An Inevitable Change That Comes With Growing Up

NIK – https://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=66314130

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.

Let’s Go To The Stone Age: A Slight Digression Because Of Internet Problems

Originally I was going to do a slight digression from my more moody posts to talk about the fact I have gotten back into reading more but before I got to crafting said post my Internet died. Now I know that the period of time that I was writing was a bit later than when I usually do, and maybe this is just some sick sense of universal karma here to exact it’s revenge for not writing sooner but I think more just highlights how reliant I am on the internet. Without it, I twiddle my thumbs and play that silly dinosaur game on chrome hoping for the Internet to return.

It’s in that I find this reflection of me in the empty

screen somewhat humorous, this 21st century man who is simply stopped by a technology that has been birthed within the last 50 years. I mean there are millennia before this amazing invention and my ancestors did just fine on their own for me to have made it this far.

What is there to do except think of a world where the Internet just disappeared, where technology reduced itself to that of the Stone Age and for us to start all over. How would people manage? How would I manage? Let’s be honest, my training in Psychology doesn’t exactly make me the most useful person in the skills department. I am pretty scrappy, and easy on the uptake but it’s that first part I would really need to get through, when everyone is scrambling around trying to figure things out. Maybe I’ll be drafted into a tribe, never really been part of those before, or maybe I’ll just be a lone wanderer, going from settlement to settlement trying to looking for my true home out there in the post-internet wastes.

But back to the point, I think this also a lesson in humility, that my life is so reliant on these tools to work that I am pushed to this standstill without it. I don’t know if this is a good lesson at the end of the day or one that I should just get more reliable Internet but it’s a lesson just the same.

Maybe I should take this time away from my devices and allow myself to really delve back into my imagination. Create something unaided with my mind as the only resource. It always feels good to be able to imagine different worlds and scenarios, something pure from all of the muses I have come across in my lifetime. What do I have time for though, will I just drop it once it becomes inconvenient to continue because my technologies have come back online? I mean I still do have work to do, so maybe I won’t go too deep or I might just never find a reason to come back out.

What can I say though; I have become accustomed to these conveniences so that not having them just feels strange. Maybe it’s okay to rely on these things because they are so cool. What I think to leave you with during this unexpected posts is that if there is a will there is a way so there are really no excuses unless you really have put yourself out there and tried everything… or maybe that’s the lack of internet talking.

A Song of Celebration and Sadness

Looking back the last several months, there is a theme of my posts getting a bit darker, and less hopeful which isn’t usually what I like to write about especially since the words come directly from what I am feeling earlier in the week. It’s because there’s a feeling following me around which I haven’t been to identify, like a cloud not quite raining. I was afraid I might have been getting depressed but it was only until a few days ago when I was catching up with a friend telling her about everything that has been going on the last several weeks that it made sense. She mentioned that all the stuff that’s been going on just seems ‘heavy’. I knew it when I heard it, that’s exactly how it’s been – heavy.

You see I’ve been mixed up with a lot of things, school, life, work but everything that’s been happening hasn’t had a wistfulness to it. Each thing, serious and demanding attention, requiring one more thing to rest upon my shoulders and carry on. Good news comes with stress, and bad news comes with emotions to the point where everything seems to just level out and carry on in a way that makes sense.

I am happy, but I’m not too happy, I’m sad but not too sad, each time I receive bad news good news isn’t far behind leaving me confused and having this muddled mix of mild coursing through me making it hard to really enjoy anything. It’s frustrating because I can’t give the time proper time for my emotions to cultivate and sing. I want to celebrate all the great things that are going on, the amazing things that are happening and I doesn’t feel right. I want to sulk and mourn for the sad things happening around me and yet I don’t feel in the proper place or mindset. My emotions aren’t swinging, they are balancing and it’s hurting me.

I just keep moving, somewhere between the heavens and the earth, both flying high and sinking low all at once. I want to rest my this pack hold my life on a rock somewhere and have time to process all the things riding on my shoulders. At least now I know what I’m feeling and with that I can start doing something about it.

A Hope In The Moment

I think it’s a simple sense of hope that spurs it, or perhaps fear, but I find myself looking in my mailbox for a letter that may never come.

