First, some background: In high school my very best friend Nicole told me I should start keeping a journal of our lives, chronicling what we do on the weekends when life was lived for which party you were able to get into. So I started said journal, and managed to keep it up well past high school, through college, and I still contribute to it sporadically today. Though the high school pages are a study in humility for me thanks to my immaturity and dorkiness, I can see how this journal eventually became an outlet for me. It’s a literary version of watching myself grow up, and sometimes some really great things came out of it. Re-reading some of the things I was discovering years ago almost feels like I’m giving myself advice from the past. As such, when it seems right I’ll share relevant portions of this journal.
This entry was written in 2005 – I was in college, working at a bank part-time, and living in Orange County. I hadn’t yet planned my life-changing study abroad experience, but you can see the seeds of restlessness were sown well before I ever stamped my passport.
We live in a world where we have to plot and plan every minute of every day, as if not knowing what we were going to do would kill us. We have to be on a career track, be going to school, always have a goal, an end destination. And when we don’t know what that destination is we freak out. Like death. Nobody knows what really happens when we die. So most people are so afraid of it, it can almost border paranoia. Unless you are one of those poor old people who are so tired of living that they don’t even care what happens, they are just over it. Some of those guys come into my work. Most of them are men too, that’s weird. I want to grab them and yell, “What are you thinking?! How can you be over it already? It’s only been 60 years!”
Maybe all this ‘have a foreseeable end’ stuff is making us live our lives too fast. It feels like I was 5 for years and 15 for minutes. What happened? Life was simple when I didn’t have a goal. Is that what makes it go fast? Racing, racing, racing toward what we want that we forget to look at the scenery on the way? Is maturity when someone has this goal? You know how they say, ‘He is so immature, so irresponsible, he is going nowhere in life.” Maybe he just beat the system, and is more interested in the scenery than the destination? What if these “deadbeats” have us beat? They just knew all along. I wonder how I can possibly remind myself to slow down and enjoy each day. It’s so easy to forget. There are little things I will notice, like how the sun feels good on my skin, or the sunset when I am jogging, but I don’t really savor it. And I can say, “Oh, I will try to enjoy this minute as much as possible,” but after a few days I will forget and go back to the hurry hurry hurry rush rush rush. Without even realizing it. That’s sad. Next time I feel something I really like, I am going to try to remember to savor it. Maybe it can become a habit. I guess we’ll see.