5th grade science camp. Laying on the top bunk of a bed, fiddling with one of those yellow disposable cameras in a musty and cramped cabin. It smells like sweat and Axe Body Spray (to this day I don’t know which is worse). We are summoned to what was the equivalent of a mess hall for a mountain dinner; soup, bread, potatoes. It’s skit night. I grew up a very shy kid but my best friend and I were in the same group and our skit was about breaking out of normal life and becoming rock stars. We took the stage and our song began to play. Maybe it was being away from the confines of the school, maybe it was the thin mountain air. But that was the first time in my life I remember letting loose.
I believe the purpose of education is to open the minds of those receptive to knowledge. To arm individuals with the information necessary to form their own beliefs and opinions. To gain perspective and understanding of the world in which we live.
Though there are different facets of intelligence (social, emotional, etc.), in a traditional sense I believe an educated person is someone who acts on logic. Someone who can see multiple points of view. An educated person spends time collecting facts before forming judgments or opinions.
I work in a dull office. In the break room we have a TV mounted on the wall that’s constantly displaying one of those screensaver slideshows of mountains and lakes. Lately I’ve been lingering on my water breaks. I find myself receiving much more nourishment from the images on screen than I get from the water cooler.
To say not knowing what to do with your life is scary, would be a disservice to the word “understatement”.
I often find myself in this weird, almost flirtatious relationship with my passions. I know what I’m attracted to, but I’m not always attracted to do it. The inspiration will come in waves, so strong that it’s all I can think about. It’s exciting and incredibly motivating. But then the light will turn green, the water in the shower will go cold, or my boss will tell me to get back to work. Passion has a nasty habit of striking at the most inconvenient times.
This cycle of capturing inspiration, then losing its direction is so frustrating. After enough of these “cycles”, you begin to question if it’s even worth pursuing.
Why is it that we seem to see things most clearly when we’re at our lowest? Is it a survival instinct, like some sort of emotional adrenaline when we need to get ourselves out of a rut? Or is it only when we’re at our worst, that we have the perspective necessary to see what needs to be changed at the most basic (and therefore clearest) level?
In regards to personal fulfillment, I believe these moments of clarity act as “bumpers” to life’s bowling alley. When we are feeling unfulfilled, unhappy or depressed, there is usually (hopefully) a very strong want. To feel better, to perform better, to reach someone, to be happy.
What does it mean to feel happy-sad? And why is this always such a difficult feeling to put into words? Not happy-turned-sad or the other way around, but together in one, partly sunny emotion. I recently watched La La Land again, and was pleasantly reminded that this complex emotion exists.
Think about how you are able to look back on a memory fondly, one that brought you joy, laughter, excitement, love; but one that has passed. The moment, though a wonderful one, is gone. The closest label I can think of is a kind of cathartic nostalgia. Sometimes it feels good to ache and embrace life’s growing pains.