It’s the season of new hope and change, one caused by the artifice of new numbers and shifting times. We all push forth with that hope and desire to take this new time and alter the reality that our past has wrought for us. Even the most reluctant hear whispers of things that could be. But the the only promise that hold true is the promise from the sun to return ever brighter at the fall of each day until the moment words have become actions or regrets, and for some a whole new world awaits.

I have found myself developing a tick, one grounded in the uncertainty of my future. I waiting to hear back from these large institutions that hold the keys to a personally envisioned future, and all I can do right now is wait for an email of yes, no, nor maybe later. I usually really good at waiting, putting the worry out of my mind until it becomes pressing or relevant. This time though, with each pick up of my phone or use of my computer I end up sifting through my emails unproductively, waiting for that response.

The combination of hope and fear is what befalls me, knowing that any news doesn’t necessitate good news. I want to know, but not knowing also means that there is still the potential for something grand in my future. It’s a confusing feeling, but ultimately checking alleviates uncertainty so that I can resume my life.

I think a lot of us are like that, waiting for the outcome of our investments, whether it be in jobs, relationships, or personal growth. We just want to see that end result that blooms from our efforts. This outcome may take longer than expected, or ever be less than what we were expecting and yet it’s part of that big gamble at the end of the day. One we all take part in some time without even knowing the risks involved. We always get back into the game and play because that’s how life is lived, though it is uncomfortable. We all want to push forward knowing that nothing may return because the prospect of not advancing become so atrocious that it drives us mad.

I think what I want to leave on is this, there is hope in the future, whether it be where we expect it or someplace surprising. As someone who has spent the last several years learning to fail gracefully forward, the bumps and bruises on my body have always proven to be beneficial. Time is changing, every moment of every day so I choose hope and push forward knowing that things will happen in the time they need to and not a moment sooner. I think what matters most is spending the time making of the most moment rather than hoping and praying better moment comes along soon. Knowing I can put down my phone because the an email will come regardless of whether I am looking for it or not.

A Current State Of Dissatisfaction

It was there, gazing out the window at the world as I realized that I couldn’t really appreciate what laid beyond the glass. It felt like a violet sunset on the horizon, and my emotions were setting like the sun only to give way to the cold and dark. Dissatisfaction is what rings out; dissatisfaction with where I am, with what I do, and how much I am able to do.  If you have ever read my past blog posts this should be a familiar theme that persists through the paragraphs.  Why should this be such a big problem now of all times when it hasn’t been a problem before?

My problem lies as there is no reason to be dissatisfied, in fact, I should be elated and yet it feels as if my body and soul are hesitant to this.  Waiting for the day when all can be right. The unknown keeping me from really feeling happy because I know happiness may lead to more sorrow in the future.

It’s a lack of control with all these forces whirling around me sucking the oxygen out of the air as I feel my breath trying to choke me. There are too many things up there in the sky above so when I get a moment to catch my breath all it feels like is that I’m wheezing. I tossed them all there when I had the energy to fight but now I am trying to catch them as they fall, hoping nothing breaks,

Days after days I keep on with this lingering mood, attempting to break free of it’s hold but as look above it appears the clouds are following me and that I should prepare for rain.

It’s when it gets cold that it I really seem to notice things. The chill of the relationships around me as I push them away for space and a supposed peace. All I want to do is sleep, even when opening up my eyes in the morning, it seems all I want to do is rest which I can’t seem to get.

This dissatisfaction is pulling me down with all its might. Like ice below my feet, I am getting stuck within its waters. I don’t know why I feel this way or made it happen so I’m waiting for the sun to rise to regain my strength… or maybe I’m just waiting for something to distract me long enough to make me forget that I am freezing.

On The Edge Of Uncertainty

There is really no way to know the future for certain. Even within statistics, the study of whether or not something may happen, the probability of certainty will never reach one-hundred percent. Yet we try failingly to see out the world in front of us.
We try and try again to predict, control, and pursue the fixed outcome but in this world, there are too many variables to take in account, too many lives and experiences to know anything honestly for certain.  In this world when we are shrouded in the fog of the future, it easy for us to break down and lose ourselves in all of the unknown.  

