You don’t seem very happy. I think maybe a lot is worrying you. I want to care, and I do care, but I’m afraid to show it, since there is so little I can do about it.
I want to be thoughtful, considerate, kind, but those things I associate with a prior me, a weaker me. And so I will be those things, when I feel you understand me, but until then I’ll show you the roughness, and there isn’t a way for you to get in until you give me a reason to let you.
I’m eating cinnamon yogurt pretzels from the corner market. They’re not a terribly dignified food, I’ll give you that, but they’re addictive. There might be cocaine in them. Which brings me to another point: I think I do more eating in private than I do in public. I hear this is a major difference between me and France. We may not get along.
Honestly, how many people have this opportunity? I’ve done this to myself, so to speak, and I know this is not something most of the people in the world, let alone most of the people in history get to do. I need to stop treating this as difficult and start regarding it as a chance. That’s what it is, a chance. And I think there was a time and place for realizing how difficult this trip was/is going to be. I don’t think that culture shock should be ignored; I don’t think that safety should be ignored. However, I also think that I get to live in Paris for three months, and that’s exciting.
Americans have gone to Paris for a lot of different reasons; artistic endeavors, racial equality, social freedoms, a need for inspiration, a love of French culture. But the great things about France were not introduced to me through war; nor am I escaping some terrible prejudice; neither am I facing financial or social ruin.
Turning 19 was hard for me. Turning 20 was a million times worse. I wanted to do something significant in my life because I felt I’d done nothing significant thus far, and that desire has led me down a lot of paths. I turned 20, and then I went to London. I turned 21 and I went back to college; moved in with new roommates; became a new person. I turned 22 and I started planning my trip to France. I’ll be 22 for a month and nine days before I turn 23. Sometimes I just feel like time is passing too quickly, and if I don’t hold myself to doing something interesting or memorable, my life will pass without anything in it. For my first two months of being 23 I’ll be living in Paris; I’ll graduate from university; I’ll hopefully get an internship in a Museum in LA county, I’ll hopefully get a job that makes me want to get up in the mornings. Hopefully I’ll make enough money to move out to DC, take the GRE and begin applying to graduate programs back East.
But really, everything is in flux and none of these things could happen. So what do I know? I know that I’m a different person than I was when I was 18. I’m a different person than I was in high school. I’m meaner, I’m more abrasive, I’m more offensive, I’m less likely to give a crap about you or anyone else, I’ve been told I’m mysterious (that’s not really very true). I’m less religious. I’m less kind. I’m less often loved and less often lovable. I’m less patient. But.— I’m also less likely to be used or manipulated. I’m more spiritual. I’m less likely to let other people dictate to me how I feel. I’m more long-suffering. I’m writing my own script for life, and so although the grammatical mistakes and bad cadence are mine, so are the jokes, and the sincerities. The deep and abiding love which I am capable of feeling is better funneled into the people I know will appreciate it. I love deeper and know better how to show it. Some of my relationships are actually fulfilling. When people say they like me, it’s because they actually like me. I’m more relatable. Mistakes don’t bother me.
And it’s not that I don’t have my problems, and it’s not that I don’t feel lonely most of the days of my life but that none of that matters, because it’s just the way life is and I might as well take those opportunities for joy that are so few and far between. “Such is the life of a man. Moments of joy obliterated by unforgettable sadness.” – Le Château De Ma Mère (1990). But if you don’t look for and enjoy those moments of joy, you will have nothing to offset the sadness.
I feel like I should be writing something a little more epic, given this is my last blog post until I go to France, given that this is my last week and a half in Provo (at least for a while), given that I’m finishing up and undergraduate degree, and that I’m starting a whole new part of my life. But I can’t think of anything at the moment. As Don Draper of Mad Men says, “Fear stimulates my imagination.” So I’m sure that when I become terrified again, something will come. Until then, I’m leaving you with these thoughts, and perhaps to think about yourself and how much you’ve changed since you started school. Are you better? Do you like yourself more? Because sometimes those answers are different. I think the latter is more important, and let me tell you why: you are the only person you have to live with for forever. If you like who you are better, chances are you’re more yourself. And if you’re more yourself, you’ll have an easier time being better in the long run.
No worries, more to come. Until then,