A setting night, the pounding of shoes against the cold pavement, a hoarse heavied breathing of the lone runner gives life to this quiet night. Running around that track without an end in sight, just another lap going round and round over and over again. Their breath on fire, bellowing slowly from tired lungs working to sustain their body and keep it from collapsing. Why does the runner keep running? What are they running too? Or what are they running from?
It has come with time, a busied schedule that has not allowed me to sit and process these comings and goings, just enough time to do what is placed right out in front of me and that is all. It’s not a strict weariness that throws me, but a lack of standing to even know where I am or how long I have been running.
It’s of several major events, important tasks, priorities that make my head feel like it’s in a spin, always trying to take in as much air as possible to calm my straining self. It’s even in sleep that I have suffered, jumping from sleeping well because of my accident to sleeping poorly because of the work that had mounted in the interim. Slowly breaking down like I used to but without having regained my full strength to fight the onslaught of these immediate side effects.
That’s not to say that time will not march on, and reality will not continue to move forward. It is what happens, an inevitability of change that comes with age and progress. It is in that change that a small flame has been born. Lit by this most recent trip to the school I will be spending my next five year attending. A spark that makes me excited to follow through, to really enjoy the journey, to keep on running. I want to see this journey to the end because I know wherever it lead will be a beautiful sight to behold, I just have to keep at it.
Soon I hope I will like this runner, be able to stop, rest, and take in all of where I’ve gone but until then, all I can keep doing is run, run until my body stops, because at least through running I know I am still alive.
Over the last several weeks I’ve been working towards a degree, a degree which I have spent the better part of the previous two years working to obtain. Through a lot of long sleepless night, stresses, and work I have at least on paper achieved this goal, a Masters degree. It was in looking back though, I find I do not feel satisfied or proud of my ”accomplishments.”
Hindsight is 20/20 but to see clearly is not always a blessing. It was in recollecting in what I have done, the research I proposed that an unsettling feeling set in. An abject look as the lack of importance or substance to the projects I have creates and carried out. They seem silly, so unimportant on the grand scale that the rationale for why these things seemed so important to carry precedence in my life has fallen away. What I am left with is aa lesson in humility and a detailing of a path forward which I will need to change if I want to avoid an unsatisfying future.
To be honest, I feel like a child, but not even a child, like teenage who still engaged in making bad decisions but at least has the wherewithal to understand that these decisions were bad in the first place. At least a child will give into the silliness, not allow it to bother him, still able to go through life unlimited by the ramifications of the action. It’s in knowing myself and seeing this reflection for the first time that pains me. What have I been doing? Is there anything I should really be proud of at this moment. There is a culmination of experience but with this experience what I see is what I am lacking. I have underestimated the science and overestimated my understanding of it, to which I apologize to the craft.
It’s fear and frustration that fills me. Seeing where I could be if I had been more diligent or had more self-awareness. I see this self, one I seek to avoid, an expert of a craft but a wasted talent doomed to settle for obscurity. It’s so clear to me but each year that passes the path thins, to that of an edge of a knife, which to be had will require adjustment early and swift or throw myself down upon it as the cost of dreaming.
I see the path ahead, the choices and growth reflected behind me. My future is bright, and here I stand on the lessons of yesterday, not wasted but reflected in my journey. As I learn I find I know less and realize more that there is a long way to go. In growing through these experiences, I know what I want, how to get it, and not it’s up to me to make the change to do it.
When we are younger we always dream about the possibilities of what age will bring, the idea that growing up was kind of a mystical force that allowed for us the possibility of infinite things and the attainability of more than we could know. Looking back I don’t feel jaded or pity for my younger self, I don’t think it’s wrong to dream that way, or that my life is so terrible with bills, loans, school, and work that I should think to dash those dreams of a younger self. No, I just think the reality is quite strange you actually experience those things, experience these wonders just dreamed about, a lot of which are more overwhelming in practice but underwhelming in scope.
I think most of this feeling derives itself with cultivated expectations that are never substantiated because of the unrealistic outcome that everything would feel entirely different and new because of the milestone or event having occurred in the first place. I mean, it’s kind of naive to think that we would become substantially different people each time we cross some sort of threshold, change is a slow and meticulous thing that grows with time. Before we know it, everything has changed, but unless we are constantly self-aware, we never notice these small minute influences shifting our lives. That’s not to say that things can’t be amazing, or beyond what we expected, I am in no way advocating for getting rid of expectations, I think moreso what I want to say is that for most things we won’t know how we feel until we get there.
Let me explain it this way, in could weeks from now my sister is getting married, which is very exciting, but ultimately isn’t really strange as she been with here soon-to-be-husband for about 9 years now. It’s almost strange that it hadn’t happened sooner. Now she will be the first of my siblings to get married, though I am sure that my oldest sister would have liked that honor (her turn will come, probably sooner than we all will expect), the feelings toward it are a bit muddled. It’s weird to think that in a few weeks her last name will change, she will be legally bound to another person, she will be moving away, and that who life will inherently be different. But with how are you supposed to feel about that like it’s doesn’t really change who she is in the moment, or how will act. Sure over time I think these things will set in, but I don’t imagine that when the kiss at the alter some mystical force will come down and give them some sort of power up. Or all of us in the crowd will suddenly have this feeling of acknowledgment but I’m sure a couple weeks from then I will have a sense about how weird it is that my sister is now married.
It’s the same for this, in a couple short weeks I’m going to be walking on stage to receive a degree that marks me a master of psychology. I’ll get a ceremonial hood and short speech and lots of pictures, but when I wake up the next day I won’t be feeling like a master, I won’t make breakfast as a master, or even think just like a master just because of it. It’s more because of this two-year process that has already made given me this sense of expertise and accomplishment. A process that has made me understand things I didn’t even know existed and put me through experiences I never thought possible. The hooding itself is just a representation of that, an acknowledgment to everyone else that something has happened. A proof or verification of that effort and time, just as a marriage just ceremonial coalesce and public promise of love between two people.
My point is being that we never really know, life changes in unexpected ways, with experiences never really going exactly as we planned but I think that’s the whole point of dreaming. It’s a desire put out there in the universe, a curiosity wanting to be filled. We chase these things because they’re new and exciting, and though things like graduation won’t make me feel like any different, the experience as a whole has gone far beyond my wildest expectations. So just keep dreaming.