I had trouble this week because something that should have been made certain a long time ago was made uncertain for me again.  You see if nothing else I am persistent in my pursuit in higher education so in having gone through this process of applying for schools I should know by now exactly where the best place for me would be. But just like like a mirage in the desert, I saw what would be an oasis give way to only more sand.   I’ve come to this place where I must find my future in a sea of unknowns and yet once again before my eyes it seemed like that I knew evaporated before me.   It’s hard to act when I don’t know where I am going, it’s hard to push forward when I don’t know where forward is.  It was starting to twist my heart and bog me down. It is hard and stressful and I didn’t know where to go.

Now I don’t know if I am lucky or unlucky but I’ve been in these situations before and each time it doesn’t feel any better.  This crippling feeling of unresolved anxiety starts to consume all my thoughts and feelings. I get up in the morning and it’s right there sitting in my chest feeling like the whole world weight is concentrated in my heart. Throughout the day it feels been cast a bleak shade of grey to emphasize the hopelessness I feel.  Finally, at night it stirs in my brain keeping me up only to finally give me some reprieve when I eventually get to sleep.  I’ve realized that the for the most part, the reason all of this is happening is that a decision is left to be made. That through this indecision I freeze up and because I freeze up I stay trapped in this prison of uncertainty.

After much time like this, I was finally able to able to see the light and choose for myself how the path would go. It’s hard because we never know if we are making the right decision, or if we have all the informaiton.  We get trapped in the prospect of something new coming along that may change how we feel about everything.  All it takes is to make a decision about which way to go forward. To know that it’s okay to make a decision and change my mind later. Though I can’t say that all this anxiety and worry is gone, I can say that I am moving forward in a way that works and is functional.

I think what kills us about this uncertainty is that standing on the edge keeps us stuck between places.  This life in-between doesn’t work because we dont know where to go. It’s like dangling our feet off a cliff, the fear comes from what might happen and not what is happening. Sometimes just making a decision to jump to the waters below will allow us to be free of this suffering, instead of always worrying about whether or not we will fall in the first place.

Drowning In The Storm

IMGP2108.JPG

There is a sense of unease, too many I don’t knows, a perfect dash of insecurity, and a lot of bad experience to create this perfect storm that’s raging through my life right now.  It’s got me held up, frozen in place with no end in sight. Hunkered down, I’m scared of this storm and the destruction it may bring as I hope these walls I’ve built will be strong enough to weather the winds and the rains.  I am trying to hold myself together but I can’t, it feels like I’m coming apart at the seams, not even able to cry out this frustration I feel.  My hands are failing, my head if failing, I try to carry on, but I fold back into myself with every step. I try to collect that power within that I have been honing the last several years, but there is a scar there, a scar that has built up over many years of perceived personal failure.  This fear of failing again holds on tight as I ponder what that failure would mean.  I know it’s not fair to myself that I spend so much time worrying about what may never come to pass, but experience has got me trained on the idea that maybe all I am striving for won’t become anything. This part of me feels that I am not specific enough about what I want so I can never obtain it, that I am not worthy of it because there are so many better candidates for the position.  I worry because I see myself in the mirror sabotaging my future, destroying the very opportunity I am trying to create.  Part of me doesn’t want to know, it just wants to sleep until it’s all over with, push off this burden until this insanity ends, but I know it won’t, not unless I give up my dreams.

I keep coming back to this story, one I have told a lot recently as more as a funny anecdote from my life than anything really substantial.  This is back when I used to ride a motorcycle.   During the cold dark nights of the winter months, I use to drive from my parent’s house back to college in the early hours of the morning much to the chagrin of my mother.  There was this freeway I would ride on my way back that was a perfect kind of empty that time of night. With is more than a gentle slope, it would be the perfect place to pick up speed.  At times I would ride down that hill quickly accelerating, opening up the throttle to see how far it would go. Sixty, seventy, eighty the speedometer would quickly rise until I would hit speeds of well over a one-hundred miles per hour.  When you get to that speed on a motorcycle all you can really think of is, if I fell now, chances are I would die.  Nothing frightening about it, in some ways calming for all the wrong reasons as this was just the fact of things as I whizzed by, some kind of truth that gave kept me in the moment.  A thought that made all the other thoughts disappear because that’s all there was, just a fact.

