Entry: rhapsody Monday, November 21, 2005

I have finally come to terms with the fact that I have no idea what I am doing in life and probably never will.  And that is okay.  Unlike those trite choose-your-own adventures books I used to read as a kid, there are no dead ends in life.  Every door leads to another door and countless of possibilities hinging upon countless other factors.  The idea that we somehow have complete control over all of those factors affecting us and can purposefully utelize them for specific goals is an illusion.  Every decision we make is a result of a thousand other decisions that we have already made, which were affected by thousands of other factors. 

I watched part of the Matrix Reloaded the other day, and the part that always strikes me is the scene on the park bench where Neo is talking to the Oracle and she tells him that every decision we make has, for all practical purposes, already been decided; our task is simply to understand why we made or will make those decisions. 

I, like most college students, go through phases in which I try to plan out every single aspect of my life, from grad school to career to the place I will live to the lifestyle I will entrench myself in, etc.  Inevitably, however, the moment I attempt to predetermine these things, I become bored with the bleak picture standing before me, and opt instead to leave everything an open slate.  I have this inclination...no, this yearning...to simply life a totally free lifestyle: free from constraints of a career, free from the need to stay in a sinlge location for a long period of time; free from the mundanity that so permeates my outlook on the future.  This is, I realize, a highly romanticized ideal, and one that I would probably quickly tire of.  Which I why I have decided that the best course is simply to take things one step at a time, one decision at a time, realizing that I cannot make a decision about what my fate will be 2 years from now until I have lived for most of those 2 years and made other decisions along the way.  Only when those intermediary doors are opened will I have the opportunity to open the proper door at that point in life.  Any attempt to plan things out before then are futile.

Our culture, with its emphasis on freedom and individuality, would like us to think that we all have the fundamental right to be in control of every aspect of our life.  Nevermind the fact that society has already placed heavy limitations on what we can do in life, practically speaking.  We have all become so thoroughly dependent upon the system - of industrialization, of technology, of capitalism - that the only freedom we possess is the freedom to accumulate as many possessions as we are willing to work for.  Yes, we have the freedom to choose the means by which to do that, and the person we want to pool our resources and reproduce with, and the location we want inhabit; but other than that, there is little else to strive for.  I find this very depressing.

The only thing really worth living for is other people.  My own ambitions, my own "dreams", my own desires all end up falling short of the time and effort I invest in them. 

Perhaps it is best to live for the frivalous, temporal things that are most enjoyable.  What satisfaction is there in life if you spend its entirety entrenched in misery?  On some level, happiness is simply the ability to block out negative things and to appreciate the enjoyment of the moment.  Art is the same way - what is art if not an effort to pause, contemplate, and fully appreciate the percieved beauty of something which is ultimately meaningless, frivolous, and temporal?  The only thing we really have control over is how we choose to percieve things. 

All of this has come about because, for the last two years, I have been so worried about the ultimate meaning of things and the future that I have not been able to live in the here and now.  Until this semester, I had seldom allowed myself to have fun.  And yet, I am most happy when I let go.  I remember senior year, I had this philsophy that life is simply a lot easier and more enjoyable if you don't take it seriously, and if you quit being uptight about everything.  And it worked; my senior year of high school was very, very fun and memorable. 

And then I got to college, and suddenly life became ten billion times more serious.  Suddenly I had to know what to major in.  What career path to take.  What to do for grad school.  And even, at this ridiculous school, there is an underlying pressure that you must graduate knowing who you will marry. 

I have never partied.  The most illicit thing I have done is explore abandoned buildings and beer factories.  I have not engaged in drinking or drugs because I believed that my life is structured around a list of priorities, and if I were to do those things, my list of priorities would be disrupted.  But really, when I examine those priorities, I'm not sure they end up being worth it.  Though they are worthwhile to complete, it is not worth it to devote my entire exisence to them at the expense of other things.

My Mom always tells me about how, when she was in college, she was so worried about getting into the real world that she did a double major to ensure that she would be employable.  My fear is the exact opposite: that I will simply end up arbitrarily pursuing some career simply because I have to in order to make a living, and will become entrenched in that mundanity.

So here I am, junior year, not sure at all what I will end up doing but knowing that I will probably not pursue the area in which I am attaining a bachelor's degree, but perfectly okay with that and the happiest I have been in 2 years.  Why?  Because I have let go of all those false priorities that are supposed to control my life.  I have realized that, aside from the people in my life, nothing is so important that it requires sacrificing all of my time, energy, effort, and well-being.  No ambition is worth that.


This is one thing that has made me very happy:



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