I can't sleep.
I've been worrying about all the stupid things that one has to worry about; specifically, the utter mess that my life—if you can call a collection of studies and responsibilities a life—has descended into over the last few weeks. I can't seem to do anything i need to do at the time i need to do it. Whenever i try to attend to my duties, my mind wanders. I get tired. I get sick to my stomach. I can't concentrate. I experience a generally phobic reaction to anything resembling work.
Where to start? How about homework?
Homework. I am only taking 12 credits, three classes, this term, after dropping Portuguese and Existentialism and replacing them with only Urban Studies. Despite this, i am behind. I currently have two journals outstanding for Urban Studies, one of which i simply am not going to get done, and the other, i haven't finished the reading for. I need to get on the reading and journal for our next class on Monday night. In German, i have not done a worksheet on relative pronouns to do that would be incredibly easy, and a nice little 2-page essay on a couple of articles—short articles which i've really only skimmed. And i really need to read over these articles, plus a couple others, for a test we're having tomorrow. Cartography/GIS really isn't so bad, and i haven't checked out a GPS receiver to do a little 15 minute project, but other than that i'm pretty much on track. In general, my homework situation is not really very dire, but it is only rectifiable given a great improvement in my capacity for schoolwork.
Photos. I am photo editor for The Mac Weekly, the student newspaper at my school. This week, the "Features" editor had to go on a mad hunt to get the name of one person in a photo for a caption, because i had neglected to get her name. Worse, the text file describing some of the photos was very sparse and unclear, and ended up making the editor-in-chief put the subject of a photo as the photographer. Shit. Thus far in this paragraph, i've only been fucking up the things that i need to be doing, not actually not doing them. But i haven't contacted quite a number of potential contributors, notable a couple of very interested—and probably talented—candidates. Why not? I could just go to the phone and spend five minutes doing it. But i'm afraid of the phone. I'm afraid of fucking telephones.
My room is a mess. I forgot to do the recycling for my house last week. I forgot our common meal, and attended only by having the good luck to be here at the right time. I haven't visited my friends Sarah or Vanessa once this term; i haven't called my friend Jennifer since last spring. I haven't turned in my room and board contract, which should have gone in a week ago. I haven't sent my mom or my aunt Gretchen copies of the Weekly, copies which were supposed to have gone out last Saturday. I have showered once, maybe twice this week. I rarely node. I haven't written postcards that i promised two weeks ago. I haven't selected a new adviser, something i should have done a month ago. And so on and so forth &c. und so weiter bla bla blaaa.
I was lying in bed thinking about all this, partially lamenting the situation, partially telling myself that it really doesn't matter a frog's belly button. See, i already know that life is essentially meaningless and truly absurd. I know that morality is a myth. I know that human rights are a myth,2 while we're on the subject of myths. I know that hurting myself with my own incompetence really doesn't have to matter if i don't want it to, and even hurting others with my own incompetence doesn't have to. (Though i don't want to let that slide, as i like to be nice and not mess up others' lives. Anyhow, i tend to be pretty good at keeping up my extracurricular duties, even if i'm slipping in my classes. I always figured that extracurricular duties were more crucial than classwork, as i really don't want to fuck1 other people when i could fuck myself instead.) I know that German essays don't pay the bills, and i'd like to at least pay the food bills, 'cause i'm rather fond of life.
My understanding of things holds that the universe is meaningless and chaotic and completely absurd, that there is no essential truth, that nothing really matters. I have no essential purpose. Most people find people like me depressing and silly. Most people associate existentialism and the like with alienation, anguish, and despair. Me? I find it liberating. See, if nothing matters, and i have no purpose, then i can do whatever i want and not feel bad, right? I can enjoy what i want to, ignore what i want to, care about what i want to, believe what i want to. Without a purpose fallen out of the sky special for me, i have chosen a purpose: to have fun.3
Somehow, though, this isn't translating into my life. When i don't do my homework or mess up something with the newspaper or even have a stupid messy room, i feel bad. I almost feel guilt. And then i dwell on it. Why? What's the point? If nothing matters, why am i worrying about this shit when i could be riding my bike, or noding, or eating good food, or visiting with friends, or taking a stroll through the impending change of weather that seems so beautiful and miraculous to me? For that matter, why am i not getting these tasks done so i can do all i just listed above with impunity? Yes, my homework doesn't really matter, but in the end i really would like to do at least a good portion of it, cause i do learn from it sometimes, and i think that learning is fun. Plus, that "degree" thing might be helpful if i want to eat, which is an activity i enjoy. So, you know what? I'm gonna do it and just get it out of the way.
After all this rambling and some other thoughts that have been running little circles through my head, i have come to a conclusion. I need to abstract myself from life in order to live more fully. I need to remove myself from these petty little worries that some call "life", and move to the surface. I need to immerse myself in the wonder and beauty of the things that surround me, not in duties and morals and paperwork. Moping gets me nowhere. Idleness is boring. I need to bring the plane close down to the ground. I remember moments of nothing but awe, living not on the world but in it, feeling the air and gravity and myself, hearing the wind and the blood rushing through my ears, seeing the colors, realizing my connection with the infinite. Those moments are rarer now, and that's silly of me.
There's no reason to be silly when you don't want to. It's time to stop with that. Today, it begins. I will be as a child again. I will dash out into the world and play.
(1) Time to teach this word to the spell-checker!
(2) Human rights and civil rights may be myths, but that doesn't mean that i don't like them and am not going to fight for them. They make my life, and those of many others, better, and provide a certain amount of insurance from "bad" government. Generally, i think they're reasonable things for the global community to agree on that benefit everyone—and don't need any silly "principles" to be justified.
(3) Some people find this arrogant, uncaring, and, well, immoral. People might think that i'm ready to do whatever i feel like at the expense of anyone who might get in the way, that i'd just go around hurting people for fun. I'm not going to do that, however, because (a) i like making people happy, not sad, and (b) if i fuck with other people, they'll fuck with me, and i want to avoid that.