I am missing that clarity, that straightforward feeling.  I just don’t know, and yet I have to push forward somehow.  It bothers me because I don’t want to be stuck in a place I know I won’t be happy but what does that mean for the alternative. I feel like I am slowly breaking down, dissolving piece by piece wanting to destroy this world around me and myself to give this pain I feel in my heart a physical presence.  I wish it were just a cut or a bruise, something that I can point to and see but this pain is permeating through to my core, unreachable and untouchable sitting deep with my chest making my whole body ache. It feels like I’m underwater gasping for air, with this burning in my lungs as I slowly lose the the air I need.  The piles of water above pushing me further into the deep, and all I want to reach the surface and see the sun.  I keep swimming as a way of fighting through just like I fight through everything else.   I know things will be okay in the end if I keep pushing to reach the surface, but it’s just hard to feel that way right now.

A Place for Shattered Dreams and Far Off Memories

IMGP2392

It’s a few weeks away now is a deadline which I have been building towards these last two years. I know I’m in a much better place than I was before but I feel vastly unprepared for the applications I must have done in a few short weeks. The applications that will act as a bridge to the place I want to go, the place where my dreams lie.
I am beginning to wonder if that’s on purpose, that my mind keeps me so busy that I have an excuse not to delve deep into the minutia of what could be a pivotal moment in my life.  Maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time saying no to all these things that come my way. These things that take me away from what I should be doing for myself. It’s easy to make excuses if I am doing it for someone else.  I am not taking time to concentrate on what I want, what I need. I’m resistant to it because I am scared of it, this whole process because I have been burned by it twice before. I’m afraid of falling and wondering where I’ll end up.

I’ve had these vivid daydreams of all of us standing upon a hill, a hill made of broken glass.  Shards everywhere dangerously looming as we climb this hill we trying not to fall. Upon this hill, we climb and climb until we reach a place to stand atop it. Those willing to reach the summit are bathed in this light them and from their heart comes a dream in the shape of an orb as offering to this light.  This dream can carry them high up into the sky, but if the dream is not strong enough or the person two weak the both come crashing down to earth, to be cut by these hills of glass.  It’s for there we find out where we are, as some dreams fall and shatter upon the ground making that hill a little higher with pieces of its broken self.  I have fallen twice now, with a dream still intact, it’s my body which I’m worried about breaking because this time I will have the chance to fly higher than ever before, but that means I also have the change of falling father than I could ever imagine.  I know I shouldn’t be entertaining it but what could happen if I don’t make it if I don’t succeed. How will life find a way, and which part of me will break first my dream or me.

It’s here that I see myself, young and naive of the world I have strived to live.  I see this young apparition unphased by the fear and anxiety that experience brings with it. He is a different person than I but same in ambition. To be something great is always what he dreamed up. This resounding dream is something I carried with me, through time, shaping it to what it is now with experience.  It’s stronger and more well formed but still the same dream at the heart of it.  This young apparition gives me solace as it reminds me that at least I know that if no one else, the kid who I was years and years ago would believe in me. I carry it with because it is me, so soon enough we see how high my dreams will fly, and remember it’s always my choice to get back up again.

A little bit of failure.

IMG_3458

It’s finally come, the moment where the cascade of everything that was slowly stacking up finally came made me lose something. Now, it’s partially due to a series of unfortunate events that led to the personal failure that in some way may have been avoided if only I had taken a moment to consider the world.  In having already reflected on these events what I come away with is something different than I thought I would in the first place. A sense of understanding and realization of maturity in myself.

Some things can’t be avoided, but most things can be tracked back with the realization that it’s usually a set of multiple failures that go unheeded before things like this happen. For me, it was just a bit of consideration.  I keep my most of my life pretty prepared for the inevitable unexpected things that may happen to me.  This is shown best through the weight of the bag I carry with me through my day-to-day.  It’s heavy, full of all things I may or may not need during the course of my day.  This preparation is something I am going to reflect on another time but for this moment, that preparation and routine broke down.  I had been rushing from the moment I woke up because of the fact that I had woken up late and was practically running the rest of the day.  In an attempt to be productive and feel on top of things I decided to upgrade my personal computer while at work, something I’ve never done. This lead to my computer crashing and ultimately losing a months worth of work.  I didn’t remind people enough about running the study in my lab so I ended up having to fill in missing a lecture I wanted to hear.  I spent about 5 hours dealing with the problem with my computer ultimately settling on the only option of resetting everything and starting over from a back up I had made a month ago. This back up should have been more recent but because I decided not to back up before I upgraded, I lost.

