resistant little brother.

Word Bleed

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I talk. I talk too much. This habit of mine of continuing to fill the air with mindlessness is killing me. I don’t know how to stop, all I want to do is listen, but I can’t help myself, I just talk and talk.

It’s getting worse, and I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s lack of sleep or nerves.  This is becoming a bad habit, one I want to break before it even it even starts.  It doesn’t help that I regain this composure in the middle of conversations, too late, even as I try to backtrack the words keep coming, and I can’t stop them from spilling out

It’s not like word vomit, it’s not something I am shoving down within me coming back up, it feels like words bleeding past my lips. An open wound with no bandage spilling from within to without onto the world.  This blood of words revealing everything wrong and inadequate about myself, slowly exposing more with every drop. These words falling meaninglessly onto the floor along with my being, answering questions nobody asks and reporting things people don’t want to know.

I’m starting to feel like all the random facts I accumulated in my head is just a means to cope with this excessiveness.  To always have something to say in even the most obscure situations. But what does that say about me, that  I need to speak, am I afraid of the silence, or am worried at what the silence might reveal, that I am just a man with a dream that he doesn’t feel good enough for.

With each word, I lose a little of that calm demeanor, class, and poise. I shed off these preconceptions hoping that what is left is something worthwhile. Sometimes I just want to stay quiet, slink back and let the silence rest upon me for a while.  Maybe things would change then, maybe people will see something more without the discord. All I want is freedom from this feeling so I can be alright with who I am inside let my actions shine brighter.

How do I stop this bleeding? How do I stop these word’s from pouring out, how do I keep these words from spilling from my lips?

Why do I even speak in the first place?

Graduating Sweet

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May through June many eager students finish their credits and classes to finally break free the holds of a school and receive a diploma verifying their achievements and training that they spent years trying to obtain.  It’s a very happy time, though can be bittersweet because in it’s nature it represents an inevitable change in the world for a great many people.

This was how this year’s graduation felt, bittersweet. Never have I ever been so invested in the wellbeing of my upperclassmen as I have this past year.  I have been to a great many graduations, but this one was a send-off to many people who I have spoken to, connected to, and love. I sat there thinking about this as one after one, each of my friends got up to be honored for their great achievements of which they all should be extremely proud.  For a moment sitting there, I want them all to just stick around, for nothing to change, for next week just to be next week and not a path to something new.

I’m not an emotional person, I am extremely passionate but I am not one to tear up during these events. Why should I? I am so happy for these people to move forward with their lives, to find their new adventures and get on with their journeys. We still have our memories together right, they won’t forget these times together.  Yeah sure, a couple months or years from now they might get busy but it won’t change our relationship, regardless of how much longer it takes them to reply. They will all be meeting new people, learning new things, and being great in their own way and staying will only hold them back, and they need to fly in their own way because there so much for them in the skies ahead.

Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet, and if it hasn’t it won’t for a while. Probably not until after everything settles down and I recognize how much I have gotten used to their presence. Maybe after not being able to hear their laugh in the hall,  or being able to wander into the lab and talk about some far off idea, Maybe after starting to miss these strange conversations we would have, and missing the familiar faces I no longer see. I will miss them all in their own ways because they all mattered to me.

I am lucky, during graduation sat next to my friends who I have spent the last year with, working, growing, and laughing together. I will have them this next year as this stressful program continues to push us to the moment we are standing on stage graduating together. I am happy I still have them with me because if everyone left, I don’t know what I would do.

We will all see each other again, but my hope is when it comes time and I get up on that stage, that I am at least half as great as any of my friends I saw graduating today.

Mind Blank

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I couldn’t think, or write. I had used my resources up and hadn’t recovered.  All it felt like was like mind went blank.

It was like working out too hard, each time I tried to use it my brain all I felt was how tired I was. Over the last month, I have been moving from place to place, activity to activity, going to weddings, conferences, getting sick, and turning in final papers and my head just had enough.  It’s honestly the first time I have ever felt this way, so brain drained that I needed just to sit and do nothing for a while. The first time in months I picked a video game because I needed the sweet relief on not having to process anything, just to work on doing something mindless as I recovered. Sure I have been tired but never like this. It’s worse than when we are around people too long because all that takes is being alone, or resting from the working out when you just avoid the activity. Have you ever tried to avoid thinking, especially if you are a chronic overthinker?
It felt like putting keys into an old car and trying to turn on the engine. The repeated attempts to turn the car over as you hear the revving over and over, sure it will start but doesn’t sound like it wants to.

I had to keep at it, needed to delay this rest as long as possible. Stuff was still due (it still is) and so much was pouring on my head. Maybe it was from the lack of breathing from all the work I’ve been trying to finish or the lack of sleep I have been getting. It wasn’t even like a zen emptiness or a meditative state, just uncomfortable blank.

Either way, it weird feeling, when your brain needs a break.  Maybe it will get bigger after this, though I think with all I am doing, its probably more harm than good.

 

One Day Of Rest

 

IMGP4183.jpgOne day, I finally found one day.  One day free of alarm clocks, things to do, people to see. One day of rest that my body so needs.

Thes black lines on a page that I so diligently have written are starting to move away from me.  I keep a schedule, writing in it all I have to do and all I plan to do, but with each passing day it becomes harder and harder to write into it.

Why?

Because of the incessantness of it.  My hands ache when I hold that pen to the paper because it means that there is no end. I need time, space in my book to rejuvenate, to allow these moments of rest come. Day after day, like raindrops in a forest I feel this showering of duties up me.  I know this rain will end eventually but I want at the moment is an old tree to shelter me so I have a place to lay my head.

