Early Musings

Updating for the sake of updating.

Where the musings began, or more accurately began to be recorded. Too much time between entries here, but no matter.

Thursday, 25 October, 2001: Well, the site has been calling to me for a while now and it got to the point where I just couldn't ignore it any longer. I figure that since the site has been calling so loudly that there must be something that it wants to say and that it will come out if I simply sit here and type long enough to let it. It has been an interesting up and down ride lately, and now that I say that it sounds incredibly obvious that it has been up and down because what would life be if it weren't up and down? I've been doing my best to focus on the ups more than I did before, but I still can't shake a feeling of mild malaise. I keep trying to simply pawn that feeling off as the result of some temporary setback or a responsibility that is hanging over my head, but there's always this little voice that tells me I'm not going to take care of things that easily. The most tempting answer is to say that I work too hard at preserving my solitude, but that explanation doesn't stick because I've never been a social person and the feeling hasn't been there before. About that solitude, why is there such a strong prejudice against it? It seems that society conditions us from a very young age that to spend large amounts of time alone is inherently bad. All around me I see people engaged in small talk that never really leads anywhere, and a part of me wants to be like them, to be able to talk to strangers about nothing. Somehow, though, when I try it everything comes out as babbling and I can't keep up pretending that I really care about the conversation. Maybe it's this that is at least partially responsible for the malaise. I'm immersed in a culture (college) that values surface appeal. I suppose that is not a bad thing per se, but it just doesn't work for me. I look underneath the partying, the drinking, and the relationship chasing and I see nothingness. I see a collection of people who are under their own control for the first time in their lives but have no idea what to do with themselves. I see people who run out to get drunk every weekend and I want to tell them that there are many things more enjoyable than simply having fun. I know that sounds odd at first, but it seems that "fun" on a college campus entails some sort of numbing of the senses to make reality less painful. What they just don't see is that numbing yourself to reality only increases the system shock when the time comes to wake up to it. Or maybe I'm just not able to see things from their end. Either way I feel out of place, and I think I have just stumbled upon the real reason for that malaise I talked about what seems now like an eternity ago. I'm here in college, but at the same time I'm not. Physically I'm here, but I'm just playing the role of a college student for the next couple of years. Now that I think about it, I'm sure that's the reason, I'm here playing a role that I really don't like at all but see that I need to play. I can't give up the role because giving up the role means giving up the ability to pursue to just be myself in the future, and that is really what is important.

Friday, 26 October, 2001: OK, I wasn't really expecting to be back typing at this page again so soon, but I had some thoughts hit me and this is better than ignoring them. At least I think it's better. Last night I was thinking a lot about malaise, but today I'm not so sure that malaise was the right term. Well, it was the right term, I suppose, but I'm beginning to think that the malaise is a byproduct of another emotion; wistfulness. Unlike most people I have met in college, my old High-School friends and I have managed to remain close even after dispersing across the country. I think that a part of what's bothering me may be that when I look around I miss the familiar group of friends upon whom I could always count. This isn't supposed to happen two years into college, but that makes no difference. It took me four years in HS to build those friendships and the prospect of having to build new ones leaves me tired. I've never been a person to open up quickly, it generally takes me a year or more to really get to know a person, and I guess I just see all the effort I'm going to need to put forth and I just say to myself, "why even bother". Oh well, I suppose that the only good thing to do is to ride this out and float where the current of life takes me.

Saturday, 03 November, 2001: I don't know what it is that's getting to me right now, but there's this little voice in my head that keeps telling me to get in my car and drive. It doesn't say to where I should drive or why, it just says to get as far away as my gas tank and the money in my pocket will get me. I guess it's the city that does it to me. There is something inherent to this place that keeps me wistful for home and the good ol' Great Black Swamp. I just don't like the city. I don't like the carefully mown and manicured "parks". I don't like the light pollution from the damn streetlights that makes it impossible to see the stars. I don't like the fact that things are busier at midnight than they are at noon. And I really don't like the people here who seem to think that one can only have a life worth living in the city. There seems to be this mentality that if you're not in a city, then there can't possibly be anything worthwhile to do. "Why would anyone want to camp out when you can just buy an RV?", seems to be the rallying cry of the city-dweller. They spend so much time being fashionable, buying the right clothes, the right cars, living in the right neighborhoods, having the right (read politically correct) thoughts, and knowing the right people that they lose touch with themselves. Even the people who are "rebelling" are only blindly accepting the opposite of what they believe "the system" believes. It's interesting, the people who are rebelling to be individuals are most often far less individualized than the people from a small town who never give a thought to either conformity or rebellion. It just seems to me that when we give in to the city, we sacrifice a certain honesty and connection for mere physical comfort. That's all the city is, really. It's just a means of satisfying our all to human drives and desires for superficial pleasures. The idea of living in regaining the simple honesty inherent in small town life is anathema to the city dweller because he cannot see that his great pleasures are merely chimaeras. It just depresses me to see all these people who wander through life blind to the simpler and more meaningful existence. As the Zen saying goes, "Chop wood, carry water.".

Monday, 10 December, 2001: The site was calling again. Maybe it's just that I feel incredibly lazy leaving a month in between updates when I'm definitely not doing anything important with my copious amounts of spare time. Then again, the only real value this site has is catharsis and if I'm feeling lazy about not having updated it I suppose that must be because I have some things that I want to get out. It's odd I guess, since life certainly looks to be going very well right now. Maybe it's just the standard vague stress of finals here at school, made a little worse since my first final of the week is on Thursday which gives me the opportunity to worry about everything instead of just plunging in. At the very least though, I'll be gone from here in under a week and I'll be back home with old friends and a couple new friends as well. Well now, I've said nothing and typed very little, yet I can't think of much more to type even though whatever it was that wanted "out" still isn't. I guess I'll leave things for now and come back again soon to revisit this.

Tuesday, 08 January, 2002: Well, I'm back at school after winter break, and that familiar old feeling is back again. It's strange too, since things are going well so far. I like all the classes, even though it's a bit early to know for sure, and I finally feel like I have a definite direction. Still, I feel strangely hemmed in. I always seem to feel as though I don't have room to breathe when I'm in the city, so I end up tucking myself away and letting myself get lost in music or in a good book (currently J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship Of The Ring"). I'm just not cut out for city life I guess, I seem to need the retreat into the open spaces of the rural areas. Perhaps you'll think I'm a bit off my rocker, but the feel of the city is almost palpable; it seems to press against me on all sides. It's kind of interesting to realise that I only bother with this site when I'm at Pitt and for me to change it when I'm at home is all but unheard-of. Maybe it's just the feeling of beeing surrounded by thousands upon thousands of idiot college students who see no purpose to college other than to drink well past the point of drunkenness. So many of these people aren't even living above the waist, much less above the neck. I have no desire to "save" these people, they don't depress me because I'm worried about how their lives will turn out, but I can't keep it from bothering me. I suppose it's just the pain of disillusionment. I had hoped that there would be fewer of the HS idiots in College, but they have managed to multiply even in this supposed institution of higher learning. It seems that everywhere I turn here, someone is assaulting the idea of life above the neck. Maybe I'm just a throwback, but I simply don't understand how my peers can simply run around doing whatever feels good at the moment. On the other hand, I'm not the only one who feels this way. And I know that back home I have some very good things in limbo. I'm finally starting to see that there may just be more day to dawn after all.

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Last Updated:  14 March, 2002

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