I never got mad though, a little exasperated by dominoes falling into place as they did but I felt like I handled it well. I just did what I needed to do and kept moving forward.  The final straw with all the loss of time and files came with an application I was supposed to submit the next day. Of all my time in Graduate School, I’ve managed to claw together everything I’ve needed, maybe sometimes at the last second but it’s always has worked out. This time though, this time I couldn’t scrape by. I wrote and wrote but by I realized several hours before it was due that I had to make a choice. Turn something I was not proud of and blow off some of my other responsibilities or admit defeat. and continue forward.  This time I conceded.  It’s not something I’m proud of but it was necessary I feel for my growth.  I push myself and have reached the limit not of what I can do with talents but with time.  I have too much going on and not enough time to do everything.  This means, something’s got to give and I don’t choose for myself, then my choices will be made for me.  It’s hard for someone who wants to do everything because if I had the ability to I would but I can’t so choices have to be made. Kind of like triage, save what is savable, do what’s important and try all that you might to use the hours that we have to accomplish the things that we need.  Failure is part of that growth.  It allows me to see that there see where I still need to keep going.  I think it’s gonna come to a head soon I think, me or it. Perhaps a month from now we will see who wins and where we will go from there but until then, I’ll keep moving forward.

 

Inside Pandora’s Box

IMG_0011

I’ve always been fascinated with ancient myths and legends, not just for their tales of magic and adventure but with each myth comes with it a belief about how we see humanity and human nature. Tales of valor and weakness, people, overcoming challenges and succumbing to temptation highlight these beliefs. These stories really give us insight in the best and worst of us and what we believe humans are ultimately capable of. I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently, but each time I do I seem to always come back to the story of Pandora’s box.  The story, for the most part, is meant to explain all the evil and terrible things in the world and why humanity is expected to struggle against these terrible evils.  In thinking though, the story shows us something else entirely, the only thing we have to push forward.  Without it, we have been lost long ago.

You see, Pandora herself was created by Zeus as recompense for Prometheus giving humanity the power of fire. The gods were angry that humans could wield this awesome power customarily reserved just for the greater beings that Zeus had a box forged and placed within it all the evils that humanity had never known. The like the evils of war, discord, famine, and sickness.  Zeus gave this box to his new human creation and sent her out into the world with only one command “Never open the box.”  Being human, she was naturally curious, but a while she left the box alone, even at some point burying it in the ground. Day after day, she found herself thinking about the box, “What was inside?” she wondered. That’s when she found herself, overcome with a single desire to uncover this great mystery that was shrouded inside.  She unlatched the box and opened it up to discover she set free all these great evils to forever torment humanity.  Before all of the evils were released, she slammed closed the box saving humanity from the greatest of these evils, total despair – the opposite of hope.

The reason I like this story so much it that it speaks to this belief we have, that as long as we have hope, not all is lost.  I mean sure, I would love not to get sick, or to have arguments, but the one thing that pushes us forward is that belief that things can be better, that a better outcome can come to us if we persist.  Sometimes this hope is misleading or causes us to behave naively, but ultimately it allows us to see a future that is better than the past.  It allows us to see a tragedy in a new light,  to implement change and not accept things as they are. Where there is evil, we have hope, and hope is the catalyst for the change we need to make this world a better place. Without hope, we are nothing.

The reason I keep coming to this story is that I’ve been running a study for my thesis, one I really love and want to work. But pilot study after pilot study, I can’t seem to make my paradigm do what it needs to.   Some sort of unpredictable element exists within it, and I simply don’t understand yet what is keeping it from functioning properly.  I have hope though, that if I keep trying I will make this work, and have something serious to show for my efforts.  Even if I doesn’t, all I learn today will help me for tomorrow, as long as I am persistent enough something will happen.  I have hope and that’s what makes make me strong because I have hope I can keep pushing forward into the deep.