I know I ask for this, I overbook myself to the point where I can’t breathe.  Where my mind goes blank, my body gets tired, and I get sick. It’s something I have to do to keep moving forward in this grand festival of life.  What I do today is all for tomorrow, this place where I finally achieve what I want. I’m told I am almost there, a place where I can grab it, just make it through these moments and it will all be over soon.

I will rest today so when tomorrow comes I can be strong and free. I will rest today so when the future comes I will be ready to fight for it with all of me.

3 Year Research Aniversary

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I didn’t realize until notified by Facebook that three years ago today I presented my first academic poster.  Interestingly enough, today was also the first time I gave a research talk in front of an audience.  The strange part is the difference between who I was back then, and who I am now.  It was a world of change, and the journey is the most interesting part.

I was in my final year of my undergrad, conducting my own research project under the tutelage of a professor who gave me the opportunity to work for them.  There I was, at the culmination of a year’s worth of work, standing in front of a poster, presenting all that could. The time I spent, over and over crafting that paper and ink was extreme. I wanted it to be the best thing it could be. I had undercut myself, didn’t think big.  I did a poster, and yet through it all was unsatisfied because it felt like it wasn’t enough.

I’m here now, having gone through this journey and come out the other side realizing that I didn’t do enough. I didn’t strive hard enough, like a chicken with its head cut off, I didn’t know which way was up or down, just that I needed to keep moving. I am a man fortunate enough to have second chances and recognize when I have the opportunity to correct something. To do more than I thought I could before.

But today I gave a talk and though I still feel that hunger from wanting to do more, I know where my next step is, and where to put in the effort. Today is like the second chance, a change and proof of growth.  I like the sound of that.

A Thousands Not Enough

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It’s like drugs I think, working towards something you love.  Each and every day I feel consumed by it, consumed by wanting it, always pushing for it. From dawn til dusk and from dusk til dawn  I work or think about working all the time which I know isn’t the most balanced way to live but if I wanted a balanced life I wouldn’t have chosen academia as a goal.  But it reminds me of a saying from high school when they made us do drug prevention education.  One’s too much, a thousand not enough.

It’s hard sometimes because it always feels like I’m behind. When I am sitting alone with my thoughts, it comes up. I should be productive right now, the better me would be productive.  My imagined competition doesn’t have these problems or worries, they simply work.  They are a machine and by the time we both apply, their long grocery list of accomplishments dwarfs the lines on my applications I managed to throw together. These thoughts have started to peek into my normal life, my social life, my relaxation.

I know I should keep many of these things in life separate, but I can’t, or more like I won’t.  It flows through me, and in some ways is me. To be so intertwined is ultimately detrimental for my wellbeing, for I will live and die in this small world that has no reason or recourse to reciprocate my feelings.  It’s a dangerous thing, dreaming, not because of what happens when you’re doing it but what happens after you wake up.  So I must tear myself away from it kicking and screaming, enjoy the world around me while it lasts, invest in other things knowing full well that each moment I spend away is a moment deprived from my goal.  I should think of it as an investment, it’s always good to diversify my portfolio, but I found the one thing I want to be the best at, so it’s hard to pull away from feeding this monster.

I have to turn off at some point. Let go and drift for a while to rest. Other people deserve my attention, and I should give it to them.  It’s what they deserve, and it’s with them that I will make it through.

These restless moments, this forlorn daydreaming keeps me going and pushing forward into the day where everything is always slightly out of reach.

The Long Straight Ahead

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Here I am, driving along this desert road with the smooth rumble of the wheels under my car along a highway acts as a lullaby.  Miles in each direction there is nothing but open expanse.  Hours ago I saw those lights slunk away, the views of my previous life. Now it’s just me and this road in the darkness. I want to squeeze down on the gas, speed towards where I am going, I feel stuck on this road, and it feels regardless of how fast I am going, I won’t make it to my destination any quicker. I know the roads and streets at my destination aren’t going anywhere. I want to see the lights out on the horizon before the lights go out. I want to look at the lights before the sun comes up and washes out the night.

I’ve been getting really excited recently, about my future. The science fiction of my childhood is finally becoming a reality.  The problem I am having is that I want part of that future. I want one of the hands who help shape it.  Each moment that passes by it feels like I am missing out on being able to dive head first into the water and make waves.  My journey is still has a long way to go.  Probably about 6 years before I start to have a little more control over my destiny.  I work at it every day, and yet I want to be there already.

I mean I’m nervous for the next transition, and maybe it is the instability of not knowing where the next step of my future will be.  The next couple months feel like that will help put on the correct path for my future and that weight bearing down on me is starting to crack me.  It’s hard because it’s all about chasing the right opportunities.  Go down this path but avoid that other one.  Make sure to do this, but also do that. It’s so confusing, and even though I’m supposed to be on a track, it feels more like climbing a tree.  With each limb I grab onto will change the next branch I can reach.  Hopefully, when push comes to shove, I will be tall enough to bridge the gap between branches.

It’s easy to forget that the journey makes the destination worthwhile. I need to take a second and evaluate my journey because I am so focused on this next point that I do not see the world around me. I need to breathe. I need to enjoy the endless road ahead because if I don’t, I’ll never make it to my destination and know to keep moving. The world is an endless adventure and the sun will rise soon enough, I don’t need to rush it.